When starting 3ds Max, one of two different error messages may appear: 

3ds Max Graphic Device Error

[Error]:"Could not initialize the graphic device" message appears when launching 3ds Max
3ds Max Graphic Device Error


3ds Max Graphic Device Information

3ds Max Graphic Device Information
3ds Max Graphic Device Information


This error can occur for the following reasons:

  • Incompatible or unsupported graphics card or graphics card drivers.
  • 3ds Max does not recognize a suitable GPU to utilize on the current device (e.g. virtual machines, VMWare, Boot Camp.

See: Running 3ds Max and Maya in Virtual Environments, such as Boot Camp, Parallels, VMWare, AWS Cloud, or Citrix. It is important to note that these configurations are not officially supported by Autodesk.

  • Running an earlier version of 3ds Max 2018 (Note: this is for versions pre-update 2018.4, which fixes this issue for this version only).
  • Direct3D version mismatch settings present in the 3dsmax.ini file.


Install missing updates

  1. Go to your Autodesk Account.
  2. Choose Products & Services > All Products & Services.
  3. Select 3ds Max.
  4. View the Updates and Add-Ons.
  5. Find the most recent Update for the version of 3ds Max being used.
  6. Select the Browser Download option.

For example, if running 3ds Max 2020, the most recent update is 2020.3.

Ensure the graphics card is Certified

Verify that the graphics card is listed on the 3ds Max Certified Hardware list.
Otherwise there may be limitations to its usage with the program in general or on specific Operating Systems.
For example 3ds Max not opening, slower Viewport manipulation and the software not opening after upgrading from an OS such as Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Install the most recent graphics card drivers

Update the graphics card drivers from the manufacturer’s website to the most recent versions. For graphics card updates see:

Change the Display Driver

Change the 3ds Max Display Driver selection for better compatibility between 3ds Max and any unsupported or legacy graphics hardware:
How to change the graphics display drivers in 3ds Max before launch


Change the Display Driver

Change the Display Driver

Use the VXS flag
Run 3ds Max with a “-vxs” flag. To do this:

  1. Right-click on the 3ds Max <version> shortcut icon.
  2. Choose “Properties.”
  3. Under the Shortcuts tab, add the flag -vxs to the end of the Target entry.

Note: A space must be added after the last quotation for 3ds Max to accept the flag.

 VXS flag
 VXS flag

Check the 3dsmax.ini settings

1.Go to C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\[version]\ENU.

Note: if this folder does not appear in Windows Explorer, make sure to check the View > Hidden Items checkbox in Windows Explorer.

2. Open the 3dsmax.ini file in a text editor, such as Notepad.

3. Press CRTL + F and search for the section marked[CommandPanel].

4. If there are two entries for GFXDirect3DVersion under the [CommandPanel] and [WindowState] sections, they must be identical.

If one shows as 9.0 and the other shows as 11.0, change one of the Direct3D entries to make it identical with the other (usually, both should be set to 11.0). If there is only one GFXDirect entry, skip to the next solution.

5. Re-save the INIfile.

6. Restart 3ds Max.

Reset the user preferences

In some instances, the error can be resolved by resetting 3ds Max to its default user profile settings:
How to reset 3ds Max user preference settings back to default

Important Note: Although 3ds Max users may still be able to run their software successfully on the Apple Macintosh or virtual machines, Autodesk no longer supports these configurations and cannot guarantee the software operates properly on these platforms. For more information, see: 

See also:

Source: Autodesk.

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