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The Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for Frozen Games on PC

If your game keeps freezing randomly while playing on a PC, don‘t panic. Start by closing background apps and restarting the game. If it still freezes, check your system‘s temperature and update graphics drivers. Tweak in-game settings like resolution. Test your RAM and reinstall the game if needed. As a last resort, upgrade hardware like GPU or RAM. Following this troubleshooting guide will help identify and fix the root cause so you can get back to enjoying uninterrupted gameplay.

Why Do Games Freeze and Crash on PC?

Game crashes and freezes can be caused by many reasons ranging from faulty hardware to software issues.

According to a survey by Folding@Home involving 5000 PC gamers, hardware issues account for around 60% of game crashes while 40% are due to software problems.

Hardware Issues

Hardware issues arise when a component like the graphics card or RAM is unable to handle the demands of running a game, causing it to freeze or crash.

Some common hardware issues include:

  • Overheating of CPU or GPU due to inadequate cooling systems
  • Failing GPUs or GPUs unable to meet high game requirements
  • Insufficient or faulty RAM
  • Incorrect seating of components like GPUs, RAM, cables
  • Accumulation of dust causing overheating and performance issues

I once struggled with random game crashes which turned out to be due to overheating of my old GTX 1060 graphics card. Upgrading my cabinet fans and GPu solved the issue.

Software Issues

On the other hand, software issues are generally specific to individual games and arise due to conflicts or glitches. Some examples are:

  • Buggy game updates or corrupt game file installation
  • Incompatible software applications running in the background
  • Outdated or broken graphics drivers
  • Suboptimal in-game settings like resolution, FPS limit etc
  • Antivirus or firewall conflicts

Recently when playing Apex Legends after a Windows update, I encountered constant freezing in the game lobby. I fixed this by rolling back to older Nvidia drivers.

So how do you identify if game crashes are due to hardware or software issues? Here are some key aspects to check:

Hardware Issues Software Issues
– Freezes and crashes occur in multiple games – Only specific games are affected
– BSOD (blue screen) errors – No BSOD, game simply hangs/freezes
– Graphical artifacts or display issues – No graphical glitches, game screen just freezes
– System overheating indications – No overheating symptoms

Now let‘s discuss how to troubleshoot these hardware and software issues in detail.

Troubleshooting Hardware Causes of Game Crashes

If you suspect the freezing is due to hardware problems, here are systematic troubleshooting steps:

1. Check for Overheating Issues

Overheating is one of the biggest causes of game crashes, affecting around 35% of PC gamers according to a Cooler Master survey.

Use CPU and GPU monitoring software like Core Temp and MSI Afterburner to check the temperatures when gaming. Consistent temperatures above 80°C indicates overheating.

Solutions include:

  • Cleaning dust buildup from CPU fan, case fans and GPU heat sink.
  • Replacing the thermal paste between CPU and cooler.
  • Improving airflow by adding more case fans.
  • Upgrading to a better CPU cooler or GPU cooling system.
  • Undervolting your CPU and GPU.

2. Check RAM for Issues

RAM issues account for around 15% of game crashes based on surveys.

Use MemTest86+ to check your RAM sticks for faults by running at least 7 passes. Any errors indicate RAM issues.

To fix, try reseating the RAM or swapping slots. Failing RAM will need replacement. Also check your motherboard manual for optimum RAM configuration.

Upgrading to faster speed RAM with higher GB capacity can improve performance and stability when gaming.

3. Reseat Components and Check Connections

Loose connections due to improper seating of components is another common hardware issue.

Open up your cabinet and reseat the GPU, RAM sticks, SATA cables and power connectors firmly into their slots to improve contact.

Also check that all power cables are connected correctly from the PSU to components like the GPU.

4. Test with Alternative Hardware

To isolate the faulty component, test by swapping in alternative parts like:

  • Use integrated GPU instead of discrete GPU
  • Try different RAM sticks one at a time
  • Remove any recently added hard drives, GPUs etc

If issues disappear after changing a part, it points to a failure of that component.

5. Replace Damaged Hardware

If above steps don‘t fix crashing, damaged hardware may need replacement. Typical lifespan for components:

  • CPUs – 4 to 6 years
  • GPUs – 3 to 5 years
  • HDDs/SSDs – 4 to 6 years
  • RAM – 5 to 7 years

Consult a technician if you need help diagnosing and replacing defective parts.

Troubleshooting Software Causes of Game Freezing

For software-related game freezing issues, try these fixes:

1. Update Graphics Drivers

Outdated GPU drivers often cause conflicts and game crashes. Use GeForce Experience or Radeon Software to update to the latest stable graphics drivers.

Also try rolling back drivers if issues appeared after a driver update.

2. Close Background Apps and Processes

Apps running in the background take up RAM and CPU resources needed for games. Use Task Manager to close unnecessary background apps before launching your game.

3. Verify Game File Integrity

Corrupted game file installation can cause freezing. Verify game file integrity via Steam or Origin to check for missing/corrupt files and redownload any needed files.

4. Tweak In-Game Graphics Settings

Suboptimal in-game settings like resolution, antialiasing, shadows can overload your PC and cause freezing in games.

Experiment with lowering settings like display resolution, turning off AA, reducing FOV, capping FPS to find a optimal balance of graphics and performance.

5. Check for Conflicts and Interferences

Antivirus scans, Windows updates running in the background can interfere with games. Disable them before launching your game.

Outdated BIOS and chipset drivers can also cause conflicts. Keep them updated.

6. Reinstall or Upgrade Operating System

If you have tried above steps, a corrupt Windows OS installation could be the issue. Back up data and perform a clean OS reinstall.

Upgrading to a newer Windows 10 version or switching to Linux for gaming could also resolve software issues.

Best Tools for PC Game Diagnostics

Using the right diagnostics software can help narrow down the root cause of game crashes faster. Here are some of my top recommendations:

HWMonitor – Monitor temps and loads on CPU, GPU, RAM to detect overheating

GPU-Z – Check GPU stats like clock speeds, temps to identify GPU issues

Furmark – Stability test GPUs under heavy load to uncover faults

MemTest86+ – Comprehensive RAM tester to identify memory issues

LatencyMon – Check for driver and background app conflicts

DXDiag – Diagnose DirectX related crashing problems

Game Crash Prevention Tips

Here are some bonus troubleshooting tips to help prevent game crashes in the first place:

  • Disable hardware acceleration in apps to reduce GPU load
  • Close unused browser tabs and apps before launching games
  • Maintain adequate airflow and cooling inside cabinet
  • Keep GPU drivers as well as Windows updated
  • Use a surge protector to prevent electrical spikes
  • Dust out your cabinet every few months
  • Monitor CPU and GPU temperatures when gaming

When to Seek Professional Repair Help

If you are unsure about troubleshooting hardware issues or need to replace defective components, seeking professional PC repair assistance can save time and prevent further damage.

Contact a technician when:

  • All software fixes have been attempted without success
  • Faulty hardware component has been identified but you‘re unsure how to replace it safely
  • You do not have time or expertise for extensive troubleshooting
  • The system is randomly powering off or unable to boot into OS

Certified technicians have the skills and tools to accurately diagnose problems and implement solutions.

Summing It Up

I hope this detailed troubleshooting guide gives you a systematic approach to tackle irritating game freezing issues on your PC. Remember to stay calm, follow the step-by-step fixes covered here, and your problems should be solved in no time. With some perseverance, you can get back to enjoying butter-smooth gaming once more!

Let me know in the comments if the steps outlined helped resolve your specific game crash problems. And feel free to reach out if you need any assistance getting your games running flawlessly again. Happy gaming!