How to fix lag in your favorite game: a comprehensive guide for Windows computers

Updated: March 09, 2023
6 min read
How to fix lag in your favorite game: a comprehensive guide for Windows computers
by Christine Tomas
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

You are intensely fighting dragons, or maybe you are trying to score a goal. You are already savoring the victory and imagining yourself on a podium ... But then the game freezes, your opponent overtakes you, and you want to break the monitor out of frustration.

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Each player sooner or later encounters lags in the game. How to fix lag on PC? And how to fix lag on PC games?

Lag is the "slowness" of displaying your action, an extended server response. For example, you hit the enemy with a sword, and the server processed this action only after a couple of seconds, and it was too late.

Let's take a look at the cause of lags and how to fix latency issues on PC.

The leading causes of lags

Since lag is the delay between your game action and the server's response, you must look for the reasons for what affects this speed. That’s what you should do:

  • Check your Internet speed. First on this list are your Internet speed and latency metrics. If the rate is low and the latency indicators are high, there will be more lags. Internet speed can be affected by your ISP, router, indoor coverage in which you play, and even the weather. Therefore, a high-quality router and a reliable provider can help eliminate lags.
  • Measure the frame rate with third-party software. The following common problem is graphics lag. You'll notice lag if your screen isn't getting enough frames per second. It happens because your system does not have time to create new structures for the character to move smoothly. If you find a way to fix it, you can think you’ve found the answer to the question: “How to make a PC less laggy?”

If you suspect this is the case for you, use software that will help you measure the frame rate. It can be FRAPS or equivalents. If the frame rate is below 30 per second, you have found the cause of the lag. How to fix this we will analyze further.

  • View game settings. Checked the first two points but did not find the cause of the lagging computer? Then pay attention to the game settings. Some image parameters (shadow, anti-aliasing) affect the bit rate in your game. Changing them can significantly improve performance.
  • Pay attention to your software and drivers. Insufficient software resources and outdated drivers (especially video cards) can be the leading causes of computer lagging for no reason. Therefore, this is also worth paying attention to.
  • Check your PC memory. And the final but also fundamental reason for lags is insufficient memory. This reason is the easiest to fix. We will give you instructions in the following paragraphs.

So, how to make your computer less laggy?

How to fix computer lag: step-by-step instructions

So, you have seen that there can be many reasons for PC lagging. So, what to do to get rid of them?

Check your Internet speed

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The first logical step in case of game problems or computer lag is to check your Internet speed. It must be at least 20 Mbps. If your family members or roommates decide to watch a movie or download some large files while you are playing, your Internet speed may be slower.

Check your Internet speed

Watching movies and downloading large files make your Internet transfer a large amount of data, and the bandwidth for such simultaneous operations may not be enough.

If you notice such a problem while searching for the answer to the question “Why is my computer lagging?” tell your family to wait with the movie until you finish the game or change the provider or your Internet plan to one that will offer you a faster Internet speed.

Also, try disconnecting the maximum number of devices from the WiFi network. The more devices are connected – the slower the Internet speed is. So put them on airplane mode or disable WiFi on them.

Clear cache

The cache is your computer's short-term memory. It is also responsible for choosing the least loaded connection channel. Try clearing the cache on your computer and restart it. Perhaps this will increase the data transfer rate, and the PC lagging for no reason will disappear.

Clear cache

Reduce data latency and boost the signal

Data transfer latency is the transfer rate from the moment you make an action until the server receives the information. The more the data flow has to make stops along the way, the greater the delay.

To reduce it, you can move closer to your router; if this does not help, change the provider or your Internet plan to one with a faster Internet connection.

What's more, walls and objects can interfere with your WiFi signal. Therefore, if you move closer to the router, you will increase the signal, and the number of lags will probably decrease. If your movement did not affect the game's speed, try other solutions. For example, place the router at a different angle or move away from objects that may interfere with the signal. Remember, the signal strength is also affected by household appliances - a microwave oven, wireless speakers and headphones, and mobile phones. So a laggy PC is not always the main reason.

Close unnecessary programs and applications on your computer

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Maybe YouTube or another app is running in the background while you're playing. Or you were looking for something in the buzz before the game and forgot to close it. It can also lead to slowdowns. Therefore, close all background applications if you notice lags but want to enjoy the game.

To check what is currently running in the background on your Windows device, click Ctrl+Shift+Esc. It will help with the system lagging.

Close unnecessary programs and applications on the computer

If these steps don't help and you keep asking yourself, “Why does my computer lag so much?” try more severe methods to deal with it.

Use an Ethernet cable to connect to your router

The next solution is to increase your connection speed with a cable.Connect the computer to the router with an Ethernet cable and check if there are computer lags with such a connection.

Choose a game on a local server

The closer the server is to you, the better the signal will be. Therefore, look for a server in your country for your favorite game and try connecting to it.

Check your router

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The Internet speed may drop if you use the router for a long time and do not restart it. Try turning your router off and on and check whether your game on PC is laggy or not.

