Having your computer shut down in the middle of a heated-up gaming session is undoubtedly one of the worst things that could happen to a gamer.
There are, in fact, multiple reasons for your computer to act this way. It could be a software issue or a severe hardware problem that requires your immediate reaction.
In this guide, we will discuss the possible software and hardware issues behind a computer shutdown and the best ways to prevent this from happening in the future.
Why does your computer shut down while gaming
If your computer tends to shut down as you’re playing games, there could be several factors causing these random shutdowns.
Without further ado, let’s get into the most common reasons why your computer restarts or shuts down on its own.
If your computer shuts down in the middle of a game, the CPU temperature may be too high, causing the computer to overheat.
This could happen if your gaming session has been going on for hours and/or if you’re playing a rather demanding video game that is suddenly causing your computer to crash.
In case of overheating, you will hear rather loud sounds from the computer fans. After some time, the computer will automatically shut down as it has a self-protection mechanism.
This mechanism will help the computer cool down by shutting it down when the CPU temperature gets too high, which can happen during a video game.
Overheating is much more frequent in laptops, as they often don’t have a proper cooling system. However, it is necessary to make sure that your PC is getting adequate airflow, as well.
Power supply issue
Random computer shutdowns could also be caused by a power supply (PSU) issue, basically supplying your computer with the necessary power.
If your Windows PC or laptop tends to shut down randomly as you’re enjoying a video game, there could be a serious problem with the power supply.
A faulty power supply will provide insufficient power for your computer to function, or it won’t provide any power at all (which will usually result in you not being able to boot up the system).
Remember that this is a serious matter, as a faulty PSU could damage your system and hardware components, including the hard drive.
A PSU problem usually manifests through blue screen crashes, noisy computer fans, and spinning fans when the system isn’t even booting up.
Sudden computer shutdowns could also happen due to malware or serious virus infection in the computer system.
When it comes to dangerous malware, remember that it could affect pretty much every aspect and process of the system.
It is possible that you don’t have the latest version of an antivirus program installed or that you’ve missed a few updates and the program wasn’t able to protect the system from the attack.
Just like it is essential to keep your antivirus up to date, it is necessary to update the drivers regularly – otherwise, this issue may cause the computer to shut down in the middle of the game.
The system may also be running on corrupted drivers, especially if you’ve downloaded them from sketchy websites.
Since drivers are there to manage every hardware component and all their processes, keeping them up to date is vital to prevent these random crashes.
The system is in sleep mode
If you’ve enabled sleep mode, your computer may be shutting off frequently, even mid-game. While this is a handy option, if you don’t adjust the settings accordingly, you could experience frequent shutdowns.
In case your laptop shuts down while gaming, it is possible that the laptop battery is dead or malfunctioning. In this case, the computer will suddenly shut down if the battery cannot power it.
This often happens if the laptop isn’t connected to the charger, so you rely only on the battery. If the battery isn’t strong enough, it could run out quickly and shut down the system.
Malfunctioning hardware components will undoubtedly take a toll on the system, and they could even cause it to shut down unexpectedly.
A failing or damaged component, whether it be GPU, CPU, or RAM, will alarm the motherboard and cause it to shut down the entire system, even if you’re in the middle of your gaming session.
How to fix a computer that shuts down while gaming
Once you’ve completed the troubleshooting process and detected the core issue, it is time to find the best solution for this problem and prevent the system from crashing mid-game.
1. Check if the computer is overheating
Since this is one of the leading causes of random shutdowns, you should check if this is the case with your computer before moving on to other methods.
As we’ve mentioned, overheating can seriously damage your hardware, so this is something to be taken seriously.
Ensure that your laptop or PC gets enough airflow and that nothing is blocking the fans. You don’t want to keep the computer on a blanket or a similar surface that could enhance the heating.
Also, many people make the mistake of placing the PC too near a hard surface or an object, limiting the airflow.
You can quickly check the CPU temperature using free tools such as HWMonitor or SolarWinds CPU Load Monitor.
If your laptop is overheating, you can try several methods to decrease the temperature.
For instance, you could change the thermal paste, check the air passageway and remove any blockages, clean the fans thoroughly, and purchase a cooling pad for your laptop.
As for an overheating PC, check the fans and make sure that nothing is blocking them, use a blower to clean the fans and the back side of the PC, increase the fan speed if necessary, and ensure a clean passageway.
2. Check/change the PSU
You can quickly test this theory if you suspect the problem is coming from a faulty PSU. Make sure that the power supply switch is turned on.
Using another power cable to test if the problem may be in a faulty cable is best. You also want to check the internal PC connections, including peripherals and power connectors.
After inspecting them, remove all the peripherals except the GPU and restart your computer. You also want to ensure that the power cable is plugged into the power outlet and that the connection isn’t loose.
3. Scan the system for malware
While your antivirus program will usually notify you of a detected malware the second it enters the system, perhaps this time it wasn’t able to detect it automatically, and you’ll need to do a scan.
If you don’t have an antivirus program or remover software installed on your computer, this is the time to do so, as dangerous malware could affect every single process and file in your system.
You may also need to restart the system into safe mode and erase temporary files if you suspect that malware may be the root cause of sudden crashes.
Before running a scan, make sure to disconnect the internet. Most antivirus programs will allow you to either quarantine or delete the affected files.
However, in some cases, the malware has already done so much damage that installing a new operating system (OS) is the only solution.
4. Update/download the drivers
An outdated driver could easily be why you’re experiencing random shutdowns during your game, which is why keeping all the drivers up to date is crucial.
What’s more, if you need to download a driver or an update, you can use a tool that will automatically perform the installation process, so you don’t have to worry about any mistakes and bugs.
Download Driver Easy which will not only update the drivers but automatically detect the drivers that require an update if you’re unsure which ones are outdated.
Once you install the tool, choose the Scan Now option and let the tool detect any outdated drivers. Once this phase is completed, you can click on the Update button next to the problematic driver, and the device will automatically update it.
If you wish to update all of the outdated drivers, you can choose to Update All (but keep in mind that this option is only available with the pro version of the Driver Easy tool).
5. Change the sleep mode settings
Wrong sleep mode adjustments could be why your game gets interrupted when the computer suddenly shuts down.
You don’t have to disable the sleep mode to end these annoying shutdowns. All you need to do is choose the proper adjustments for this feature.
Launch Settings on your computer, then choose System settings. Click on Power & Sleep, then set sleep to never if you wish to disable the feature.
However, you can change the timeout period if you don’t want to turn off sleep mode completely.
6. Check the battery
Is the battery of your laptop the burning issue? You will only know if you test it. Disconnect the charger, and try to boot up the system without it.
If the system cannot boot up this way or shuts down quickly, you’re dealing with a dead or relatively weak battery that you should replace as soon as possible.
If your laptop is still under warranty, you will be able to get a replacement battery for your laptop.
7. Check the hardware components
A defective hardware component can cause random shutdowns, but that is not the only concern. If you’re dealing with a malfunctioning hardware element, it could affect the entire system and cause serious issues.
This tool will automatically scan the system and indicate any RAM issues. You may also use an eraser tool to clean up the RAM.
A SMART analysis tool is the best method to inspect your hard drive’s Smart status and ensure that the hard drive is not in danger.
Finally, suppose you cannot determine which hardware component is causing the issue. In that case, the best decision you could make is to hire a professional or take your laptop or computer to the nearest repair shop for detailed troubleshooting.