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Troubleshooting Guide: My System Keeps Shutting Down While Gaming

My system keeps shutting down while gaming

Last Updated on March 27, 2021 by Muhammad Junaid Khalid


Does your prized gaming PC crash when gaming? Blue screen of death interrupting your gaming flow? The reasons can range from as simple as an overworked CPU to hardware issues. Not only does a sudden system shutdown ruin the gaming experience, but you may also lose valuable data as well. Depending on whether the cause of the game crashing the computer is software or hardware-related, there are plenty of fixes if your system crashes when gaming.

Software Fixes For System Crashes When Gaming

One thing to check before making any changes is to ensure the game is installed without issues or seeing that your computer has the correct specifications to run it. If the game launches but crashes later, visit the settings of the game, lower the graphics to reasonable quality, and disable special effects. Not only will this prevent crashes, but it may also help the game run more smoothly too.

Often, a game crashing the computer is due to game-related issues, not your PC. In case one game causes problems and others run just fine, contact tech support for it. If all these things check out, read on for further solutions to prevent your computer from shutting down during gaming.

Solution 1 – Shut off Programs Running in the Background

Running a resource-heavy game? Shut down background processes – especially if your PC is low on specs. Gaming requires system resources, and background programs hogging your CPU or RAM may result in the game crashing the computer.

You can exit background apps such as OneDrive or DropBox manually, and use the Task Manager for disabling others.

  • To open the Task Manager window, press alt + ctrl + delete keys and select Task Manager from the options.

task manager

  • In the Processes tab, you see a list of currently running programs and processes. Right-click on the name of the process to close and select “End Task”. Ensure you don’t end any tasks necessary for running Windows!

end unnecessary task from taskbar

  • Task Manager allows users to disable resource-hogging apps that launch when you start your PC as well. Click the Startup tab, and have a look at the list of processes and their status. Right-click and select “Disable” if an unnecessary high-impact app is enabled.

disable apps from startup

  • Reboot your PC, run a game, and check if you still have system crashes when gaming.


Related: Troubleshooting Guide: All The Files and Folders On My Laptop Have Disappeared

Solution 2 – Install the Appropriate Software Packages

Although most games come with their necessary installation components, it’s worth checking whether your game requires a program such as Java or DirectX. Go through the game’s documentation, or just do a Google search to see what you need to install and run the game you want to play. This can prevent instances of a game crashing the computer.

Solution 3 – Update Windows and Install the Latest Drivers

Sometimes, bugs in the system or an out-of-date driver can result in a game crashing the computer. Fortunately, Windows 10 receives regular updates, and you can update your graphics drivers using Device Manager.

To update Windows 10, go to Start and launch Settings, select Updates & Security, and click on “Check for updates”.

check for updates for resolve gaming issues

To update your drivers, follow these steps:

  • Press the Windows key + X and select “Device Manager” from the menu.

open device manager

  • Find and open the Display adapters option, right-click on it, and choose the “Update driver” option. Similarly, try updating drivers for Game controllers and audio.

update display adaptors to resolve any gaming issues

Solution 4 – Launch Game as an Administrator

One way to deal with system crashes when gaming is to run the game as an administrator. Right-click on the game icon, and simply select “Run as administrator”, then click “Yes” on the confirmatory prompt that pops up.

run the game as administrator

If this prevents the game from crashing the computer, enable it permanently by right-clicking the game icon, selecting “Properties” and go to the Compatibility tab > mark the box for “Run this program as an administrator”, and apply the settings.

Solution 5 – Compatibility Issues

In case you are trying to play an older game, check its compatibility with your system. Plenty of games, especially those from the 90s and early 2000s are incompatible with recent builds of Windows. DOS games require an emulator like DOSbox, while others may need patches to run smoothly.

Games installed via CDs need to have the CD data mounted while running as well – you should have the CD game data in the form of an ISO, CUE, IMG, or BIN file. Mount the file using a program like WinCDEmu. You can find the most classic games at GOG.com, which are DRM-free and upgraded to work on modern operating systems.

Finally, if you installed all important patches and updates for a game, the next thing to try is to set the compatibility for it.

  • Right-click on the game icon and select “Troubleshoot compatibility”. Follow along, and the wizard automatically selects what system compatibility to use for the selected game.

troubleshoot compatibility to fix gaming issues

  • You may also manually select the compatibility mode. Right-click on the game icon and open the “Properties”. Go to the Compatibility tab, and mark the box to enable compatibility mode. Then select the system you deem most compatible with your game.

select compatible operating system

  • Try running the game again, and note any error messages or inconsistencies that may show up in case it crashes again.

Solution 6 – Scan for Viruses and Hard Drive Problems

Viruses can corrupt save files or game data, along with hard drive issues. Remember to always download a game from a trusted source to avoid getting corrupted files and nasty viruses/malware! Simply use your favorite antivirus program or malware cleaner to scan for viruses and remove them.

To fix hard drive issues, visit This PC, right-click on the hard drive where the game resides, and select “Properties” > go to the Tools tab > click on the “Check” button below Error checking. The tool automatically scans and fixes drive issues.

check hard drive to solve gaming issues

Related: How to Fix Wi-Fi Connection Problems in Windows 10

Hardware Fixes For System Crashes When Gaming

If you are a huge gaming buff, it’s always worth getting good hardware and maintaining it. Always keep an eye on your system and deal with any problems that show up repeatedly.

1. Overheating

Overheating commonly causes system crashes when gaming on a PC, particularly if the game in question is power-intensive. To manage overheating, regularly check and clean the cooling system.

Check fans and wires for damage, clean out dust and any debris you find. If your CPU does not have thermal paste already, apply some (or ask tech personnel to do it for you!) to cut down on overheating. While laptops may not have the option due to space constraints, you may expand your PC’s cooling system if technically possible.

Apps like SpeedFan help keep an eye on temperatures, fan speeds, and more. In case you overclocked your system, adjust your settings to a reasonable level, or change them back to default.

2. Check Your Game Controllers

If you attach a joystick or other controller for gaming, make sure it is compatible with your computer. Update the drivers for game controllers as well, and try plugging it in a different adapter/USB slot.

3. Upgrade/Replace Your Hardware

It happens sooner or later – sometimes, your hardware is just not good enough, outdated, or wears down with use. You might need to add a bit of RAM or buy a new graphics card for your PC. For laptop users, this can be a tough call – some laptops may not have upgradable features.

Check your computer’s manual and specifications to see what you can add to it. You don’t want to get a shiny new graphics card only to find out your computer does not support it! Whether you game on a battered laptop or a powerhouse of a PC, always do your research before buying new parts.

Note: Does this article provide the info you’re looking for? Is there any information you think of missing or incorrect? You can give your opinion in the comments section below.

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