Computer Restarts When Gaming (Here’s How to Fix It)

Computers can suddenly and abruptly restart when playing games. This is a frustrating situation, but there are ways to fix and prevent this.

Some of the multiple reasons include viruses, an underpowered PSU, CPU or GPU overheating, and incompatible graphics cards. However, you can remove these problems with easy-to-do fixes. 

Fortunately, there are easy ways to fix the issue of a computer restarting, even if it is frequent, while gaming.

If you want to enjoy gaming on your PC with no interruptions, keep reading to find out how to stop and prevent a computer from restarting when gaming. 

a gamer at his computer looking upset about computer restarting while he is gaming

Reasons why your computer restarts when gaming

There are numerous reasons why your computer keeps restarting while playing games.

Sometimes it is one reason that causes the rebooting issue, and sometimes it can be multiple things causing the computer to reboot.

These days, computer games are very high quality and high tech, which means they need a lot of graphical and processing power from the computer they are being played on.

As new games released mean higher computer system needs, restarting computers abruptly is a very common problem when playing games. 

It can be highly frustrating and disappointing when you play your favorite computer game, and your computer keeps restarting.

For many games, the progress of the game is not saved due to the abrupt restarting. So naturally, this isn’t very pleasant for any gamer.

Fortunately, you can go through the various reasons for your computer restarting and try to fix them yourself. 

Your best bet would be to go through each possible reason listed below.

Some of the reasons below will seem more plausible for your situation; try solving each of those problems, then you can enjoy playing games without worrying about your computer restarting.

Give this article a thorough read. And, soon enough, you will find what works for you.

The game must be valid and updated

downloading and updating the game with progress bar

When computer issues start due to gaming, we automatically focus on the reasons why the computer is causing the restarting.

However, if your game is a third-party copy or not updated, it could be that the game is causing the problem rather than the computer.

To ensure the game is valid, reinstall the game on your computer or have the latest version of the game installed. Additionally, make sure you have a good copy of the game and not any third-party versions. 

Your computer’s graphics card may be incompatible with the game

graphics card with twin fans

Many PC games require high and strong features from the computer it is being played on. This is especially true if your game provides strong visuals and animations.

In most cases, the computer’s graphic card must be high quality and updated enough to play the game smoothly. 

Outdated graphics cards or missing graphics drivers should be resolved, so your computer does not restart while playing games.

Third-party graphics cards also cause many issues during computer activities such as gaming. Therefore, third-party GPUs, such as NVIDIA or AMD, should be disabled. 

Update your computer’s graphics card driver

device drivers for graphics card

The fastest way to solve this issue is by updating your graphic card drivers. This can be done manually or automatically with downloadable software, such as “Driver Easy”. 

To update the graphics drivers on Windows manually, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Go to the Control Panel. 
  • Step 2: Then go to “Windows Updates”
  • Step 3: Click on “Check for Updates”. 
  • Step 4: Now, look for graphic card drivers; these will appear with manufacturer names present on them, such as “Intel Graphics” or “AMD Graphics”. 
  • Step 5: If each of these has options for updates, then update them accordingly. 

Now that you know how to update your computer’s graphics card driver let’s look at how to disable third-party GPUs.

Disable third-party GPUs

You can disable third-party GPUs in case they interfere with you uninterruptedly playing your computer games to do some testing.

To disable third-party GPUS, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: You will use the Windows key and the R key simultaneously, and the run dialog box should open.
  • Step 2: Then, you will type in devmgmt.msc and hit enter. 
  • Step 3: Then in the device manager box, you will look for Display Adapters and right-click on the graphics cards option. 
  • Step 4: Find the option Disable Device and select that. 
  • Step 5: Once you have disabled the graphic cards options, you can restart your computer.

Your computer may have a virus

a computer virus abstract design in computer code

A virus on your computer may be creating issues when you are gaming. Viruses can cause many annoying problems on a PC, including making the PC restart.

While some viruses are easy to notice, a computer may have more subtle viruses that cause gaming issues.

Perform a clean scan on your computer

You want to ensure that your computer has good antivirus software and is updated to the latest version.

When you are confident with your computer’s antivirus software, perform an in-depth clean scan.

This may take a few hours, but it will let you know if your computer is clean and free of viruses. 

If any viruses or malware are found, follow your antivirus software’s instructions to remove them and restart your computer.

Then you can play your computer game and see if the restarting problem is gone or not. 

The power supply unit may be insufficient 

a computer psu with wattage specs

Your power supply unit (PSU) needs to be sufficient for your computer and gaming needs. If the PSU is lacking, then problems like abrupt restarting are likely to occur when gaming.

Therefore, try to ensure that your PSU is powerful enough to power up your computer’s graphics card. 

Your PSU must be capable of powering your graphics card. Otherwise, it fails, and your computer reboots. In addition, many computer games need more than 500-watt PSU. 

Adjust your computer’s power settings 

First of all, you want to be sure that the PSU itself is not failing. Then, you can test it with a power supply tester to know whether it is working.

