Uninterrupted Gaming Troubleshooting Common Gaming Issues

Nothing charms the senses of a gamer more than an intense and satisfying gaming session. Whether you end up winning or losing is another thing - what matters is how effectively your gaming software and hardware work together to immerse you into a virtual world where you escape the mundane and play your favourite characters, if only for a few hours. When this magical spell is torn down with an unexpected lag or a software crash, the entire experience is instantly ruined.

We’ve developed this comprehensive guide to help you understand common gaming issues, what causes them, and how to troubleshoot them to achieve the best gaming performance. We’ll also talk about the important system components like CPU, GPU, RAM, and cooling systems and how they can work together synergistically to ensure a power-packed gaming session.

Some common gaming issues and what causes them

Let’s take a moment to see all commonly encountered gaming issues and their typical causes. This will familiarise you with some ubiquitous challenges gamers frequently encounter.

Lag: When you notice a significant delay between your actions and the game’s expected responses, this will make the game appear sluggish and slow. Lag is frequently caused by a slow and unstable internet connection resulting in reduced data transmission between your device and the game server. The server itself might also be unresponsive due to overloading, or in rare cases, due to a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. Another possible reason is if you have several background apps running on your system, all competing for the available limited computing resources.

Frame rate drops: If you’ve ever noticed seemingly “missing” frames or images when playing your games, you’ve encountered a frame drop. Visuals can appear to stutter or freeze momentarily when this happens, affecting your game session. Often, your GPU is to blame, as it might not be fully compatible with a high-end game, such as one with high frame rate requirements. Try navigating through your game’s settings and lowering the graphics performance settings if they’re set to the highest levels, should you be playing on an older system.

Overheating: This happens when your game uses a lot of computing resources on your system, making it overheat. If left uncontrolled, the temperatures can rise to unsafe levels and damage your computer’s internal components. More commonly though, your PC’s thermal management routines will automatically trigger a shutdown before high temperatures are reached. Overheating is usually caused when your computer is not properly ventilated or if the cooling fans are not working properly.

Connectivity problems: One of the most commonly encountered problems is when your system experiences connectivity issues trying to reach the remote game server. If you’re connected over a WiFi connection, the connection itself might be unstable at times or your router might not be properly configured. Your connection might also be experiencing interference from other wireless equipment emitting their own signals.

Software crashes: We’ve all had the occasional software crash when using our computers. When it comes to gaming though, the results can be disastrous as you can end up losing the entire session’s progress. Software crashes can have various underlying causes including incompatibility of your game software with the hardware, corrupted game files crashing the session, or unexpected interactions with other software on your computer.

Audio issues: Though often overlooked, a significant component of any gameplay is the audio experience. Any visually stunning game can be instantly ruined if the audio is suddenly dropped or sounds distorted. The culprit is usually a hardware or software problem including incorrectly configured sound settings on your game or operating system or missing drivers. Faulty speakers or damaged audio cables cannot be ruled out too.

Graphics-related glitches: If you’re noticing strange artefacts, distortions, or patterns on the screen from time to time, the system graphics card might not be working as it should. GPUs can overheat, there might be issues with the graphics drivers, or the game itself might have an unpatched bug. Another related issue is screen tearing, which happens when two frames are simultaneously displayed, resulting in an unsettling jarring effect.

Input lags: This is different from the game responsiveness we’ve discussed above. Input lag happens when there’s a measurable, significant delay between when you press a key and when it’s actually registered in the game. Input lag is often the result of an unstable wireless connection to your mouse or keyboard (think Bluetooth going awry) or a heavily overloaded system that’s running too many programs.

Game freezes: If your game freezes all of a sudden, becoming unresponsive, the only way out is to restart the game. The frustrating issue is often the result of insufficient system memory (RAM). Game files can also be corrupted or your system might be running too many apps all at once, overloading the available computing resources like CPU, GPU, and RAM.

Controller connectivity issues: If you find that your game controller connects and disconnects off and on, there might be a problem with the controller connection. The controller battery might be running low or you might be using incompatible drivers with your controller.

Problems saving game progress: If you’re unable to save your current game progress, the reason is often insufficient file access permissions for your game software. Your storage drive might also be full already or in rare cases, the game session files might be corrupted themselves.

How to troubleshoot common gaming issues?

Now that we’ve discussed the frequently encountered gaming issues, let’s talk about the steps to easily troubleshoot them. Troubleshooting gaming issues can be a challenging task indeed as each problem can have multiple underlying causes. Therefore, we’ll talk about getting a few things right up front as this will make most problems disappear altogether. Closing unnecessary background apps, for example, can fix lags, software crashes, input lags, and video-audio sync problems. 

Best of all, the steps below will elevate your gaming performance, eliminating issues you didn’t even realise existed. 

Check your internet connection: This is one of the first steps you should perform when you encounter any issues with online games. Check the speed of the connection and if you’re on WiFi, check the router settings and make sure you’re on the right frequency for dual-band connections. Consider moving closer to the router for faster speeds. Better still, use a wired internet connection. This will correct common lag and connectivity issues.

Close unused background apps: When you’re playing a game, close all apps and software running on the system if you’re not using them in parallel. Reducing the system load as much as possible is a great way to prevent game freezes, lags, and software crashes. This will ensure your game software gets all CPU and GPU attention it can in order to run smoothly without competing with other applications.

Use dual storage configurations: SSDs (solid-state drivers) are faster making them a better choice for storing games that need exceptionally low latency levels. However, they’re also pricier than HDDs (hard disk drivers). Gaming PCs like the OMEN 25L Gaming Desktop GT15-1107in feature a dual storage configuration with both an HDD and an SSD, the best of both worlds, as the HDD offers greater capacity and the SSD offers lightning-fast access speeds. You can store less demanding games like strategy games and first-person shooters on your HDD and the more computationally demanding ones on the SSD.

