Fix: GPU crashes when playing games on Windows 10/11

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
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  • Unexpected errors such as your computer crashing while playing games can ruin your entire experience.
  • If your games keep crashing on Windows 10, it is recommended that you ensure the latest drivers are used.
  • Make sure you downloaded all the game prerequisites to stop the PC crashes while gaming.
  • Keeping an eye on your computer's temperature while running demanding applications can be done easily by using specialized software.

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Windows 10 is a very gamer-friendly operating system, and users enjoy the fact that they can easily play using either the keyboard and mouse combo, but also with gamepads.

Sometimes things may not be as smooth as they should be, as there’s a chance that you could encounter some problems while playing games on Windows 10.

Some gamers recently reported that their GPU crashes when playing games. And since this is a serious and very annoying issue, we’ll discuss all the troubleshooting steps you can try out.

In some cases, users have reported that their monitor crashes when playing games, which is also caused by the same base issue – the GPU can’t take the requirements of the game itself.

In other situations, users encountered the same issue, having their PC crash when playing games without the system overheating, which might point towards a more in-depth issue with the driver or GPU connectivity. This same principle applies if the computer crashes after a few minutes in the game.

Why do my games keep crashing on Windows 10/11?

Having your games crash is one of the worst feelings you can have as a gamer, especially if you have been waiting for the release of a game title for a long time.

To be more specific, some users have reported their PC crashing while playing Overwatch and others complain about PC crashes while playing League of Legends.

It is worth noting that these types of errors occur no matter what kind of system you’re using, with a large number of users mentioning that their PC freezes while gaming on AMD platforms.

In other situations, it seems that the problem appears as a game crash after a driver update is performed, or simply

As you might expect, there are some main causes for these problems:

  • Using outdated GPU drivers
  • Installed the wrong GPU drivers
  • Outdated Windows version
  • Not having the latest DirectX app installed
  • PC overheating
  • GPU not powerful enough

Other possible situations in which you might find yourself in are caused by installing new hardware on your PC.

Some users have experienced games crashing after installing new RAM, which can be caused either because the new hardware is not being properly recognized by the motherboard, or if the RAM connectors are not properly cleaned before the installation process starts.

The same principle also applies if you’ve recently installed a new GPU, and as you might expect, if the new hardware is not properly connected or recognized by the motherboard, your gaming experience will suffer considerably.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons for which your GPU might be having issues while playing games on a Windows PC, and while most of them will be covered in this guide, if your GPU is not powerful enough to run the game, then there are only a couple of options available for you.

You can either invest in a powerful eGPU or connect it externally to your system, thus improving your PC’s GPU processing capabilities considerably.

If you haven’t already and don’t mind spending some time setting up your new GPU, you could also invest in an internal GPU that is powerful enough, and go through the process of installing it on your motherboard.

The exact method for fixing game crashes in Windows 10 and 11 will depend on your specific situation, but some general solutions could prove helpful.

Useful tips to improve your system’s gaming performance

Make sure your Internet connection is stable – All about today’s games is Internet speed. Even if you have the best rig in the neighborhood, make sure you have a great Internet plan and connection.

Match the game’s system requirements – Every game has minimum system requirements but just barely meeting them sometimes doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, you need to invest in a proper gaming rig that will ensure no problems whatsoever.

Switch to Performance mode – If you’re gaming on a laptop, always switch the Power Management settings to High performance to spare no resources for your gaming endeavor.

Adjust the game settings – Everybody wants to play with all the features tuned to maximum, but sometimes you have to be a little modest and cut down the quality from the graphics settings of the game to speed it up.

Invest in an SSD – All the resources of the game are on your hard drive and an SSD is faster. Investing in an SSD will come as a great solution to speed up your game.

We also have to mention the compatibility problems with the games themselves. Some older games (10+ years old) are simply incompatible with Windows 10, therefore there’s nothing you can do to play them on your PC.

How can I fix game crashes on Windows 10 and 11?

1. Install the latest drivers

  1. Press Win Key + X and choose Device Manager.
  2. Scroll through the list and toggle the Display Adaptors option.
  3. Right-click the entry or entries found in the list and choose Update Driver (Our system has two GPUs).
  4. Choose either Search automatically for drivers (if you don’t have the driver downloaded), or Browse my computer for drivers (if you do).

Windows 10 had problems with drivers compatibility since day one, and those problems are not resolved yet. So, there’s a chance your current graphics card driver isn’t compatible with Windows 10.

To make the process even simpler and not worry about this element in the future, you could also use a specialized driver updater software like DriverFix.

2. Install the necessary software

Most of today’s games require some additional software to work properly and the best example is DirectX.

So, make sure you install all the required software and then try to play the game again.

If you’re not sure which programs you need to install in order to play your desired game, try to search for the information by exploring the game developer’s website or reading the game’s documentation.

Some games will not install if you don’t also have these specific programs. Most often than not, they will ask you to install them during the setup process.

If you happen to have such games installed but not the software, try reinstalling the game.

3. Make sure the PC doesn’t overheat

Overheating is one of the most common instigators of sudden crashes on PCs. Especially if you’re running something which is power-intensive as modern games certainly are.

Your PC is automatically programmed to shut down in case the CPU or GPU temperature hits the critical levels. That way, it protects itself from major hardware failures.

These situations are quite common after extended exposure to the heat. So, what you’ll need to do is to check the cooling system, clean all fans, remove all dust and debris, and use a PC temperature monitoring tool.

Also, applying the thermal paste to the CPU is a must. It’ll reduce the overheating substantially. Moreover, you should also add some additional coolers if there’s free space to do it.