If rebooting doesn't help, try connecting to a different router. Replacing the router with a gaming one often helps solve the lag problem. In addition, because gaming routers have the necessary options to improve the game's quality, they can increase the Internet speed and reduce delay.

Keep in mind that even if your Internet plan offers up to 1000Mb/s, your router might not support transferring data at such speeds. So, investing in a new router is also an option.

Check your router

Install broadband Internet

Do you still have the question: “Why does my PC lag’? Broadband Internet is what you need if you like to play games. It gives you enough speed for your game and helps you avoid lag. However, if your ISP doesn't provide accessibility options for players, consider changing your ISP.

Change your graphics settings

Suppose you have installed the FRAPS application and see a low frame rate. In that case, you need to optimize the graphics because the system displays some graphic elements more slowly — for example, smoothing and darkening when moving. This action will help to resolve the problem of computer lags.

You can easily change your game graphics settings. Most likely, the picture's appearance will deteriorate, but the movements in the game will become faster and more accurate.

  • If you change the settings, the game will become "blocky," and the image will seem to be made up of small cubes. But all processes will go faster.
  • If you disable anti-aliasing and ray tracing, the game will also look pixelated. But performance will increase exponentially. If you still need anti-aliasing, choose the FXAA mode. It has the most negligible impact on performance. The same goes for shadows. If the score is high, your image may be slow — lower this option and check.
  • Texture quality changes also affect how your game works. It is especially noticeable if the game is new and the computer is old. Lower the texture quality in the settings and check if it helps to fix lag in the PC games.

Optimize game settings

Some games have two alternative versions: 32 and 64-bit processors. Sometimes different versions of the game are also optimized for certain video cards. If your game is lagging, try running a different version and see how it works.

Update your graphics card drivers

Video card drivers allow your video card to work and play games. However, if they are outdated, all images, including the game ones, will not be displayed correctly. So you need to check the driver requirements when a new game comes out. If necessary, update your video card drivers. Maybe this will help you stop asking the frustrating question, “Why does my computer keep lagging?”

Updating drivers is easy. Find the website of the manufacturer of your video card (the manufacturer is indicated on the box to your computer), go to the Drivers section, and download the latest version.

If you want to update Drivers via Windows instruments, use these instructions:

  • Press Win+R.
  • Enter devmgmt.msc and press OK.
Enter devmgmt.msc
  • Select Display adapters, click the right button on the mouse, and select Properties.
  • Click Update Driver….
Click Update Driver
  • Click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen.

Select another video card

Some computers and laptops have more than one graphics card. If this is your option, go to the Start menu - Settings - System Settings - Display - Video Card and select a better-performance graphics card.

When you select a different graphics card, these settings will automatically apply to all applications and games on your computer and helps to fix PC lag.

Replace the video card

If you've done all you can and your graphics card is still performing poorly, it might be time to consider replacing it because it is responsible for the quality of the display of games and their work.

Note that it is dangerous to change the video card on your own – because if you make a mistake, your device may not turn on. So instead, take your laptop or computer to the nearest service center where masters will professionally replace your video card. And it is one of the most popular options on how to stop lag on your PC.

Replace the video card

Install mods

Some games are not optimized for modern devices. Therefore, when you run them on a computer, they slow down. If you are experiencing this, then you need to find the gaming forums. Most often, some unofficial mods and add-ons improve performance and help restore the smoothness of the game. How to reduce lag on PC? Try this method.

Look for advice on the game forum

All gamers and developers love forums. There they share their achievements, write about problems and help each other find solutions. You can also try searching for treads titled: “My computer is lagging.”

If you've downloaded a game and notice lag, finding that game's forum is a good idea. Most likely, other players have also encountered a similar problem and have already shared a solution on the forum. In addition, there you can find some valuable ideas about the game itself.

Look for advice on the game forum

Clean your computer from viruses

Sometimes lags are caused by viruses and malware that got into your computer. So if you have faced the question, “Why is my computer lagging so bad?” and haven't checked your computer or laptop for a long time, run your antivirus and check. Removing malware often solves the problem quickly and helps make your computer less laggy for games.

Enable QoS mode

Some routers have a special QoS (quality of service) mode. It guarantees that traffic to games and videos is a priority. Therefore, if some programs run along with your game, they will run slower. But the game should work without problems. So if you have such a router, enable this special mode to improve performance and fix lag in any PC game.

How to enable QoS mode?

  • Connect a computer to the router and launch a web browser.
  • Find the Settings of your router on the computer.
  • Click Advanced, then Setup, and then QoS setup.
  • Click Setup QoS rule and Add Priority Rule.
Enable QoS mode

Try connecting via VPN

Another way to make your computer less laggy for games is to use some VPN software. It’s a non-standard but sometimes effective step. For example, your game server is located in America, and you are in Germany now. Of course, you can’t move to the neighboring continent to play. So turn on VPN with America location, and you will reduce ping. That is, the server will have to make fewer switches, as a result of which the game will run faster.