HP OMEN DesktopsHP OMEN Desktops

Update the graphics drivers: Make sure you update your graphics drivers from time to time. This will patch common bugs that can result in graphical artefacts and dropped frames. If you’re already using the latest driver versions, consider uninstalling and reinstalling them to see if that solves the problem. If you’re using an HP laptop or desktop PC, download the latest drivers from the HP website.

Monitor CPU and GPU usage and temperatures: A great way to keep overheating issues away is to monitor the live CPU and GPU stats including their usage scores and temperatures. If you’re using an HP OMEN machine, the OMEN Gaming Hub is a great place to keep track of all system vitals in one place.

Lower in-game settings: When encountering problems with lags or graphics, check the in-game settings to see if they’re too demanding for your current hardware setup. If so, lower them and see if that improves performance. If you’re experiencing frame drops, adjust the game’s graphics settings to match those of your monitor and GPU.

Adjust V-Sync: If you’re experiencing input lag, examine the V-Sync settings. V-Sync helps improve graphics performance. Try toggling them on/off and see if that improves performance.

Get more RAM: One of the simplest and most effective ways to bolster system performance and speed is to add more RAM. This is one of the single most important components that will dramatically improve multitasking and gaming performance. If you experience frequent crashes and lags, consider upgrading your RAM.

Replace controller batteries: If your controller battery is low, you might be running into controller disconnection issues. Recharge or replace the controller battery. You can also try connecting the controller to your computer via a different USB port to see if this solves the problem. Avoid the use of USB hubs.

Check file permissions: Make sure your game app or software has the essential read and write permissions to access your storage drives. One of the main causes of failures with saving game progress is incorrectly configured file system permissions. Make sure you backup important files before making any important changes to avoid data loss.

Examine audio settings: For problems with the game audio, examine the system audio settings and check all audio cables to ensure the speakers/headphones are properly connected. If you experience a lag between visuals and the corresponding audio, switch to a wired connection for your speakers or headphones. Don’t forget to look at the in-game audio settings too.

Use wired connections over wireless: If you experience constant lags, use a wired keyboard, mouse, and headphone/speaker instead of connecting them over wireless interfaces. Wired connections are often more reliable and stable and the risk of interference is dramatically reduced.

Ensure sufficient cooling: It’s normal for your gaming setup to get warm during intense game sessions. Ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area and use a cooling pad for your laptop if you notice that it gets too hot.

Upgrade your computing hardware: Gaming is particularly unforgiving when it comes to CPU and GPU specs. You need cutting-edge hardware (think a higher number of CPU cores and a dedicated graphics card with large RAM) for the highest frame rates and resolutions. The HP OMEN 40L Gaming Desktop GT21-1109in, for example, features a high-end 13th Generation Intel® Core i7 processor and 32GB DDR5-5200 MHz RAM, which tremendously elevate game performance. The desktop also features an NVIDIA® GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card with dedicated 16GB GDDR6X memory, making it a gaming monster for uncompromising performance.

HP OMEN 40L DesktopsHP OMEN 40L Desktops

Maintenance tips for optimal gaming performance

Clean your gaming setup: Dust is the number one enemy of electronics, so keep the interiors and exteriors of your HP gaming PC clean. Use a soft and dry cloth to gently clean the PC after disconnecting all power. Remember to clean the cooling vents and fans. Use compressed air to remove particles sticking to the surfaces.

Optimise settings: Adjust the in-game graphics settings and your OS graphics and display settings to ensure they match and support the game you’re playing. Change the power options to high-performance settings and remove any unnecessary startup programs that automatically kick in when you start your computer as they can slow things down.

Regularly update software: Keep your operating system and drivers up-to-date. You should also regularly update your GPU drivers and software as well as all your game and controller software.

Cooling system management: Ensure that you leave sufficient space around your gaming PC for air to flow and cool your computer down. If your computer overheats, invest in additional cooling solutions.

Keep your workspace clutter-free: Keep all cables organised and regularly inspect them to spot broken cables and damages. 

Use HP tools: Utilise the HP Support Assistant to automatically find and troubleshoot common problems with drivers, updates, peripherals, and file systems.

Manage file storage system: If your system uses an HDD, defragment it regularly to improve performance. Remember, SSDs don’t need defragmentation.

When should you seek professional help?

While keeping your equipment updated, regularly maintained, and following the troubleshooting tips above will resolve most issues, in the event that you find yourself running into recurring problems like overheating, software crashes, or unexplained lags, or if you suspect hardware failure (such as if the cooling fans won’t spin), consult HP Support for assistance. 

You can reach out on the HP Support website or connect via live chat, email or phone and submit your issue. You can also browse the knowledge base for assistance.

From glitches to glory: keep gaming issues at bay

If you’re running into lags, game crashes, or connectivity issues, try restarting your internet connection. Close unnecessary background apps to ensure your game gets all due attention from your CPU! Most importantly, regularly update all software and ensure your gaming setup is properly ventilated. 

HP gaming equipment and gaming accessories are specially optimised from the inside out for a truly best-in-class gaming experience, squeezing every ounce of performance you can get to power your gameplay.

We hope you’ve found the information we’ve presented in this article useful! While we’ve tried to be as comprehensive and detailed as possible in presenting solutions to common problems for a smoother gaming experience, you might have amazing troubleshooting tips of your own. Please comment on this post or share your tips with us on social media so we can all learn, grow, and enjoy the excitement of uninterrupted gameplay. Game On!

About the Author: Vidhu Jain is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. A Fortune 500 experienced brand storyteller, she’s a voracious reader who loves travelling and exploring the world.