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Computer Keeps Crashing While Playing Games – A Few Solutions

Posted by Jamie on July 2, 2019

There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a level or beating a challenging boss only to have the game crash before it saves. If your computer keeps crashing while playing games, this is the tutorial for you. I’m going to walk you through some of the more common causes for this issue and show you how to fix them.

Computer crashes can be caused by all kinds of things but if it is only when playing games that it happens, the field narrows considerably. It will be mainly drivers, software,  temperature or RAM that is causing the crash. We can do something about all of those things.

Computer crashing while playing games

Your first task is to isolate whether it is one game that crashes your computer or whether it’s all games. If it is one game, we need to troubleshoot the game and not necessarily the computer. If it’s all games, it is likely the computer causing the issues.

If it’s one game, update the game, reinstall it, change the game resolution, disable VoIP or create an exception for it in your firewall and antivirus. Those are all common causes of game crashes. If the game is on Steam, verify local install too.

If it’s all games, follow these steps:

Update everything

You likely know as well as I that Windows 10 is only as good as its last update. If your games keep crashing, perform a Windows Update first. Then grab a graphics driver update and check your audio, network, motherboard and any other driver you use. Either use Device Manager or visit each manufacturer website and download the latest driver for your hardware.

Most importantly, make sure you are running the latest version of Windows 10 and have the latest graphics drivers.

Check running applications

Have Task Manager running when you’re playing a game and see if anything in particular uses lots of memory or CPU. Your system resources should be freed up for the game but if something is using too many resources, shut it down and retest the game.

Pay particular attention to any antivirus or malware scanners you have installed. Make sure they aren’t running scans during the game as this is a likely cause of crashes. If your security software has a game mode, try it. If it doesn’t, check in settings to stop it running scans when you’re doing other things.

Keep your cool

Temperature is a classic cause of games crashing. What often happens is that thermal throttling kicks in on your graphics card, shuts the GPU down, crashes the graphics driver which crashes the game. Windows 10 can recover from a graphics driver crash which is why you may still be able to use it as normal afterwards. Games cannot usually survive a graphics driver crash.

Use Open Hardware Monitor, HWMonitor or something else to keep an eye on temperatures. When the game crashes, quickly check the temperatures. If something is running too hot, its time to look at cooling. Check this page for average operating temperatures for some PC configurations.

If your system is running too hot, clean it thoroughly and remove all dirt and dust. If that doesn’t work, make sure all fans are working and are all pulling air in the right direction. Finally, consider upgrading your fans if necessary.

Thanks for the memory

RAM is another classic cause of game crashes. Most newer games are very resource intensive and memory is a key component of that. It has to time everything perfectly to feed the processor all the data it needs to play the game, work the physics, keep the game running, send network traffic and all the other things that are happening. Anything getting in the way of that will cause the game to crash.

Usually, a RAM issue will also crash other applications too but that doesn’t always happen.

  1. Download and install MemTest86+ onto a USB drive.
  2. Boot your PC from that drive and run the program.
  3. Let the test run performing 6-8 passes.
  4. Check for significant errors.

I always suggest letting MemTest86+ run overnight as it can take a while. The more RAM you have, the longer it takes. Small numbers of errors are nothing to worry about but a large volume or many types of error can indicate something is wrong.

You can check by moving your RAM to a different motherboard slot and re-running the test. If the errors follow, it’s the RAM at fault. If there are no more errors, either reseating the RAM fixed it or it’s the motherboard slot. If you’re not using that slot, leave it. If you need it, you may need to consider replacing your motherboard when you can.

If your computer keeps crashing while playing games, these are the most common reasons why. Hopefully by now your games are running fine. If not, look at disk errors, power supply and run DISM in Windows. Good luck with it!

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