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Q100038: Launching Nuke/NukeX/NukeStudio/Hiero in safe mode


This article shows how to launch Nuke, NukeX, NukeStudio or Hiero in safe mode. This is useful for troubleshooting problems you may encounter.



When Nuke runs in safe mode it will not load any third-party plugins or user customisations, such as Python scripts and Gizmos, and only runs using the contents of the Nuke install directory.

It specifically prevents the loading of custom python plugins and export presets on startup and stops any scripts or plugins in ~/.nuke and $NUKE_PATH locations from being executed. OFX plugins are also prevented from being loaded (including FurnaceCore).

Nuke's safe mode can help determine if any problems you encounter are caused by user customisations and/or third-party plugins or if they happen with the core Nuke install.

Any Nuke sessions launched in safe mode will also load with the default Preferences settings, so safe mode may also help determine if an issue is caused by any changes made to the Preferences.



You can launch Nuke/NukeX/NukeStudio/Hiero in safe mode from a command prompt or terminal with the --safe flag. Exact steps are below.

The commands below are to launch Nuke 12.1v2 in safe mode, if you are running a different version then please change the command to your version of Nuke.

These instructions also assume that you have Nuke installed to the default location, so if you have installed Nuke to a different location, you may need to alter the command appropriately.

You can launch Nuke's different modes in safe mode by adding the --safe flag to the command:


"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe


"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --nukex

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --nukex

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --nukex


"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --hiero

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --hiero

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --hiero

Nuke Studio:

"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --studio

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --studio

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --studio

Nuke Assist:

"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --nukeassist

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --nukeassist

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --nukeassist

Hiero Player:

"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --player

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --player

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --player


Nuke Indie:

"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.2v1\Nuke12.2.exe" --safe --indie

/Applications/Nuke12.2v1/ --safe --indie

/usr/local/Nuke12.2v1/Nuke12.2 --safe --indie


 Nuke Non-commercial:

"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --nc

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --nc

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --nc

However, to launch Nuke Non-commercial in other modes, you will also need to include an additional flag for the required mode. For example, to launch Nuke Studio as Non-commercial, you would use the following commands:

"C:\Program Files\Nuke12.1v2\Nuke12.1.exe" --safe --nc --studio

/Applications/Nuke12.1v2/ --safe --nc --studio

/usr/local/Nuke12.1v2/Nuke12.1 --safe --nc --studio

Replacing the --studio flag as appropriate.

NOTE: Prior to Nuke 12, the default command for macOS also included the v# for the application name (shown in bold below). For example:

/Applications/Nuke11.3v6/ --safe



If launching Nuke/NukeX/NukeStudio/Hiero in safe mode resolves your issue, then it is likely that a customisation or plugin is cause for the problem you are encountering.

We would first recommend renaming your ~/.nuke folder, as this will force Nuke to create a new one upon launch. Then gradually reintroduce the files from the original folder (for example, the prefrences12.1.nk and any Python scripts) to the new one until you encounter the issue again. This may help you to determine what is causing the problem. The following article provides more detailed instructions for how you may go about this:

Q100475: Troubleshooting the .nuke directory

Customisations can also be added to several different locations, of which you can find a listed in the Nuke documentation:

Loading Gizmos, NDK Plug-ins, and Python and Tcl Scripts

You can also launch Nuke in verbose mode to see what plug-ins/custom scripts are installed. More information about launching Nuke in verbose mode can be found in the following article:

Q100112: Launching Nuke in verbose mode and isolating potential customisations causing issues

If you have tried the steps above, and you are still unable to determine the cause of the problem, then please open a Support ticket and let us know the exact issue you are encountering and the troubleshooting steps you have taken so far. For more information on how to open a Support ticket, please refer to our Q100064: How to raise a support ticket article.

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