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Launcher utility to help start games with the steam overlay.

Official page


This application is intended to facilitate the launch of games from steam with overlay while still being automaticly logged in by the client.

Note: If the client isn't running when starting the game it will be closed as soon as the game starts, otherwise it will be left running.


Howto Use

  1. Extract the included exe to any location you want (ex: steam folder)
  2. Add the exe to steam as a non-steam game shortcut
  3. On the shortcut properties add one of the following parameters:
code game
wow World of Warcraft
wowclassic World of Warcraft Classic
wowptr World of Warcraft Public Test Realm
d3 Diablo 3
d3ptr Diablo 3 Public Test Realm
hs Heartstone
ow Overwatch
owptr Overwatch Public Test Realm
sc2 Starcraft 2
hots Heroes of the Storm
scr Starcraft Remastered
w3 Warcraft 3: Reforged
codbo4 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
codmw2019 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

the result should look something like this:

"G:\Steam\bnetlauncher.exe" ow

Example Screenshot

Destiny 2

Note: Destiny 2 has moved to steam on the 1st of October.


In case of problems logging can be enabled by creating a enablelog.txt file inside %localappdata%\\bnetlauncher\, you can open the location by pasting the path into explorer or the run dialog in windows (WinKey+R)

Known Issues

  • Launching WoW Classic and PTR version of game depends on the client gaining focus for bnetlauncher to send a keypress to it so it will launch the game. Not letting the client gain focus will break the functionality.
  • Slow computers might take too long causing to bnetlauncher to think something went wrong, see aditional options on how to use --timeout to fix it.
  • Enabling multiple instances of client in it's options might break bnetlauncher functionality.
  • Users of MSI Afterburner, Fraps and other overlay software might experience crashes do to incompatibility with their own overlay and steam's, to solve the issue disable the 3rd party application overlay.
  • The game, bnetlauncher and steam must all have the same running permissions to work properly, this means if one of them is running has Administrator/Elevated Permissions, then all of them must also be run has Administrator/Elevated Permissions.
  • It's not possible to automatically launch games with a specific region set. The client provides no direct option to do this, however a workaround can be done by creating a new game entry and the nolaunch option and manualy selecting the region before clicking play.
  • client "ads" will interfere with the PTR and WoW Classic wow launch, when it happens user will need to press the play button manually to continue the game launch.
  • Default launching the client trough a scheduled task may be incompatible with some setups, workaround is providade with --notask switch/option.
  • Starting multiple copies of Startcraft Remastered may cause bnetlauncher to show an error since the game only allows one instance to be run at the same time.
  • There's no built in routine to clean up the log files if they pile up (logging is disabled by default)

Aditional options

There's also the following aditional options provided by command line switches:

  • --timeout <seconds>, -t <seconds> changes how many seconds it tries to look for the game before giving an error (15 seconds by default).
  • --notask, -n starts the launcher directly instead of using task scheduler (starting the client directly will cause steam to apply the overlay to the client and consider you playing the game until the client exists)
  • --leaveopen, -l leaves the client open after launcher the game. If combined with --notask option it will show you as playing on steam until you close the client.


To remove all traces of bnetlauncher from your system:

  • Search for 'taskschd.msc' in the start menu and open it, expand library and delete bnetlauncher folder to remove the tasks used to start the client
  • Search for %localappdata%\ in start menu and open the folder, delete bnetlauncher folder to remove any created logs and gamedb.ini files

Advanced: Adding new blizzard games or custom cases

From v2.00 onward bnetlauncher uses a internal gamedb.ini to control how games are launched.

Disclaimer: This option is there to make it easier to add new games as blizzard releases them or support "exotic" use cases. It's not intended or needed for regular users.

To customize the configurations create a gamedb.ini file in:

  • %localappdata%\\bnetlauncher\gamedb.ini
  • the directory where the bnetlauncher executable is located.

A gamesdb.ini.sample is distributed with bnetlauncher containing a copy of the built in shortcuts.

Important: The defaults are not changeable. bnetlauncher will always override them with it's internal gamesdb.ini file. However it is possible to create a new entry using a different name to use custom options.

Exemple entry:

name=Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Explaining what each part does:

  • [codbo4] name used with bnetlauncher that identifies the settings to use (ex: bnetlauncher.exe codbo4)
  • name=Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 a friendly name for the game used for error and help messages
  • client=battlenet the client module used to launch the game, currently there's battlenet and battlenet2, difference bettwen the two is that battlenet2 can launch ptr/classic version of games but could be less reliable then battlenet.
  • cmd=VIPR command to launch the game, for the battlenet it's a special id that allows direct launching of the game, with battlenet2 it's the game's productCode. Those values can be discovered by looking at logs in different locations:
    • for battlenet '%LOCALAPPDATA%\\Logs\*.log'
    • for battlenet2 'C:\ProgramData\\Setup\<game>\*.log'
  • exe=BlackOps4.exe game exe that bnetlauncher will look for after launch, can use % as a wildcard ie Diablo III%.exe to support 32 and 64 bit builds of the game.
  • options=noargs,waitforexit list of comma separated options, currently supported:
    • noargs doesn't throw an error when retrieving blank arguments from the game (needed for blackops4.exe)
    • waitforexit leave bnetlauncher open and waiting until the game existing (needed for destiny 2 to show you as playing)
    • nolaunch don't directly launch the game but just open the client and try to find the game for an additional 60s. This can be used launch a game and give time to select a region or other unsuported options.
    • notask doesn't start the client trough a scheduled task, this will make the steam overlay also apply to the client

Special Thanks

  • internet coder Maruf for ghost tray icon fix code
  • github Ethan-BB for the new parameters to launch games on
  • github RobFreiburger and iMintty for Starcraft Remastered and Destiny 2 support respectively.
  • /u/fivetwofoureight for creating and allowing me to use his icon.
  • /u/malecden, Maverick, /u/sumphatguy and others for their help pointing out bugs.
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