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PC Shuts Down While Gaming? How to Fix

PC Shuts Down While Gaming

Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of an intense game, only to have it interrupted because your computer shuts down.

Worse still is when it continually happens.

All you want to do is play your favorite games, but you can’t, because your PC randomly turns off.

In this guide, we’ve presented a number of reasons why your PC might be shutting down while you’re playing games and have offered a variety of solutions to try and fix the problem.

Malware or Virus

One potential reason why your PC might be shutting down while you’re gaming is because there is malware or a virus on your PC.

While the reasons for random shut downs listed below might be more common, they require more extensive fixes. So, we feel the first thing you should do if your PC keeps shutting down while you’re gaming, is to ensure your system isn’t affected by malware or a virus.

Windows Defender comes preinstalled on most newer systems and, for the most part, does an adequate job of preventing viruses and malware.

However, if you have Windows Defender turned off, or if you have an older system, you’re going to want to scan your system and remove any viruses or malware that may have gotten onto your computer.

To check and see if Windows Defender is on:

  • Type ‘windows security’ into the Windows search bar and hit enter.
  • On the left-hand menu, click ‘Virus & threat protection.’
  • Click on ‘Manage settings.’
  • Ensure ‘Real-time protection’ is toggled On.

If Real-time protection was turned off, be sure to toggle it back on and then run a quick-scan to get rid of anything that could be harming your PC.

Here’s how to do so:

  • Type ‘windows security’ into the Windows search bar and hit enter.
  • On the left-hand menu, click ‘Virus & threat protection.’
  • Click on ‘Quick scan.’
  • Wait for the scan to complete.
  • Address any issues that the scan finds.

Power Supply Issue

One of the most common reasons why your PC might be shutting down while you’re gaming is because you either have a faulty/failing power supply, or you have a power supply that isn’t rated to handle your system.

To see if you have a faulty PSU, you can try and run OCCT’s PSU test.

Inadequate PSU

Another reason why your PC might be shutting down is that your PSU may not be strong enough to power the components in your system.

Games can be very demanding on your PC. Certain games require a powerful CPU/GPU combination to run properly. And, a powerful CPU/GPU combination requires an adeqaute power supply in order for them to run properly.

So, if you have a high-end GPU in your PC, but a low-quality power supply, your PSU might be failing to deliver the right amount of power to your GPU in high-demand scenarios.

To determine whether or not your PSU is adequate for your system, you’ll need to first determine how much wattage your system needs. We like to use eXtreme Outer Vision’s PSU calculator to determine how much power our systems will need.

Plug your components into the calculator and see how many watts your system requires and also what +12V rating your PSU should have. Is your PSU rated to deliver that much power? If not, you need to get one that is.

It’s important to note that you may have a PSU that says it will meet the wattage rating that the calculator says you need, but it does not meet the +12V rating. The +12V rating is more important, as cheap PSU manufacturers will bend the truth on their wattage rating.

So, make sure your PSU meets both of those requirements.

Also Read: 5 Things to Know Before Buying A PSU

Solution: Get A New PSU

If your power supply is faulty or if it isn’t able to supply enough power to your PC to play the games you want to play, your best option is to get a new PSU.

If you’re desperate, you can try lowering your in-game graphics settings to reduce the load your power supply has to support. But the best long-term solution would be to upgrade your power supply to a quality unit that can adequately accommodate the components in your system.

Also Read: The Best Power Supplies for Your Gaming PC

CPU/GPU Overheating

All modern CPUs have functionality built into them that will shut your system down if they reach a certain temperature.

So, another common cause that can cause a PC to shut down in the middle of a game, is that your CPU is overheating.

How to Check if You CPU or GPU are Overheating

The first thing you’ll want to do to check and see if your CPU or GPU are overheating is to download a temperature monitor tool. HWinfo is a straightforward option that will give you the information you need, but there are a number of other options that will work as well.

Get A Temp Monitor: Best CPU Temperature Monitor Tools for Windows

Before you start monitoring your hardware’s temperature while you’re gaming, you need to have an idea of what an acceptable temperature is for your CPU to operate at. This will vary from CPU to CPU and GPU to GPU.

We highly recommend that you read through this guide on safe CPU temps and this guide on safe GPU temps, so that you have a good understanding of what temperature your CPU and GPU should be operating at.

But, for a general idea of what temperature your CPU and GPU should be operating at, consider the following:

  • If your CPU is hitting temperatures in the upper 90-degree Celsius range, your CPU is getting too hot
  • If your NIVIDA GPU is hitting temperatures over ~90-degrees Celsius, or your AMD GPU is hitting temperatures over ~100-degree Celsisus, your GPU is getting too hot

Why Your CPU/GPU is Overheating & How to Fix It

There are a number of reasons why your CPU or GPU might be overheating.

Here are the most common reasons:

  • There’s too much dust inside your PC
  • Your CPU cooler isn’t properly installed
  • The thermal paste isn’t applied properly (or need to be reapplied)
  • Your CPU cooler isn’t adequate
  • Your fan configuration is wrong or inadequate
  • You’re trying to run games that your PC can’t handle

So, to potentially fix your problem, you can try these solutions:

Graphics Driver Issue

Sometimes graphics drivers can cause problems with your system that will cause it to shut down in the middle of a game.

This could be old graphics drivers that aren’t working well anymore with specific games, especially if those specific games just had a recent update.

New graphics drivers can also cause problems as well. The updated drivers are supposed to help, but in some cases, the changes made end up causing conflicts with specific games where there were none before.

How to Fix Graphics Driver Issues

If you haven’t updated your graphics drivers for some time, you should update them and see if that fixes your problem.

Update your drivers using the following:

Also Read: How to Update NVIDIA Drivers

However, if you’ve recently updated your graphics drivers, it may be those new drivers that are causing the problem.

In this case, it would be a good idea to revert to an older driver to see if that fixes your problem.

Here’s how:

  • Uninstall your current graphics drivers. (Guide for NVIDIA / Guide for AMD)
  • Install the second most recent graphics drivers. (Here if you have an NVIDIA GPU and here if you have an AMD GPU.)

Loose Hardware Connections

While less common, loose hardware connections could be the culprit behind random shut downs—especially in newer PC builds. (In fact, not properly seating all connections is one of the most common PC building mistakes.)

So, before you go out and get a new power supply, it’s a good idea to power off and unplug your PC, open it up, and disconnect and re-connect all of the connections, including:

  • Your 24-pin power connector
  • Unseating and reseating your memory
  • Your CPU power connector
  • Unseating and reseating your graphics card
  • Your GPU power connector (PCIe connector)

BIOS Needs an Update

If you’ve exhausted all other options, in rare cases, updating your BIOS could fix random crashes.

Read out comprehensive guide on updating your BIOS to ensure you go through the process correctly.

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building PCs and writing about building PCs for a long time. Through, I've helped thousands of people learn how to build their own computers. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.

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