Try connecting via VPN

But sometimes, this step is ineffective because your ISP must redirect the traffic more often. If this method hasn’t helped you to find out how to make the PC not lag, proceed to the next step.

Use an optimizer

Some programs, like CCleaner or similar, increase the speed of your processor. Such tools block minor programs and defragment the folders with the game. Install this software and check your computer regularly. Then the speed of your computer will be consistently high. This simple step will help to fix lag on the PC.

Use an optimizer

Update your software

Sometimes updating the RAM and processor helps fix lag in PC games. For example, modern games require 4-8 GB of RAM. To find updates for your computer, go to the manufacturer's website, go to the Updates section and download the latest drivers.

Update your software

Use licensed copies

Some unscrupulous sellers and players create pirated copies of games that not only display poorly but can also harm your computer. Beware of such fakes. They can contain malware and viruses. Especially a lot of pirated copies are created for well-known popular games. Therefore, before installing, check who specifically released your copy and whether you can install it on the computer. And you will never need to fix lagging games on PC.

Fix hard drive corruption

If the hard drive is damaged, then everything will work slowly. Not only will games slow down, but the whole computer won’t work correctly. Therefore, such a problem you, most likely, will notice quickly. In addition, logical errors may occur during operation.

If you are not sure if the hard drive is damaged or not, perform a simple check. For this:

  • Open a command prompt on your computer;
  • Enter chkdsk x: /c into it, where c is the drive which you want to check for errors;
  • If you find errors or damage, contact a specialist to help you fix them.

You can also use CCleaner or equivalent to check hard drive corruption.

Fix hard drive corruption

Remove programs you rarely use and update the system

We have hundreds of unused applications we once installed on our PCs but never launched, temporary files, and other garbage. They steal memory and performance, leading to lags on a computer. You can quickly eliminate them and help your computer run faster.

To find unused programs:

  1. Go to the Task Manager and check what is currently running.
  2. Then go to Add or Remove Programs and remove all unnecessary programs from your computer.

Temporary files created while using the Internet are stored in the Temp Windows folder. You can also easily remove them.

And of course, don't forget to update your system. It will help make the PC not lag. Check for Windows updates regularly to ensure that all programs and games work correctly.

To do this: Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update , and then select Check for updates.

Check your sound card

The sound card does not affect the display of your game much but can sometimes lead to lag. Therefore, you should regularly install updates on it. To do this, go to the website of your sound card manufacturer, find the Drivers tab and update them. It will help to make a PC less laggy.

If you want to update sound drivers via Windows instruments, follow these steps:

  • In the Windows search bar, type Windows Update and select the best search results.
  • Click Check for Updates to download and install the latest updates.
  • If you are using an updated version of Windows, click View optional updates.
  • Double click Driver updates and look if an update for the sound driver is available.
Check your sound card
  • Download and install it.
  • Restart the PC to apply changes.

Cool down your processor

During operation, the processor generates heat. Sometimes it overheats, and its performance drops. As a result, you see errors and lagging games on PC. So you need to cool down the processor to eliminate the gap. To do this, check that the processor fan is not blocked by anything, open a window to ventilate the room, or turn on the air conditioner. Then turn off the processor and wait a few minutes. When the room temperature drops, the processor will also cool down.

If this method does not help, it may be time for you to replace the thermal paste or use a more powerful fan. Contact a specialist in a service center so as not to damage your computer.

Dust can also cause overheating. So clean the fan area in your processor or laptop. It may stop overheating and help to make the computer lag less.

Change your power settings

How to fix lag in all PC games? This method works well for laptops. They have several power modes that help conserve charge. First, find the power settings on your device in the menu and set them so that the device's performance is at its maximum.

To do this: go to Power Options in the control panel and set the value to Best performance.

Change your power settings

Refresh your PC

Another very effective way to fix lag is to refresh your PC. It means reinstalling your Windows without affecting your files and settings. Click here to learn more.


Why do I fall behind in every game I play?

One reason for the delay is other programs running in the background. These programs can consume system resources and make it difficult for your game to run smoothly. Google Chrome, for example, consumes 2-3 GB of RAM, so try closing it if you experience lags.

Why does my game slow down when I have good internet?

Some online games can put a lot of load on your network, which can result in slower response times. It is also possible that the game servers are overloaded due to the large number of players.

Does internet speed affect FPS?

If you are playing an online game then a weak internet connection can lead to a drop in FPS. However, if you are playing an offline game, then the Internet connection does not affect the FPS. Only if you don't download anything in parallel with the game.

Conclusion: How to fix computer lag when playing games and make PC less laggy

As you can see, there are many reasons for lags and even more ways to make games not lag on your PC. If you want to enjoy the game without braking and lag, you should try the above methods. Most often, the problem is solved in the first few steps. If our recommendations haven’t helped you to fix lag on the PC, perhaps you should replace your computer or laptop with a more powerful one. Or choose another similar game that will bring pleasure but not anger and frustration.

If you need help setting up your hardware or finding answers to why the game freezes, you can always turn to the Howly experts. Please share this article with friends who also like to play, and let them know how to make a PC less laggy.

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