PC Gaming is definitely on the rise these days.
Powerful hardware is getting cheaper; overall, many products and components have become more accessible.
Still, it’s a shame that the platform which generates the most revenue also faces the most bugs and other issues.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- FIX #1: Lower In-Game Settings
- FIX #2: Restart Windows Explorer
- FIX #3: Disable Background Programs
- FIX #4: Check Your Thermals
- FIX #5: Update your drivers
- FIX #6: Get Rid Of Temp Files
- FIX #7: Increase The Size Of The Virtual Memory
- FIX #8: Check For Malware And Viruses
- FIX #9: Turn Off On-board Audio
- FIX #10: Look Out For Bottlenecking
- FIX #11: Check Your Hardware
Despite that, there are a tonne of users out there who go through this frustration almost daily.
This article should serve as a great guide on how to fix PC freezes while playing games. Let’s get into it.
What Are Your Options?
It can be challenging to pinpoint the primary source of the problem directly.
We’d recommend reading through this guide and seeing what works for you. There can be dozens of things in play here, from defects in the software side of things, or a problem in the actual hardware.
Let’s get started.
FIX #1: Lower In-Game Settings
If your headache is mainly due to choppy or inconsistent framerates, this should be the first solution that comes to mind.
You might be pushing your hardware a bit too much, whether the CPU or the graphics card.
Try lowering the textures and overall quality a bit.
Drop it down to low or medium if you’re playing on high or ultra settings.
It might look a bit worse, depending on the game, but at least you’ll get a smooth framerate.
FIX #2: Restart Windows Explorer
If lowering in-game settings didn’t work, and you still face computer freezes in Windows 10, here’s another quick and easy fix.
We recommend exiting your game for this one, as that gives the best results.
Steps to Restart Windows Explorer
To restart windows explorer, bring up your Task Manager.
- Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys on your keyboard, which should open up the dialog box called “Task Manager.”
- Click on the “more details” option to view all of the current open processes.
- In the processes list, scroll down to find the process named “Windows Explorer,” which should have a little folder icon next to it.
- Right-click on this, then select restart.
This terminates the graphical user interface and restarts it, which might help in some cases.
This same fix also applies to freezes while playing games in Windows 7.
FIX #3: Disable Background Programs
Disabling useless programs running in the background is not that much difficult.
Many programs can take over RAM and processing power, even in the background.
- Just press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard, which should bring up Task Manager.
- From here, look at all the programs eating up processing power or memory and disable them if they’re unimportant.
FIX #4: Check Your Thermals
Heat problems or mainly high temperatures commonly cause lag and stuttering.
The computer will automatically throttle down to protect the components if your video card or processor reaches unsafe thermals while gaming.
If you want to keep an eye on thermals while playing, we recommend using MSI Afterburner.
- Best Thermal Compounds available in 2023
- Types of Thermal Paste/Compounds – Which one to use on a Gaming PC?
This program can add an OSD or an on-screen display while gaming, so you can always keep an eye on thermals.
Since we’re already talking about thermals and stability, below are some other things you can do as well:
- Stress Test your GPU: Performance on a video card can degrade over time due to overheating. This can cause instability and random framerate drops while playing. Try a benchmarking or stress tool such as FurMark.
- CPU Stability: It’s not always the graphics card that causes these issues. Sometimes, it’s possible that your CPU isn’t working efficiently or it doesn’t have the best stability. We recommend using Core Temp for real-time temperature readings. This neat program can help monitor the power draw and load percentages on all cores. If you want to put the CPU through its paces, run a stress test like Prime95. This test punishes the processor and checks for any stability of all issues. You can even select the “Blend Test” to check RAM stability simultaneously.
FIX #5: Update your drivers
We’re back to one of the more evident and common fixes, but you’d be surprised how often this one is overlooked. A lot of people leave the auto-update feature on for their drivers. While this does work most of the time, it can be a miss sometimes.
It’s highly possible that you turned off auto-updates because it is very annoying in Windows 10. Speaking of which, your OS should be up-to-date as well.
If you want to update your Nvidia or AMD drivers, you do so with their respective software, like the Nvidia control panel. However, we recommend doing a clean reinstall for the drivers to avoid problems in the future.
Steps To Perform A Clean Driver Installation
If you want to see an actual real difference and get away from annoying intermittent freezes once and for all, you’ll have to wipe away any traces of the previous drivers completely.
We recommend Display Driver Uninstaller or, simply, DDU.
We also recommend using DDU in safe mode while uninstalling and turning off Wi-Fi or removing the internet for good measure.
Related Post: Best Wi-Fi Gaming Routers
This ensures all files for the previous drivers are deleted, and turning off the internet ensures Windows doesn’t automatically install new ones.