On your PC, this is what you need to do to adjust the computer’s power settings:

  • Step 1: You will enter the control panel and then search and click Power Options. Now you will be at a window where you can customize your power plan settings.
  • Step 2: To customize the power settings, click on Change plan settings
  • Step 3: Then click on Change advanced power settings
  • Step 4: In the pop-up, scroll to find Processor power management, and from there, find the Minimum processor state option. 
  • Step 5: In the Minimum processor state, set the value to a low number, such as 0 percent or 5 percent.
  • Step 6: Click OK.

Once you have customized the power settings and saved the changes, you want to restart your computer to take full effect.

Get a new power supply unit

a new power supply for pc to be fitted

If the above solution does not work, you might need a stronger PSU unit. The power requirements your computer can take on will be mentioned in your graphic card’s specs.

If you need a new PSU, try to purchase one that offers more power than your graphic card requires. This will let your games run smoothly.

If your PSU is powerful enough for your graphic card’s requirements but is not working efficiently, it could be that you have a failing PSU.

If you think you have a failing PSU, do NOT attempt to open the PSU. Opening or unplugging a PSU is dangerous.

The PSU stores a charge and should only be handled by experts. However, if you are experienced and comfortable with electronics, you can try to fix a failing PSU with a power supply tester or a digital multimeter.

However, it is highly recommended that PSU be checked and fixed by credible service centers with experienced people. 

Your computer might be overheating

cpu overheating - view from under the cpu

When a computer is overheating, annoying restarting problems become common. The central processor unit (CPU) becomes overworked, requiring high energy and producing high heat

Sometimes gaming alone can cause a computer to overheat. This is due to the fact that playing computer games requires a lot of CPU resources to be used up. 

Your computer shuts itself down automatically to protect itself from further damage from the heat. A CPU that is too hot for too long is dangerous for the overall computer.

This is both physical and an electronic issue, rather than merely an internal electronic issue.

Physical measures to keep your PC cool

installing a new and improved cpu cooler
For desktops

To keep overheating problems at bay, you need to keep your computer cool. To prevent excess heat, you can clean the dust out of your computer.

This can be done with a regular duster, a big dry paintbrush, or even a mini-computer vacuum or blower.

Tip: Avoid placing your computer on the carpet to minimize the amount of dust that gets drawn into it.

After removing the dust, you want to see if all the fans are working properly. The fans should have any dust on them removed too.

They should be spinning automatically whenever your computer is on. 

Also, check that all the cooling fans are set up correctly. Here is my other article to read more about proper airflow optimization.

If you see that your computer is clean and the fans are functioning, but the CPU tends to overheat anyway, then you probably need to replace or reseat your computer’s CPU cooler

If you have cleaned the CPU cooler and replaced the thermal paste and still find that cooling is inadequate, I talk about an excellent premium air CPU cooler for your PC.

For laptops

You can purchase a computer stand, a laptop stand, or a cooling pad to give space between the computer or laptop from the surface it is sitting on. This will help with airflow and prevent heat.

You might want to take it a step further and see if your computer’s processor and heatsink are cool too.

The heatsink is usually the most significant cooling component in the latest computers. The heatsink’s job is to keep the CPU and GPU cool. 

You want the entire computer to be cool, including the heatsink. So, you should clean the laptop’s cooling assembly yearly or get it done by a service professional.

Remember not to continue playing games if the laptop heats up too much

I also discuss how to reduce laptop heat if you would like extra tips.

For desktops and laptops alike, replacing the thermal paste for the CPU and GPU goes a long way to ensure that the cooling components can do their job effectively.

A good thermal paste I recommend with the proper removal agent is ArctiClean and Arctic Silver 5 for long-lasting, high-performance thermal transfer properties.

Software methods to keep your PC cool

hwmonitor cpu temperature read out

If you want to diagnose your CPU and its problems, you can download Core Temp or HWmonitor. These free software programs provide data on your computer’s CPU or GPU.

HWmonitor and Core Temp are easy-to-use software that will read your computer’s thermal data.

They will show you the thermal reading for each core. You can read the CPU thermal reading, run your computer game, and then see if any changes occurred in the CPU thermal reading. 

As you compare the thermal reading of the CPU before and during gaming, you can figure out whether the CPU overheating is the cause of your computer randomly restarting itself.

You should purchase a new CPU cooler if the software shows that your CPU’s thermal reading is higher than it should be. 

This is a big problem if the temperature goes close to or above 194°F (90° Celsius). The ideal CPU temperature ranges from 86°F to 149°F (30°C to 65°C). Do not let your CPU go over 158°F (70°C). 

For keeping your GPU cooler, please read: Why is my GPU so hot? It explains how to do that.

The overclocking setting may be affecting gameplay

overclocking gauge on top of an integrated circuit package to represent overclocking of computer hardware

Usually, the overclocking settings help boost the CPU’s processing power. Unfortunately, although higher processing power helps with game compatibility, it can also lead to instability and overloading.

