Computer Restarts When Gaming Fixes

If your PC keeps restarting while gaming, it can be alarming the first time it happens. This is a frustrating situation, but there are ways to fix and prevent this.

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

These days, games are of very high quality and high tech, which means they need a lot of graphical and processing power.

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

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

The progress of many games 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. 

A guy is frustrated with his PC that has restarted while he was gaming.

Steps To Fix Computer Restarts When Gaming

1. The game must be valid and updated

When computer issues start due to gaming, we automatically focus on why it 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 install the latest version. Also, ensure you have a good copy of the game and not any third-party versions. 

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

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 graphics card must be high quality and updated enough to play the game smoothly. 

Outdated graphics cards or missing graphics drivers should be resolved, so it doesn’t restart while playing games.

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

Update your computer’s graphics card driver

Updating your graphic card drivers is one of the fastest fixes for PC restarts when playing games. This can be done manually or automatically with downloadable software like 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 disabling 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 and R key simultaneously, and the run dialog box should open.
  • Step 2: Then, you will type in devmgmt.msc and hit enter. 
  • Step 3: In the device manager box, look for Display Adapters and right-click 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.

3. Your computer may have a virus

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

While some viruses are easy to notice, you may encounter more subtle viruses that cause gaming issues.

Perform a clean scan on your computer

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

When confident with your 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 virus-free. 

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

Then you can play your game and see if the restarting problem is gone. 

4. The power supply unit may be insufficient 

Your power supply unit (PSU) must be sufficient for your computer and gaming needs. If the PSU is lacking, problems like PC random restarts will likely occur when gaming.

Therefore, ensure 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 games need more than 500-watt PSU. 

After a few years, you may end up with a bad PSU. It all depends on the quality of it as to how long it will last. Some good quality supplies come with a ten-year warranty or better. So you may want to investigate the lifespan of your power supply.

Adjust your computer’s power settings 

First, you want to ensure the PSU 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, 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 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 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

If the above solution does not work, you might need a stronger PSU unit. Your graphic card’s specs will mention the power requirements your machine can take on.

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, you could 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. 

5. Your computer might be overheating

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 because playing 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 it.

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

Physical measures to keep your PC cool

For desktops

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

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 work 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 your computer is clean and the fans are functioning, but the CPU tends to overheat anyway, you probably need to replace or reseat your CPU cooler

For laptops

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

You might want to take it 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.

Software methods to keep your PC cool

CPUID HWMonitor temperature read out.

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.

6. The overclocking setting may be affecting the gameplay

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 rebooting when gaming.

7. Disable the overclocking setting on your computer

If you disable the overclocking setting in your system, you may prevent your computer from restarting when gaming by just doing that.

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 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 reversing each setting you changed when you activated the overclocking. You want to disable the overclocking changes you made before entirely. 
  • Step 5: Save the changes, exit the setup, and restart your computer.

Now that you know how to disable overclocking, let’s look further.

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 it to reboot unexpectedly, even if power or heating issues are absent. 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: Go to Settings under Startup and Recovery in the Advanced tab. 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 can disable the automatic restart feature, let’s review your game’s system requirements.

9. The game’s requirements don’t match your system

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

In most cases, newly released games are not compatible with older computers. This is why a system is incompatible 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. 

10. A System Restore may help

System Restore button in system properties panel.

A system restore is where the computer’s operating system is repaired to revert the settings and files saved in the restore point.

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

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

Important: Keep a backup of everything important saved or installed on your computer before proceeding.

How to do a System Restore

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: Following the directions and instructions, you can confirm your System Restore operation.

If it is your first time performing a System Restore, you should have someone with more expertise guide you or watch some examples online to familiarize yourself with the process.

How to do a Recover 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 on the screen.

Here are some things to remember 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 Recover process asks 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 don’t put your Mac computer to sleep or close its lid if it is a laptop during reinstallation. 

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. Please do not interfere with this process by pressing or shutting it down. 

Suppose 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 games.