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Troubleshoot performance and stability issues in PC games
Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements for the game. PC games use a lot more “horsepower” than your average application and are particularly demanding on your video and sound hardware. Whenever you purchase or troubleshoot a PC game, first make sure your computer can meet its needs. Every game has different requirements.
For boxed PC games, the system requirements are usually printed on the bottom or side of the package.
For Games for Windows – LIVE and other PC games purchased through Xbox.com, check the Overview section of the game’s description.
For games sold through the Windows Store, check the Details section of the game’s description.
Turn down your graphics and sound settings
While most games will run on a broad range of computers, many require high-end graphics and audio hardware to play well at their highest resolutions and settings. Scaling down your graphics and audio settings may allow the game to run smoother and be more stable on your PC.
Every game is different, but these are a few common settings to consider:
Full Screen Anti-Aliasing (FSAA) – Turning this off or lowering it from the highest settings can make a big difference, at the cost of some jagged edges in the graphics.
Resolution – The higher the resolution the harder your graphics processing unit (GPU) has to work. Lowering the resolution can have a big impact with fairly little loss in graphic quality.
Shadows – Simple shadows are easier to draw. Shadows turned off is easiest of all.
Texture/Detail – Lower detail textures aren’t as crisp but will make the game easier for your system to manage.
Surround Sound – Disabling surround sound eases the strain on your sound hardware.
Download and install the latest drivers for your graphics and audio hardware
PC games are reliant on your graphics and audio hardware. That hardware relies on software called drivers to run. Drivers are updated frequently, so even if your hardware is brand new, you’ll want to check for updates. There are a few ways to get updates:
Run Windows Update to download the latest Microsoft certified drivers for your computer – your easiest and most reliable option.
Check with your computer or hardware manufacturer for the latest drivers – the best option for laptops and small form-factor PCs.
Download a reference driver for your hardware – the best option for power users and custom PCs.