Just make sure that your power supply isn’t overwhelmed. If you need some software to follow the temperature changes, you can download SpeedFan and check the readings or even control the rotation of the main fans.

4. Disable background programs

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar and open Task Manager.
  2. Select the Startup tab.
  3. Disable all unimportant and resource-heavy applications.
  4. Restart your PC and look for changes.

Even though the game is probably taking the most of your system resources, additional background programs can hog on your RAM or CPU, which can also result in sudden shutdowns or crashes.

Furthermore, you can also try using RAM optimizer software to ensure that all elements are checked and ready for gaming.

5. Disable the onboard sound device

  1. Press Win Key + X, and open the Device Manager.
  2. Navigate to Sound, video, and Game controllers.
  3. Expand this section, right-click on the onboard sound device and Disable it.
  4. Close Device Manager and restart your PC.

The generic sound driver provided by Windows 10 Update for onboard sound devices occasionally collides with other devices, especially the one from the GPU.

That might lead to GPU failure, which will eventually cause it to crash and stop you from enjoying your games.

6. Scan for malware

  1. Click on the search button in your taskbar, type Defender, and open Windows Security.
  2. Choose Virus & threat protection.
  3. Select Quick scan.
  4. If you want a more thorough scan, select Scan options instead.
  5. Then, select Windows Defender Offline scan.
  6. Click Scan now.

There are only a few chances that malware would cause critical issues on your system, but because of the number of people doing crypto-mining lately, a wide range of crypto-related malware has been released.

For that purpose, we advise you to perform a thorough scan with either Windows Defender or any third-party antivirus you have at your disposal.

7.  Check your Hardware

Maybe the problem isn’t related to the system at all, maybe it’s on your hardware. While we were looking for proper solutions for the game crashing problem in Windows 10, we saw one user had a problem with the GPU.

Namely, the power supply was not strong enough for his graphics card, and that caused him a lot of problems.

So, keep in mind to check if your computer is assembled right, and if you find out that something’s wrong, just change your current components with the proper ones.

The special emphasis goes to RAM and HDD. Sometimes, the HDD gets corrupted, or the RAM memory stick gets broken.

So, make sure everything works fine in order to exclude the hardware as the possible reason for the crashes while gaming.

We have a dedicated list with the best HDD health check tools that you can use to diagnose your HDD and keep it in good shape.

How to prevent game crashes in the future

Uninstall unwanted and unused apps

Bloatware is the biggest enemy when it comes to the performance of your PC and low performance leads to game crashes.

Therefore, try to uninstall as many programs as you don’t need or use. You will be surprised by how many of those you will find in the list of apps installed on your computer.

To do this, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press Win Key + X and choose Apps and features.
  2. Scroll down the list of installed application and identify the ones that you don’t need.
  3. Select the applications which you want to remove and click the Uninstall button.
  4. Repeat these steps for uninstalling all the apps you don’t need anymore.

Close as many unnecessary processes

Before starting your game, try to close as many apps and processes as you can by using the simple functions in Task Manager.

To do so with ease, follow these simple steps:

  1. Right-click your taskbar and choose Task Manager.
  2. Click View and choose Group by type.
  3. Inside the Proceeses tab, click the application you want to close.
  4. Click End Task to close it.
  5. Repeat these steps for all unnecessary processes, without closing any system applications.

Clean your disk

It’s always recommended to clean your drive from junk files, especially before running a game.

Follow these steps to do perform this action efficiently:

  1. Click on the search button in the taskbar.
  2. Type Cleanup and choose the Disk Cleanup option from the results.
  3. Tick the boxes to choose which files you want to delete and press OK to initiate the process.

After performing this step, your PC will be in an optimal state to run games without any issues.

Set your antivirus to game mode

A lot of antiviruses nowadays have a built-in Game mode that is specially created to ensure that the software doesn’t start crunching your drive for viruses during your game and eliminate other distractions.

It’s usually very easy to activate from the main menu of the antivirus and it’s worth switching that feature on for your peace of mind.

Even though the specific steps will depend on the antivirus software you’re using, here’s how you can do it in Eset Smart Security:

  1. Right-click the antivirus icon found next to your Windows clock, and click the Open ESET Smart Security option.
  2. Choose Setup from the software’s menu.
  3. Click Computer protection.
  4. Toggle the Gamer mode option.

If your antivirus software is not capable of this feature, and you want to ensure that your system is always protected from any unwanted intrusions, we recommend that you try out the powerful ESET Smart Security.

As you can see, it’s not very hard to cover all the possible causes of having your gaming session interrupted by system crashes.

If you follow the steps described in this guide carefully, you will surely be one step closer to solving this issue, and also avoiding encountering it at a future date.

The best way to avoid encountering this issue is to make sure that your PC is running optimally, that no unnecessary applications are running in the background, and that your antivirus software is not causing issues.

Game crashes can also be avoided by using one of the game booster software options, which is capable of optimizing your computer’s resources and making the most out of them.

We hope this article helped you solve the problems with games crashing on your Windows 10 PC

If you have any comments or questions, simply use the comment section found below this guide.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The most common reasons for a computer crashing when playing games are the lack of new game updates from the official website and outdated graphics card drivers.

    To fix this issue right away, check out this guide on how to update drivers.

  • Running the game client in admin mode, double-checking that the game is installed correctly, and using this guide to fix games crashing are all recommended.

  • It’s unlikely for that to happen unless you install a dodgy driver. We’ve comprised a detailed list with all the issues that will cause your PC to crash.

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