Why is my gaming PC lagging? Your gaming PC could be lagging due to a number of reasons.
Common ones are outdated drivers, faulty hardware, applications running in the background, a virus, and overheating.
These can all lead to lag spikes.
For a detailed explanation of the exact fixes you need to implement to solve the stuttering issue, check out the contents below.
We’ll be covering exactly why your PC games are lagging all of a sudden and how to fix it.
A common fix to lagging games is simply updating your drivers.
Now you don’t have to open each driver one-by-one and check for updates. Instead, you can do it in bulk.
We would recommend using the iobit driver updater.
It’s free, takes a few seconds to install, and will easily find the drivers that need updating.
However, when installing this piece of software, just make sure you’re not downloading any unnecessary programs that may come with it.
It checks for updates and you can then update everything at once. After you’re done, you can just uninstall the program.
Rollback the graphics drivers
Sometimes it can be an update that causes the lagging to occur.
So if your graphics drivers were already updated before reading this guide, it’s worth rolling back the update.
If you’ve got an Nvidia GPU, you can use their site to downgrade your drivers.
And if you’ve got an AMD graphics card, you can also use their site to downgrade your driver to an older version.
It’s super easy to do.
Just look for your graphics card model and you’ll be able to choose which driver you’d like to download.
The dates will be shown to you when the drivers were released so you know how old they are.
Make sure the graphics card is running at the right clock speed
Sometimes your graphics card won’t run at 100%.
This is a common issue for games lagging. Let’s say your graphics card is an Nvidia GTX 560.
The clock speed for that is a core clock of 810 MH and memory clock at 1001 MHz.
However, if the graphics card’s core clock is lower than this, it’s not performing as it should.
To check your clock speed, first of all make sure to check the clock speed using the Manufacturer’s website.
Then run an application called GPU-Z, this will show you the clock speed.
If it’s not at the right clock speed, try playing your games without any background applications opened.
Also, go to your control panel, into the power settings and make sure the power mode is set to performance.
Unique graphics setting is killing your frame rate
Sometimes, games include unique graphics settings that don’t add much to the game but kill your performance.
The Witcher 3 is a perfect example of this.
In the Witcher 3 game, there’s a graphics setting called hair fx and this makes the character’s hair look better… I guess.
This took a giant chunk out of the frame rate.
So make sure to Google the game you’re playing to see if it has any graphic killing option.
You could also turn things off and on in the settings to see if that makes a difference.
Kill other running programs
A lot of the time, PC gaming frustrations come from programs running in the background.
To see the tasks running in the background, simply open ‘task manager’.
You can do this by right-clicking the bar at the bottom of your screen and click ‘task manager’.
Now you can see all the tasks running in the background. See which ones are using the most amount of RAM and CPU and kill them if you can.
You can take this a step further by going to the startup tab and prevent any non-vital programs from running in the first place.
This has personally saved me a lot of RAM and CPU performance, ultimately giving me a boost in games.
Stop background updates
Even when you get rid of some background tasks, they come back with a vengeance via an update.
This can cause your ping to go through the roof and cause a bunch of stuttering.
So it’s worth going through your applications and disabling automatic updates or scheduling them if you can.
Now, this can be incredibly frustrating and time consuming. So instead, make sure to delete any applications you don’t need.
Simply type in ‘uninstall’ into your Windows search bar and you should see the uninstall program show up.
Once you’re in, you can see all the applications you have installed on your PC.
Make sure not to delete any vital programs from Intel, Nvidia or AMD.
Any program that’s related to your PC parts, you probably should not delete.
If you don’t know what an application does, you should probably Google it just to be safe.
After that, you can go ahead and delete any unnecessary programs.
This will help kill any programs that update automatically in the background or programs that end up minimizing your game. Which is incredibly frustrating.
Improve the airflow
Overheating components can force them to suffer and perform poorly.
That’s why we’d recommend dusting down your components, more specifically the fans.
If you don’t have a compressed air can and still want to increase the airflow, simply wipe it down with a cloth.
It’s pretty straight forward, simply get inside your PC and start wiping it down.
When cleaning the fans, make sure to hold them down and then clean.
If you try to clean your fans whilst they’re spinning, this could damage them and makes it harder to clean.
If you want to take it a step further, you can clean the thermal paste from your CPU and even GPU if you’re feeling up to it.
Make sure to replace the thermal paste with a new one.
There are different ways of adding thermal paste, we’d recommend adding a pea size drop and spreading it a little.
This way, you’ve made sure the entire process will be cooled.
Having a clean computer not only makes it look better but perform better.
Could be a virus
There could be a virus that’s infected your gaming PC. So make sure to get an antivirus to detect and get rid of it.
Which antivirus should I get?
We’re not sure, there are just so many to choose from and they typically don’t get the job done.
If you don’t want to get an antivirus, follow the next steps that could fix your lagging PC.
CClean the PC
CCleaner is one of those classic pieces of software that you use when your PC is running slow.
Because it gets rid of a lot of bloat on your machine. It deletes a bunch of things that you absolutely don’t need.
You can also use it to uninstall software and clean your registry.
After you’re done with it, uninstall it as it seems to do those annoying background updates and start when booting up your PC.
Hard drive defrag
What is a hard drive defrag?
You see, Windows has a habit of installing an application all over your computer. This is because it makes accessing your files faster.
Defragmenting hard drive speeds it up by moving pieces of files closer to each other.
How do I defrag my PC?
We like to install a program called Smart Defrag by iobit. It’s a free application and makes the process super easy to do.
When you’re defragging your computer, make sure applications such as your browser are closed.
And not to use your PC whilst it’s defragging.
We’ve found that users have reported defragging their hard drive fixed their lagging issue.
Your entire PC might be a mess, there’s no easy way to implement the changes we’ve talked about.
Or if you did implement the changes, it’s worth reinstalling Windows.
Just make sure to backup your necessary files on a USB or cloud storage like Google drive.
You can easily download Windows for free and install it via a USB stick.
You can download Windows 7, 8, or 10 for free legally via Microsoft’s website here.
It’s super easy to do and this should fix your lagging issues fully.
If the above has not worked for you, you know it’s not a software issue but a hardware issue.
A component in your PC has failed or not working as it should.
Typically, it’s a faulty stick of RAM. So make sure to replace the RAM to see if that works.
If the ram is not the issue, it’s worth taking a look at the graphics card or processor.
If you do not believe any of the components are faulty, then it’s probably time for an upgrade.
Replace a part of your PC like your GPU for a better one.
Or it might even be worth upgrading the entire PC if you’ve got an old rig.
So those were the reasons why your gaming PC is lagging on solutions to fixing the problem.
PC gamers are stupid, here’s why
Is PC gaming really better? Our HONEST opinion
Are gaming laptops all hype?
Easy tips and tricks to become a better PC gamer
Should I make the switch to gaming on PC?
Our opinion on whether or not gaming is worth your energy
BRILLIANT reasons why you should carry on gaming for the rest of your life
Build a PC that will last