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Why Do My Games Keep Freezing and How to Finally Fix It

As gamers, we‘ve all experienced the frustration of games randomly freezing and crashing on us. One moment you‘re dominating in your favorite game and the next your screen freezes and the app crashes. Very annoying!

The most common culprits for game crashes and lockups are overheating, outdated drivers, malware, hardware failure, software issues, network problems, and incorrectly configured game settings. By focusing on these main causes, you can troubleshoot and fix even the trickiest game freezing issues.

Why Does Game Freezing Happen?

Game crashes and lockups while gaming on a PC or laptop usually come down to a few key factors:

Overheating – Excessive heat buildup causes the GPU or CPU to throttle performance to cool down, resulting in lag, freezing, and crashes. This is especially common in gaming laptops.

Outdated Drivers – Your graphics card relies on drivers to function properly. Outdated or corrupt drivers cause incompatibility issues leading to freezing.

Malware – Malicious programs running quietly in the background eat up your RAM, CPU cycles and network bandwidth needed for smooth gaming.

Hardware Failure– Faulty components like a failing GPU, bad RAM or deteriorating hard drive can cause a range of performance issues and crashes.

Software Bugs – Glitches with games themselves or the Windows OS can sometimes interrupt and freeze gameplay.

Network Issues – Unstable internet connectivity and lag spikes disrupt the data packets games rely on.

Incorrect Settings – Graphics settings that are too taxing on your hardware can cause freezes and crashes.

So in summary, the most common culprits are overheating, driver problems, malware, hardware faults, software bugs, network issues and sub-optimal game settings. Let‘s look at how to fix each of these potential causes of game freezing issues.

Stopping Annoying Game Crashes by Preventing Overheating

Overheating is one of the big causes of game crashes, according to experts. Excessive heat buildup forces your CPU and GPU to throttle down performance to protect the hardware, which can cause lag, freezing, shutdowns and crashes.

Gaming laptops in particular are prone to overheating since their compact size allows less ventilation and airflow. One survey found overheating related crashes in 27% of laptop gamers.

Some common signs of overheating include random shutdowns, obvious lag while gaming, and abnormally high component temperatures. According to experts, ideal gaming temps should be 65-85Β°C for GPUs under load, and under 95Β°C for CPUs.

Here are effective tips to prevent overheating and resolve heat-related crashes:

  • Clean out dust – Buildup of dust on heatsinks and fans reduces cooling efficiency. Carefully use compressed air to clean out vents.
  • Improve airflow – Make sure your gaming PC/laptop has open space around it for ventilation. Don‘t block vents.
  • Adjust in-game settings – Lowering graphics settings reduces GPU load. Cap FPS to monitor‘s max refresh rate.
  • Limit intensive programs – Don‘t run other demanding apps like video editing software while gaming.
  • Use a cooling pad – They can significantly reduce laptop temperatures under load.
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As you can see, the most effective steps are dust cleaning, lowering in-game settings, and using a cooling pad. Monitoring temperatures and limiting other intensive programs while gaming also helps prevent overheating.

Update Your Drivers to Prevent Freezing During Games

According to statistics, around 18% of game crashes can be traced back to outdated or corrupt drivers. Your graphics card relies on drivers to properly communicate with the operating system and games.

Outdated drivers cause compatibility issues and conflicts that can interrupt and freeze gameplay. That‘s why it‘s essential to keep your drivers fully updated, especially for key components like:

  • Graphics Card – Always keep GPU drivers from AMD, Nvidia, or Intel updated. Check their sites or use GPU control panel.
  • Motherboard – Chipset and motherboard drivers enable hardware communication. Update via manufacturer utility.
  • Storage – SSD drivers impact game load times and performance. Update using Samsung Magician, etc.

If a particular driver version causes crashing or conflicts, safely roll back to a previous stable driver that doesn‘t have issues using Windows Device Manager.

Overall, staying on top of driver updates is one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid game crashes related to hardware and software compatibility issues.

Eliminate Malware Disrupting Your Games

Malware like viruses, spyware, and cryptojackers running quietly in the background eat up valuable RAM, processor cycles and network bandwidth needed for smooth gaming.

Studies show background malware disrupts gaming performance in over 20% of infected PCs. Sneaky programs like cryptojackers use spare CPU power to mine cryptocurrency without you even knowing.

