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Why will MATLAB not start up properly on my Windows based system?

MATLAB will not start up on my Windows system, and I am not getting license manager errors.


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3 Answers

Answer by MathWorks Support Team on 21 Feb 2017
Edited by MathWorks Support Team on 21 Feb 2017
 Accepted Answer

If you are having trouble starting MATLAB on Windows and you are not receiving license manager related errors, check for the following problems:

Problem #1: Corrupt preferences

One of the most common reasons MATLAB will fail to start is that something has corrupted the MATLAB preferences directory. You will need to reset your preferences to fix this.

1. Browse to the following folder:


AppData is a hidden folder, but you can use the shortcut %AppData% from Windows Search to jump right to the current user's AppData folder.

2. Delete or rename the folder for your release of MATLAB, e.g R2016a. Do not remove any folder that ends with "_licenses".

3. Restart MATLAB.

The preferences folder will be recreated automatically when you start MATLAB.

If you are using a roaming profile, please see the related article:

Why does MATLAB crash on startup on Windows when logging into a machine with a roaming profile or profile redirection?

Problem #2: Security software interfering with MATLAB

Check any of your security software logs to see if it is preventing MATLAB to start properly. Programs such as the Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, AVAST, TrendMicro, BitDefender, and Webroot have all been known to prevent proper MATLAB startup. 

If necessary, set exceptions so that MATLAB can start. You may need to consult your IT staff or your security software vendor for assistance creating exceptions. 

In some cases, startup issues that are caused by common antivirus software could be diagnosed using the Windows Error Reporting log files. These log files are located in the following directories and can be read with a text editor like WordPad:


Check the folders within this directory (eg: ReportArchive) for files either created around the time that MATLAB failed to startup or contain the name MATLAB or JAVA. 

Problem #3: Single Sign-On (SSO) software interfering with MATLAB

If the machine in question has SSO software installed, temporarily disable the SSO software then try to open MATLAB. If MATLAB launches, contact your IT department to allow/whitelist MATLAB from the SSO software, or disable SSO entirely.

If you've identified the problem lies with your Single-Sign On software but cannot disable it or make an exception for MATLAB, contact MathWorks support:

Problem #4: Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Redistributable Conflict

Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Redistributables can conflict with each other if too many are installed. MATLAB R2006b and higher require variations of these redistributable to run. To install the 2005 and 2008 versions of these redistributables:

  1. Open the folder $MATLAB\bin\win64, where $MATLAB is the MATLAB installation folder.
  2. Launch vcredist_x64.exe from this location.
  3. Repeat step two using the vcredist_x64.exe in $MATLAB\bin\win64\vc90
  4. Try starting MATLAB by double clicking the matlab.exe in the bin folder.

If MATLAB starts, try MATLAB from the shortcut once again. If that fails, update the shortcut to point to the matlab.exe file in the $ARCH folder.

Lastly, the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable is not required for MATLAB but can conflict with the redistributables that are required by MATLAB. You may need to reinstall this redistributable to resolve the conflict:

Problem #5: Issue with Java environment

MATLAB has a command line environment in addition to the normal MATLAB Desktop environment. This environment is not dependent on Java and can be useful for troubleshooting MATLAB. To launch MATLAB with no desktop environment:

  1. Right click on the MATLAB shortcut and choose properties.

  2. Go to the end of the "Target" line, after MATLAB.exe, and add the flag -nodesktop. For example:

"C:\Program Files\Matlab\R2016a\bin\matlab.exe" -nodesktop

Press OK to save these changes.

  3. Try starting MATLAB again. If MATLAB starts, try running the command "desktop" to see if MATLAB will open in full mode.

  4. If this does not work, add the line -nojvm where -nodesktop previously existed and try to start MATLAB again.

If MATLAB starts in either of these modes, this likely indicates a problem with your Java configuration. If MATLAB fails to start in either of these modes, more information may be obtained from the MATLAB crash dump files. To find these files, check your Temp folder:


The files will have names like:


If either of these files exists, please submit a help request with these logs attached to MathWorks support:

Problem #6: Unsupported version of Windows

MATLAB R2008b and below are not supported on Windows 7 and up. You may be able to get MATLAB versions R14 through R2008b running on Windows 7 with this workaround:

Why am I unable to start MATLAB 7.7 (R2008b) or earlier on a Windows 7 computer?

This workaround will not work on Windows 8 or newer.

Solution #7: Installation folder created in the C: drive

If you are getting error messages related to:

Attempt to execute SCRIPT as a function.

It is the result of installing MATLAB directly to the C: drive. MATLAB must be uninstalled and then reinstalled to the default path, C:\Program Files\MATLAB.

Problem #8: VPN bug

If you are using R2009b or R2010a and you have a VPN or broadband wireless connection, see the bug report here for more details:

Problem #9: R2007b startup bug

If you are using R2007b and MATLAB quits immediately after the splash screen, there is a bug in the MATLAB startup in R2007b. See the bug report here for more details:

Problem #10: Possible Printer driver is corrupt

A corrupt printer driver can sometime cause this problem. To resolve this issue please re-install your printer drivers to the newest version.

If this still does not work please try these other workarounds:

1. Remove the printer from your list of devices in your control panel. The printer would be located in the Devices and Printers control panel for most Windows OS's. 

2. End the print spooler/driver process inside of your Task manager and start MATLAB.

3. Change your default printer to another printer, or to the generic printer that Windows automatically creates. 

My problem is not listed here

If you are still unable to start MATLAB after these troubleshooting steps, please contact MathWorks support:

Please include any log files, error messages and screenshots pertaining to the problem with your help request.


Desktop version needs JVM to initialize (which you already disabled by "-nojvm").

Remove that command ("-nojvm") and you will be able to run desktop version on typing "desktop" on command line window

Is there any method to specify the problem that correspond to my computer?

similar here. unable to start a MCL library, unless I provide "-nojvm". problem is that I do need java. I have no idea why the MCL is unable to start java. It throws an exception on a bad pointer... 0x0000000008

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Answer by Anvinder Singh on 18 Feb 2017

none of this works. I have matlab 2016a on windows 7 home premium and AMD A10-8700. I have reinstalled it 4 times.

  1 Comment

You should contact Mathworks for free installation assistance.

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Answer by J Cherian on 31 May 2017
Edited by J Cherian on 31 May 2017

If all the solutions listed above does not help, it could also be due to a seemingly unrelated issue after all.

In my case, this MATLAB issue occured on my Windows 7 computer after I switched it from a local WORKGROUP to join a corporate domain network. When this MATLAB issue occurred, I also observed that I cannot access the Printers anymore.

Strangely, the solution to both problems was to go the Services management console (type 'services.msc' in the windows run window) to stop the Spooler service and make it "Manual" instead of "Automatic". I had also cleared the preferences by deleting the relevant sub-folder under %Appdata%\Mathworks as per procedure given above.

  1 Comment

I must have had exactly the same problem, because stopping the spooler and switching to manual also solved my problem. Amazing!

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