16 Things To Do if Your Gaming PC Freezes

There is no more heart-sinking moment for gamers than your gaming PC freezing at an intense moment in a match or playthrough. Fortunately, there are many solutions to get your gaming PC back up and running.

Here are 16 things to do if your gaming PC freezes:

  1. Restart your PC.
  2. Update your Windows.
  3. Close background programs.
  4. Disable unnecessary programs from launching at startup.
  5. Update your drivers.
  6. Limit your frames per second (FPS) in games to 60.
  7. Run a malware or virus check on your PC.
  8. Check for corrupted files with System File Checker.
  9. Switch to a wired internet connection.
  10. Check for bottlenecks.
  11. Switch from a hard disk drive to a solid disk drive.
  12. Check the PC temperature.
  13. Clean your hard drive.
  14. Disable Realtek Audio.
  15. Install more RAM.
  16. Close Google Chrome tabs.

This article will take a detailed look at employing these methods to unfreeze your gaming PC effectively. Keep reading to get your PC back in a state to game on in no time!

1. Restart Your PC

Restarting your PC should always be the first thing to try to solve any PC troubles. Restarting your PC is especially effective when your screen is frozen and unresponsive.

A common cause for your gaming PC freezing up comes from your Random Access Memory (RAM) reaching capacity. Restarting your PC allows your RAM to start fresh by clearing all cached information. Typically, giving your RAM a fresh start will resolve any issues that can cause a PC to freeze.

I would bet money this one method will fix your PC’s frozen state. However, there’s a reason I’m not a gambler. If it’s a recurring issue, keep reading for other potential fixes.

2. Update Your Windows

Another common problem that can cause your gaming PC to freeze is an outdated operating system (OS). If you’ve been clicking the remind me later button on your Windows updates for a couple of months now, it may be time to bite the bullet and finally update your OS.

Luckily updating Windows is simple! Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Type “Windows Update” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Select Windows Update Settings from the search menu.
  3. Select Check for Updates at the top of the Setting Window. If no updates are available, you’ll see a green check and “You’re up to date” at the top of the Settings Window. If you have an update available, Windows will automatically start updating.

If you updated your PC and are still experiencing freezing problems, at least you don’t have to worry about future updates for a while now!

3. Close Background Programs

You may not realize how many programs your PC is running in the background. They can take up real estate on your RAM and cause freezing.

To close your background programs, follow these easy steps:

  1. Type “Task Manager” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Select Task Manager from the search menu.
  3. Right-click unnecessary background programs and click End task.

A quick tip for effectively quitting background programs is to sort by Memory. Simply click the Memory tab from the top bar of Task Manager. Task Manager will show you the background programs using the most RAM when sorting by Memory.

4. Disable Unnecessary Programs From Launching on Startup

Another method to fix your gaming PC from freezing in Task Manager is to disable unnecessary programs from launching on startup. Plus, the method to stop programs from launching on startup is similar to quitting background programs, so you’re already an expert!

  1. Type “Task Manager” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Select Task Manager from the search menu.
  3. Go to the Startup tab at the top of Task Manager.
  4. Right-click unnecessary programs and select Disable.

Common programs to disable from launching on startup are:

  • Skype
  • Game launchers (Steam, Origin, Battle.net, etc.)
  • Adobe Creative Suite

5. Update Your Drivers

Outdated drivers for any gaming PC hardware can lead to freezing problems. If you have out-of-date drivers, you’re not alone. I’m also guilty of putting off driver updates for weeks or even months.

The process of updating your drivers differs depending on your computer hardware components. Refer to your hardware components user manual for in-depth instructions.

If you know what graphics card, CPU, and chipset you have, you can go to the manufacturers’ websites:

6. Limit Your Frames per Second (FPS) in Games to 60

Limiting your FPS can take a load off your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and solve your freezing problem. Lowering your graphics settings can have a similar effect, but limiting FPS tends to be more effective.

Methods to lower your frame rate will differ depending on your hardware and what game you’re playing. Check your graphics card’s driver settings or search online to find an exact method with the game of choice.

7. Run a Malware or Virus Check on Your PC

Unfortunately, viruses and malware are still a rampant part of the internet. If you’ve recently clicked a risky link online, it may be time to do a virus or malware check.

Luckily, Windows has built-in threat detection software. To take advantage of Windows’ threat detection software, follow these easy steps:

  1. Type “Virus” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Select Virus & Threat Protection from the search menu.
  3. Click the Quick Scan button under the “Current Threats” section of the Virus & Threat Protection settings.

I’m crossing my fingers for your scan to come up with no results!

8. Check for Corrupted Files With System File Checker

This method involves using the Command Prompt, which I know can be daunting to some PC users. But don’t worry! Running System File Checker through Command Prompt is easier than it looks:

  1. Type “Command Prompt” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt from the search menu and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type “SFC /scan now” to run the System File Checker. Feel free to copy and paste the search term from this article.
  4. Restart your PC and check if you’ve resolved your freezing problem.

Isn’t it satisfying to successfully type a command into Command Prompt? Personally, running Command Prompt makes me feel like a computer whizz!

9. Switch to a Wired Internet Connection

A poor internet connection can cause your PC to freeze up while gaming. If connecting your PC to the internet via Wi-Fi, your PC could experience regular freezing.