Here are helpful tips to detect and remove pesky malware:

  • Run antivirus scans – Use programs like Windows Defender or Malwarebytes to scan for and remove malware.
  • Check running processes – Task Manager allows you to view and end shady background processes.
  • Update Windows – Security updates patch vulnerabilities used by malware to infect systems.
  • Limit downloads – Carefully vet and scan anything downloaded from the web to avoid malware infection.
  • Use an ad blocker – Browser adware is a common source of unwanted background programs on PCs.

Catching and getting rid of malware, adware and other problematic programs prevents them from interfering with your system‘s performance and stability for gaming.

Replace Failing Hardware Components

As components like your graphics card, RAM and hard drives age and deteriorate, the likelihood of them causing crashes and freezes increases. Warning signs of failing hardware include:

  • Random shutdowns and reboots while gaming
  • Visual artifacts, distortions on screen
  • Unusually slow game load times
  • Corrupted game files and save data

Testing hardware helps isolate problems:

  • Stress test the GPU – Programs like FurMark puts heavy graphical load to test GPU stability.
  • Check temps – High component temps indicate cooling issues or overheating parts.
  • Test RAM – MemTest86 checks RAM integrity by running intensive tests.
  • Monitor SMART status – Tools like CrystalDiskInfo check mechanical hard drives for issues via SMART data.

If you can isolate a faulty component like the GPU or RAM sticks, replacing it with new hardware typically resolves stability issues if that was the cause of crashes.

Optimize Your Network for Lag-Free Gaming

Network issues can also interrupt and freeze games when playing online. Games require very low latency and high bandwidth to function properly.

Stats show over 30% of gamers experience lag-related performance issues. Problems like insufficient internet speeds, WiFi interference, and congested networks can all cause lag spikes and freezes.

Optimizing your network setup improves stability:

  • Use wired Ethernet – Always use wired internet on gaming PCs for most consistent, high-speed connectivity.
  • Close bandwidth hogging apps – Streaming, downloads, video calls can saturate your connection. Close them when gaming.
  • Check for interference – Microwaves, cordless phones interfere with WiFi signals. Keep the router in an open area.
  • Contact your ISP – If internet speeds are consistently slow, contact your provider about plans with higher bandwidth.
  • Test speeds – Use Fast.com and Speedtest.net to check your available bandwidth and latency.

Having sufficient network bandwidth and low latency ensures the best online gaming experience with minimal lag and interruptions.

Configure Optimal Game Settings to Prevent Freezing

Finally, incorrectly configured game settings that are too demanding on your hardware can also cause freezing, crashing, and other issues.

Some common settings tweaks to improve performance and stability:

  • Lower resolutions – Dropping from 4K to 1440p or 1080p significantly reduces GPU load if you are capped at native res.
  • Turn down settings – Effects like shadows, draw distance, particles eat GPU resources. Lower or disable.
  • Cap framerates – Limit FPS to your monitor‘s maximum refresh rate to reduce stress.
  • Disable overlays – Turn off resource hogging overlays like Discord, Nvidia GeForce Experience.
  • Refer to optimal settings guides – Sites like PCGameBenchmark have optimized settings for stability and FPS on given hardware.

Here are examples of optimized settings for popular competitive games:

Game Resolution Graphics FPS Cap
Fortnite 1080p Low 120 FPS
Apex Legends 1440p Medium 144 FPS

Adjusting settings prevents your hardware from being overloaded and crashing games.

Fix Game Freezing for Good

To quickly summarize, the most common causes of games randomly freezing, crashing and performance issues are:

  • Overheating
  • Outdated drivers
  • Malware
  • Failing hardware
  • Network connectivity problems
  • Sub-optimal game settings

By methodically troubleshooting each of these areas using the detailed tips in this guide, you can resolve even the trickiest game crashing issues.

The key steps are preventing overheating, updating drivers, removing malware, replacing faulty hardware, optimizing network setup, and configuring game settings.

Following this comprehensive guide will have you gaming smoothly and stutter-free in no time. We all want to spend time playing games, not troubleshooting them. Hopefully these fixes help you resolve any game freezing issues for good.

Now get back to dominating your favorite games without annoying crashes disrupting your fun!