The purpose of this article is to shares how to fix ‘PC Randomly Crashes While Gaming’ issues and discusses where to begin troubleshooting. It can be one of the most discouraging experiences for a gamer. It can be especially frustrating if it keeps happening. There are a lot of reasons it could be happening, from the power supply (PSU) to, processor (CPU), Graphics Card (GPU), memory (RAM), overheating, drivers, BIOS settings, and other random weird issues.
PC Randomly Crashes While Gaming. Where to Begin?
One of the first steps in troubleshooting is understanding where to begin. Before doing anything, you need to ask yourself if there have been any changes recently that could have led to this problem? Adding additional monitors, upgrading a processor, updating a graphics card driver or even a bad Windows patch can introduce a problem. Answering this question first can give you a good lead to follow your troubleshooting journey.
A key rule to troubleshooting is to keep it simple and check the easy stuff first. Rolling something back that has been changed and testing again will either prove a problem or disprove it. After rolling back, if the problem persists you can continue to check other areas. Here are some examples of things that get changed that may lead to random shut-downs and questions you can ask yourself.
Key Questions When PC Randomly Crashes While Gaming
- Do I have the latest drivers for my graphics card, and other major devices? Was there a new driver recently installed? Are the right drivers installed according to the manufacturer’s website?
- Did I add or change my monitors, resolution, or in-game graphics settings?
- Did I recently apply new Windows patches?
- Did I upgrade RAM, CPU, graphics card, hard drive or anything else on the motherboard?
- Did I add any peripherals that would take up more power?
- Am I running a new game that requires more performance than my PC had delivered before in the past?
- Have BIOS Settings been changed? Are you doing any overclocking that would draw more power than your power supply can handle?
Any of these items can lead a PC to randomly shut off. If you’re still not sure, continue reading for specific areas that might be causing your problem.
Checking Issues with the Power Supply (PSU)
The power supply can be one of the more common sources that lead to a PC randomly shutting off. This is especially true if you have made any upgrades without considering the impact on power. Adding additional monitors can also increase the power draw. If there is not enough power for the PC, it will shut off. Oftentimes, gamers will talk about being in an intense gaming situation where a lot is going on and suddenly the PC shuts down.
So how do you test if there is an issue with the power supply? First, you should check the power draw requirements of the components in your PC. There is a nice online tool that will prove helpful. https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator will allow you to input your hardware and then tell you if your power supply is capable of power delivery requirements for your PC. If you find that your power supply is under rated for your PC and you need a new one, read How to Select a Power Supply for Your Custom Gaming PC.
Checking Issues with the BIOS
The reason this section comes after power is due to the fact that BIOS is where hardware profiles are changed. When hardware profiles are changed for overclocking, for example, power draw is impacted. These sections can be tied hand-in-hand. Check to see if your CPU is being overclocked. You can find a good guide on overclocking settings at Beginners Guide to Overclocking Your CPU. This article will walk you through common BIOS setups to identify an overclocked CPU and memory profile.
Checking Issues with Monitors
Having multiple monitors hooked up to you graphics card will absolutely increase the power draw of your graphics card and increase its workload. Think about it, with one monitor at 1080p resolution, your graphics card may be delivering 60 frames per second. When you add an additional monitor at 1080p with 60 frames per second, you just doubled its workload and increased the power draw. Adding a third, you are tripling it. Having a bigger monitor with higher resolutions like 1440p or 4K also adds more work to it.
Another common issue that can occur with adding more monitors is having a bad driver for the graphics card. Always make sure you have the latest stable version of the driver from the manufacturer’s website. You can also try Windows update, but the manufacturer should have the latest and greatest published on their website.
Checking Issues with RAM, CPU, and Graphics Card
If there are any hardware issues, like overutilization or overheating, you can use a tool like OCCT to check the health and performance of your hardware. There are others on the market, but OCCT combines them in one interface and can give a pretty good snapshot of how things are running. If you recently upgraded or changed anything with the RAM, CPU, or graphics card, double check your work. Make sure everything is seated properly and for memory that they are in the correct channels. Bad memory is certainly known to cause a PC to shut down, but more often once it happens, the PC does not turn back on. The motherboard also gives error codes in short beep sounds during startup as well when there is a hardware configuration issue.
Event Viewer – Kernel Power Event ID 41
When your PC randomly shuts off, your first instinct might be to go check Event Viewer. Event Viewer can be a powerful tool that provides error codes, which can be looked up on a search engine and provide clues as to why your PC may have shut down. Most undoubtedly, you will find Kernel Power Event ID 41 listed in Event Viewer after a random shut down. But, don’t get your hopes up. This just means that your PC shut down with out going through the Windows Shut Down process.
Do look for alerts and warnings in Event Viewer, but be cautioned that it can take a trained eye and a lot of research before anything is revealed. That’s why trying the easy things first can eliminate a lot of wasted time.
Set Default GPU for Apps
It is an unlikely issue, but game developers need to let Windows know that their game must run on the dedicated graphics card in the PC. If a game tries to use integrated graphics, it could lead to the PC crashing. It could also lead to stutter, lag, low FPS and performance issues.
By telling Windows to exclusively use the dedicated graphics card, you may fix the problem with your PC crashing. This was the case with a new Elden Ring patch that released. Developers released a new patch to Elden Ring which caused crashing. Redditor Derpogama solved their issue by setting the graphics preference to high performance for Elden Ring.
In order to do this, navigate to System > Display > Graphics. From there, find the game that is crashing. Instead of letting Windows decide, change the preference to High performance with your GPU being selected as illustrated in the picture below.