How to Fix a Freezing Computer Game
By Andrew Macauley
For years, computer games have been the pinnacle of graphics technology, and many offer a kind of depth and complexity that you simply cannot find on home consoles. However, this complexity also carries over to troubleshooting. When restarting your computer doesn't fix a freezing issue, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the possible things that could be going wrong. Fortunately, there is wide documentation available for how to fix most issues that come up with modern games; you just need a little information to get started.
Gathering the Necessary Information
Click the "Start" button on your desktop. In Windows 7 and Vista, right-click on "Computer" and click "Properties." Click "Device Manager" on the left-hand side.
In Windows XP, click the "Start" button, then "Control Panel," "Performance and Maintenance" and then "System." Then click the "Hardware" tab and click "Device Manager."
Click "Display Adapters" on the list and write down the model number of your video card. Exit out of the window.
Click "Start" again. Right-click on "Computer" or "My Computer" and click "Properties." In Windows XP, click the "General" tab. Write down the amount of RAM your computer has and the type and speed of your processor.
Finding and Resolving the Problem
Locate the appropriate resource for troubleshooting information about the game you are playing. This can be found either in the instruction manual--under tech support--or online if you bought the game through a service such as Steam.
Go to the "Support" section of the manufacturer's website.
Choose the game that you are having problems with from the list available, or do a search for your game.
Check to make sure that there are not known compatibility issues with the graphics card you are using. If there are, go to your video card manufacturer's website, click on the "Support" section, click "Download Drivers" and find your graphics card. Then download and install the drivers.
Check to make sure you have enough RAM and a fast-enough processor to play the game. If you meet the "required hardware specifications" but not the "recommended hardware specifications" for the game, it may be time to upgrade your computer.
- If you know the problem isn't your graphics card because the game used to run well with the same hardware, try shutting down some processes before playing. To do this, first save all of your data and close all open programs. Then right-click on your taskbar, click "Task Manager" and click the "Processes" tab. Click on each individual process that isnt tskmgr.exe, explorer.exe or dwm.exe, and press the "End Process" button until they are all removed. Start your game.
- Viruses can have a huge impact on a computer's performance. Make sure to run virus scans when things get slow (see Resources for a link to a free virus scanner).
Andrew Macauley has been writing professionally since early 2009 as a serial novelist. He is the author of the blog Fallout 101 and has four years of professional experience in the field of computer repairs.