After that, installing new drivers is pretty simple. Go to Nvidia or AMD’s website and find the latest drivers for your video card, install them, and you should be good to go. In rare cases, driver updates can even boost performance.
Keep your drivers updated.
FIX #6: Get Rid Of Temp Files
This is another common source of the problem.
If your gaming laptop or computer doesn’t have sufficient space to store temp files efficiently, it may cause stuttering and make your computer freeze while playing games in Windows 10 (or Windows 7, for that matter).
Steps to Delete Temp Files
- Press the Windows+R keys simultaneously on your keyboard, which should bring up the Run program.
- Type the word %temp% in here and press enter. This should open up a folder containing all your temp files.
- Select all the files in the folder and delete them.
After that, relaunch your game, and hopefully, the problem should be solved. If not, we recommend following up with the method below.
Check the in-depth guide to delete windows 10 temp files using settings.
FIX #7: Increase The Size Of The Virtual Memory
Many people will tell you that 8 gigs of RAM are sufficient for most games.
While this is true, you’d be better off with more memory.
8GB might be enough for most people, but that isn’t factoring in all the programs you might have open in the background. Chrome is especially notorious for eating up RAM.
Virtual Memory is a combination of RAM and a portion of your hard drive.
If your game consumes all of the physical memory in your system, then your computer will temporarily use virtual memory to save files.
You may increase this size to help performance, especially if you have a lower amount of memory, Follow these steps to do so:
Steps to Increase The Size Of Virtual Memory
- Open the start menu and search for advanced system settings.
- From here, click on the advanced tab and the settings button under the performance section.
- Click on the advanced tab here, then click on change.
- Ensure the Automatically manage paging size option isn’t selected [A].
- Select your system drive [C], then click on the Custom size option [B].
- Select the Initial and Maximum size for your virtual memory [D].
- Click on Set, then OK.
You should use the recommended size for the initial size option.
As for the maximum size, don’t set this much higher than your actual physical memory.
For example, if you have 8GB [8192MB] of RAM, setting this option to about 12000 megabytes should be enough.
FIX #8: Check For Malware And Viruses
Trust us, don’t be one of those people that relies on “free” anti-malware or antivirus services. Sure they may seem fine at first, and they’ll tell you if they detect any malicious files. But it’s not much fun when you download an antivirus no one has ever heard of, and then that program is a virus.
Viruses and malware can cause problems in-game too, which can significantly hurt performance. We recommend using Malwarebytes or Norton for actual security. Although, the updated built-in Windows defender does work quite well.
Those are just some basic fixes and methods you can try out. They are tried and true and still work for quite a while when your computer freezes, even in 2023. However, if all of that didn’t quite work out, and your computer freezes when playing games but doesn’t overheat, there might be a different issue.
FIX #9: Turn Off On-board Audio
We’d also advise you to disable the generic sound drivers provided by Windows 10.
This is for the onboard sound device; you’re better off using RealTek’s drivers. The generic sound driver can cause problems with the video card, which can hinder performance.
- Open the start menu and search for “Device Manager.”
- Navigate to the “Sound, Video, and Game Controller” option from here.
- From the drop-down list, select an onboard sound device and disable it.
After both of these fixes, we recommend restarting your PC for better results.
FIX #10: Look Out For Bottlenecking
A bottleneck usually occurs when a single component severely limits the performance of a program or game. Let’s say you have an old processor and pair that with a brand-new high-end GPU. They aren’t exactly going to work efficiently together.
Memory can be a bottleneck at times too. If you have painfully slow RAM or a low amount of it, you will see worse performance than you would with more RAM or faster memory.
Finally, if nothing else works and your computer freezes, your last resort should be upgrading.
FIX #11: Check Your Hardware
Before proceeding, ensure your PC meets the minimum requirements for your desired game.
If not, you might be due for an upgrade, which can be a whole other guide on its own.
First off, we recommend checking your hard drive or SSD’s health. Faulty drivers can contribute to horrible performance in games, and they can even cause total system failure.
Use a program like Hard Disk Sentinel to check your HDD health.
This program also shows you if your drive is performing at its total capacity. It even tells you if your drive is going to fail you soon.
Since you’re already checking your hardware, you should also give your power supply a check. Ensure your PSU has enough wattage to power your whole system properly. If it doesn’t, your system might be throttling down to make up for it.
Well, that’s pretty much all we could cover in this guide. As we mentioned in the introduction, there are a lot of factors at play here, and there is a lot that can go wrong.
Still, hopefully, this guide helped you out in some or another.
If it helped you share it with others, they could also save themselves a headache. You might be able to help someone else out whose game keeps crashing or freezing too.