When this happens, the computer crashes and restarts.

Overclocking plays an important role when playing games on computers. This is because the overclocking setting allows the processor to perform burst computations.

These burst computations will continue until the temperature exceeds the manageable temperature range. 

Therefore, overclocking is not good for the computer in the long run and can lead to computers rebooting when gaming.

Disable the overclocking setting on your computer

If you disable the overclocking setting in your computer’s system, you may prevent your computer from restarting when gaming.

To disable overclocking, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Go into your computer’s BIOS and CMOS settings. 
  • Step 2: Then you want to reverse the voltage settings in the motherboard, back to normal. You can do this manually or simply click the Restore Optimized Defaults option.
  • Step 3: As you do this, check the FSB frequency and set it to its base value. 
  • Step 4: Try to reverse each setting that you changed when you activated the overclocking. You want to entirely disable the overclocking changes you made before. 
  • Step 5: Save the changes, exit the setup, and restart your computer.

Now that you know how to disable overclocking, let’s look at another reason your computer may be restarting when gaming.

uncheck the automatically restart option in system properties' startup and recovery settings

There is an automatic restarting feature on Windows computers. These features can enable the computer to reboot unexpectedly, even if power or heating issues are not present. To combat this problem, you need to change the system settings

How to turn off Windows automatic restart setting

To disable the automatic restart feature, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: First, press the Windows logo key and the Pause key simultaneously. This will take you to the System page on the Control Panel
  • Step 2: Then, you will click on Advanced system settings
  • Step 3: In the Advanced tab, go to Settings under Startup and Recovery. You will see the Automatically restart option under the System Failure heading. 
  • Step 4: You will uncheck the Automatic restart feature. 
  • Step 5: Press OK and restart your computer.

Now that we know how to disable the automatic restart feature, let’s look at your game’s system requirements.

The game’s system requirements don’t match your computer’s system

Each computer game is built to match certain system requirements. Unfortunately, this means if your computer is not up to date or is not new enough for the game’s needs, your computer may often crash while you play the game.

In most cases, newly released games are not compatible with older computers. This is the main reason why a computer’s system is not compatible with a game.

To “solve” this issue, your best bet would be to play your games on a computer that is suitable for the game to run smoothly. 

A system restore may help your computer

system restore button in system properties panel

A system restore is where the computer’s operating system is repaired in a way that reverts the computer settings and files that were saved in the restore point.

This is a lengthy and deep cleaning of the computer, as so much information becomes erased. Therefore, you should only do a system restore as a final solution. 

Seeking out a computer expert for the issue of the computer restarting should be done before trying out the system restore solution.

A system restore will result in all of your installed software being erased from your computer. In addition, the configurations you made on your computer will also be removed. 

Therefore, keep a backup of everything saved or installed on your computer before you do a system restore. A computer system restore is also referred to as reinstalling the computer.

How to do a system restore on Windows

To perform a system restore operation on windows, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open the search box in the Start menu and type in restore. Select the first option from the list.
  • Step 2: Look for the System Protection tab, and then the System Restore option. A set of directions will now show on your screen. These directions will guide you to restore the system. 
  • Step 3: Now, you will press Next and continue to follow further directions. You will probably find multiple systems restore points listed in the instructions. 
  • Step 4: Once you have followed the directions and instructions, you can confirm your computer system restore operation.

If it is your first time doing a computer system restore, it is recommended you have someone with more expertise guide you.

How to do a system restore on MacOS

To perform a system restore on a Macbook with a Mac operating system, you will need to follow these steps: 

  • Step 1: First, go to the Utilities windows in macOS Recover.
  • Step 2: Then click on Reinstall macOS
  • Step 3: You will select Continue and follow the instructions that show up on the screen.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you reinstall your mac computer. If the system restores the process and cannot see your disk or says your disk cannot be installed, you will need to erase your disk first.

If the system restore process asks you whether you want to install Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD – Data, you should choose the former.

Remember that the system restore operation is a lengthy process. Hence you should be patient and do not put your Mac computer to sleep or close its lid if it is a laptop during the reinstallation process. 

The reinstallation process is also confusing as the screen often shows progress bars and goes blank.

The computer will also restart itself during this process. So do not be alarmed. Do not interfere with this process by pressing anything or shutting the computer down. 

If this is your first time performing the system restore process, it is recommended you get an expert to help you or guide you.

If you can, try to get the latest macOS for your reinstallation, which you can buy with the App Store. The most recent macOS is probably compatible with newer computer games. 

Final Thoughts

The problem of a computer restarting while gaming is definitely annoying. It is disheartening to keep starting your game repeatedly, especially when the game progress is not being saved.

Furthermore, you cannot enjoy a good game on your computer if you always anticipate rebooting itself next. 

If you have read the entire article, you are now aware of a list of plausible reasons regarding why your computer restarts randomly when you are gaming.

Multiple things can be to blame for a computer restarting. For this reason, you should go through each of the mentioned causes one by one.