INITIAL TROUBLESHOOTING (ADMIN PRIVILEGES, UAC, REINSTALLING LIBRARIES, COMPATIBILITY MODES)
1) Make sure that your Windows user account has Administrator privileges, then right-click game's shortcut and select "Run as Administrator".
2) Install the June 2010 DirectX runtime package, then use the DirectX web installer, as your current DirectX may have become corrupt over time.
You can find the ZIP file containing the 2010 package installation files here:
You will have to extract the files into some folder, then open that folder and launch the DXSETUP.exe file in order to proceed with the installation.
Afterwards, download the latest DirectX web installer use it as well:
3) Make sure that User Account Control is disabled in your operating system. To do this, go to Start -> Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety -> User Accounts -> Change User Account Control settings. Move the slider to the lowest position ("Never notify") and click OK. Now reinstall the game by right-clicking the installer and using “Run as Administrator”, then launch the game with “Run as Administrator” again.
4) If the above don't help, right-click the game's shortcut, go to Properties -> Compatibility and try different compatibility modes before attempting to launch the game again.
IF THE GAME PERMITS, TRY DIFFERENT VIDEO/AUDIO SETTINGS
You should look for video and audio quality settings, and start by setting all of them to disabled, or lowest possible. If that let you launch the game, try re-enabling the settings, one at a time, and see which caused the crash.
If the above don't help, check if the game allows you to select different renderers (DirectX, OpenGL, Software etc). One of the renderers may be more stable on your machine than the default one.
RESTORE YOUR GRAPHICS CARD SETTINGS TO DEFAULTS
Make sure that your graphics card drivers are not forcing any settings upon the game. To do this, right-click an empty area on your desktop and go to:
For NVIDIA cards: NVIDIA Control Panel -> 3D Settings -> Manage 3D Settings, and click “Restore”.
For ATI/AMD cards: Catalyst Control Center -> Gaming -> 3D Application Settings, and click “Defaults”.
MAKE SURE DEP (DATA EXECUTION PREVENTION) IS USING ITS DEFAULT SETTING
To do this, follow these steps:
1) Open Menu Start
2) Right click 'Computer' and click 'Properties'
3) Click 'Advanced system settings'
4) Open tab 'Advanced' and click 'Settings' in 'Performance' section
5) Open tab 'Data Execution Prevention'
6) Change DEP setting to the first option (Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only)
7) Confirm with OK.
TURN OFF GOOGLE CHROME
If you're using it, that is.
A weird suggestion, but trust us, it worked a bunch of times.
TRY LAUNCHING IN CLEAN BOOT MODE.
If you have any doubts regarding the presence or activity of system security software on your PC, please try running your PC in clean boot mode.
To use Clean Boot Mode, check out an appropriate guide:
for Windows XP,
for Windows Vista, X, 8, 8.1.
Make sure that the account you create for clean boot mode has been given Administrator privileges and, once again, consider disconnecting/unplugging your Internet connection.