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Launcher utility to help start games with the steam overlay.

Official page

Project Status

It's now been years since I last played a blizzard game so this project has been put into "maintenance" as I'm no longer a user of it.

Contributions are still accepted (new games, features, etc) but other then those no further developments will be made.

There still other launcher project in active development like Launchpad in case bnetlauncher no longer works for you.


This application is intended to facilitate the launch of games from steam with overlay with minimal/no interaction with the client while still being automatically logged in.


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
codbo4 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
codbocw Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
codmw2019 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
codmw2crm Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered
cb4 Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
d2r Diablo 2: Resurrected
d3 Diablo 3
d3ptr Diablo 3 Public Test Realm
di Diablo Immortal
hs Heartstone
hots Heroes of the Storm
ow Overwatch
owptr Overwatch Public Test Realm
scr Starcraft Remastered
sc2 Starcraft 2
w3 Warcraft 3: Reforged
wow World of Warcraft
wowclassic World of Warcraft Classic
wowptr World of Warcraft Public Test Realm

the result should look something like the example or screenshot bellow:

"G:\Steam\bnetlauncher.exe" ow

Example Screenshot

Note: bnetlauncher default behavior is to retain the state of the client, so if the client is not running bnetlauncher will close it, if it's running it will leave it running.

Public Test Realm and World of Warcraft Classic

With the release of the the new client in 2021 the previous methods to launch PTR and Classic version no longer work. This version includes experimental fix for the issue that may not always work. If game doesn't launch automaticall manual interaction to press the play button will be required.


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 was dependant on enter key press defaulting to play button. As of latest client version, this is no longer the case, there's experimental code to work around it but it may not always work, if the game doesn't launch pressing the play key will be required.
  • Slow computers might take too long causing to bnetlauncher to think something went wrong, see additional 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 manually 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 provided with --notask switch/option.
  • Starting multiple copies of Starcraft 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)
  • Call of Duty: Cold War might work better when using --timeout 10 for some users.

Additional options

There's also the following additional 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. Warning: 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 clients
  • 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 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 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 configuration.

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

Example 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, battlenet2 and epic, difference between the two battlenet 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, be aware that this value is case sensitive! 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' In the case of epic, just create a desktop shortcut and extract the id from the properties, it will be something like:
    • com.epicgames.launcher://apps/<id will be here>?action=launch&silent=true
  • 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 unsupported options.
    • notask doesn't start the client trough a scheduled task, this will make the steam overlay also apply to the client
    • noadmin tries to apply compatibility flags to the game to avoid calling the UAC, this is an untested hack that can break the game do not use unless you know what you're doing.


  • 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.
  • github jbzdarkid for fixing some typos in the documentation.
  • github jacobmix for crash bandicoot 4 addition
  • github KyleStilkey for Diablo Immortal support