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How To Fix My Computer From Crashing When Playing Games

Updated on August 25, 2014

Anyone who has ever been playing games on a computer may encounter a strange phenomena. The desktop or laptop will randomly crash or reboot for no apparent reason. This happens most often when playing 3D games or other games that really stretch your computer's abilities. Examples of these would be the Quake or Doom game series and other similar types of games.

While there may also be other reasons, the cause is often due to overheating. If this is the case as it often is, you may be able to resolve your computer problems by yourself. So before you run off to someone to fix your computer, make sure that you've tried to solve the problem by yourself. You may not need to get someone else, who will have to be paid for their services.


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How to recognize the problem with computer overheating

Here are the symptoms that you should be looking for:

  • Your computer boots up without any problems and works perfectly okay
  • There are no problems when doing regular work such as word processing, internet browsing etc.
  • When you start playing games, it starts up okay and you can play for a while
  • Suddenly, in the middle of the game, the computer crashes and reboots without any warning

If you experience this behavior or something similar, you may be having problems with overheating.


What causes overheating in a computer

There are many reasons why a computer will overheat. In fact, as long as your computer is old enough, it's actually inevitable. Here are some of the causes:

  • Most computer rely on fans to cool off. These fans have a limited lifespan and will eventually die and need to be replaced
  • Local atmosphere changes in temperature and humidity can increase the heat within your computer
  • Insufficient or blocked airflow to and from your computer means the computer cannot properly remove heat
  • Dust buildup within the computer and on components can trap heat and reduce its ability to cool off

Some or all of these factors can combine to create a situation where heat gradually builds up until the computer can no longer tolerate the stress of the heat.


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Why does overheating cause a computer to crash

Most electronics and thus computes can only operate safely within certain parameters. As long as the computer stays within those parameters, such as temperature, the computer should function as designed. But if it gets too hot or too cold, they cannot operate as intended and will fail. Crashing and rebooting are symptoms that something is wrong and needs to be fixed as soon as possible.


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Why does my computer crash only when playing games

The reason why it happens with games, is because 3D games tend to stretch the resources of a computer much more than other tasks such as word processing or internet browsing. Usually, your computer will only run at a fraction of its actual capacity. But with 3D games, your computer and especially its central processing unit or CPU may be running at close to 100 percent.

When your computer is running at maximum capacity, it generates a lot more heat than is usually the case. The result is that the computer can no longer cope with the stress and crashes. Once you stop playing games, the computer resorts back to normal levels, which it can tolerate.

Note that it isn't just games that causes similar computer crashes. Some software applications that are computationally intensive, such as Computer Aided Design software, can also experience similar behavior with overheating. However, games are a lot more common with most people than these applications. That is why this phenomena is usually associated with games.


How to fix computer problems related to overheating

The good news with computer problems related to overheating is that they can be resolved by yourself and without spending any or too much money. Here is what you need to do:

  1. First, open the computer case and increase the air flow. This is just a preliminary solution until a more permanent solution can be found.
  2. Make sure that air can flow freely. Air exhausts of desktops and especially laptops should be kept unblocked.
  3. If you have an air conditioned room, move your computer into that room if it isn't there already. Lower the thermostat if possible to help cool your computer.
  4. Check if your computer fans are still working. If they aren't spinning, you will have to replace them with new ones.
  5. Remove all the dust that has accumulated within your computer and on all its components. Compressed air works best if you have any.
  6. Make a habit of regularly opening your computer to see if everything is still in working order. Get rid of dust regularly to prevent future computer problems.


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