I recommend switching to a wired internet connection. I understand swapping to Ethernet can be a logistical nightmare, especially if your gaming PC is located in a room far from your router.

I’ve successfully achieved a wired connection from a distance by switching to a mesh Wi-Fi network.

Mesh Wi-Fi networks work by combining two or more nodes that work together to expand your internet coverage. In Addition to the expanded Wi-Fi, you’re able to connect to any node with an Ethernet cable. Therefore, you can have a wired connection without being in the same room as your primary router.

I use Google Wi-Fi (Amazon.com) for my at-home mesh network. I’ve been blown away by the enhanced gaming experience from using Google Wi-Fi to connect to the internet via Ethernet.

10. Check for Bottlenecks

If your GPU and CPU are mismatched power-wise, you can run into bottlenecks that cause your PC to freeze while gaming. Bottlenecking is a problem I ran into after upgrading to a 2070 Super without upgrading my CPU.

You can use PC Builds’ Bottleneck Calculator to see if your CPU and graphics card match in performance.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get around a bottleneck. If you’re experiencing a bottleneck that’s causing your gaming PC to freeze, the only way to solve the problem is to upgrade your lacking PC component.

11. Switch From a Hard Disk Drive to a Solid Disk Drive

Hard disk drives (HDD) are outdated technology. Most modern video games are optimized to run on a solid-state drive (SSD).

An SSD has no moving components like HDDs do, allowing SSDs to operate like RAM, which means smoother gameplay!

If you’re still using an HDD, consider upgrading to an SSD to stop your gaming PC from freezing all the time.

If you already have an SSD in your gaming PC, ensure that you install your operating system and games on the correct drive. I’ve accidentally installed a game on my HDD for general files and had performance issues because of my mistake.

To check where you installed a game, follow these easy steps:

  1. Right-click the game you’re experiencing freezing with.
  2. Select Properties from the right-click list.
  3. Select the General tab from the properties menu.
  4. Check the hard drive letter next to “Location.” If the drive location matches your SSD drive letter, you’re all set. Otherwise, you’ll have to move the game to your SSD.

Now that you’ve installed your game on your SSD, your freezing troubles should be behind you. If they’re not, read on for more potential solutions.

12. Check the PC Temperature

If your gaming PC is running at a high temperature, it could cause your PC to freeze. The best way to solve your PC overheating dilemma is to clean the dust from your PC components.

Cleaning out dust from your gaming PC is pretty easy! You just need a can of compressed air:

  1. Turn off your gaming PC, and unplug all peripherals and power cords.
  2. Remove the side plate of your PC to expose your PC’s inner hardware.
  3. Use your compressed air to blow away any dust.

I have a quick tip for you to effectively clean your PC with compressed air. ALWAYS keep your compressed air upright, and use short bursts of air. A liquid is released from the can if you hold your compressed air at an angle, and it will freeze your PC components, causing irreversible damage.

13. Clean Your Hard Drive

If the game causing your freezing is on a full hard drive, you may experience freezing. The easiest way to clear up some spare space is to use Windows Disk Cleanup.

  1. Type “Disk Cleanup” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Select Disk Cleanup from the search menu.
  3. Select your full drive from the drop-down menu in the Disk Cleanup window.
  4. Press OK, and Windows will automatically scan for unnecessary files to delete.

Sometimes Windows Disk Cleanup won’t give you the storage breathing room to solve your gaming PC freezing problem. Unfortunately, if this is the case for you, you’ll have to go through and manually delete or move programs and files.

14. Disable Realtek Audio

Realtek Audio is the audio driver Windows provides for free. If you have a gaming PC, odds are you’re using a separate audio driver already. Having Realtek Audio enabled while also running a high-end audio driver can cause performance issues.

To disable Realtek Audio, follow these simple steps:

  1. Type “Device Manager” in your Windows Search Bar in your Taskbar.
  2. Select Device Manager from the search menu.
  3. Expand the Sound, video, and game controllers tab.
  4. Right-click Realtek(R) Audio and select Disable device.

Now that you’ve disabled the unnecessary default Windows audio driver, you should have a smoother PC gaming experience.

15. Install More RAM

You may have noticed maxed RAM is a common theme amongst the potential causes of gaming PC’s freezing. As PC games get more demanding, the RAM requirements for a smooth gaming experience also increase.

If you’re still rocking 8GB of RAM in your gaming PC, it’s probably time to upgrade. Thankfully, RAM is cheap and easy to upgrade!

16. Close Google Chrome Tabs

Google Chrome uses more RAM than you may think. Need proof? Open up Task Manager and Google Chrome simultaneously, and prepare to be shocked!

If you’re the type of PC gamer to keep 10+ Google Chrome tabs open at once, I may have just found the root of your gaming PC freezing dilemma. Try closing Google Chrome tabs that you don’t use regularly.

Final Thoughts

The most frustrating part of PC gaming is the troubleshooting that comes along with it. More than once, I’ve found myself bashing my head against my keyboard, trying to get a game to work rather than gaming.

The solutions to PC gaming problems are also never guaranteed to work. Not knowing which solution will solve your gaming PC freezing is why I’ve listed several potential solutions. 

With 16 solutions to try out, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find one working solution from this list.

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