Part of the beauty of PC gaming is enjoying the best graphics the industry has to offer. But when you suffer from low framerate, it’s hard to enjoy a game.
Here are ways to fix low FPS issues on Windows and get back to high quality games.
How to Fix Low Frame Rate: The Basics
First, let’s look at a few basic fixes you need to make. In many cases these adjustments will be a huge improvement when you wonder why your FPS is so low.
1. Update Your Drivers
Drivers are special pieces of software that handle the interface between your software and hardware. Normal PC users don’t need to worry about updating them as often, but running outdated drivers can hinder game performance.
Follow our guide to find and replace outdated drivers to make sure everything on your system is up to date. In particular, you should make sure that the chipset and graphics drivers are up to date.
To update your GPU driver, visit Nvidia’s driver page or AMD’s driver page, depending on the graphics card you have. If you play on integrated graphics, run Intel’s driver update tool (note that integrated graphics will severely limit game performance).
Instead of downloading manually, Nvidia and Intel offer software tools that make it easy to download the latest drivers. You can download them from the recommended driver pages above. Besides letting you know when a new update is available, it also gives you access to more boosts and features.
2. Turn Off Unnecessary Background Programs
While playing a game, it’s a good idea to close any other programs you don’t need. This frees up resources your computer can devote to the game.
You can do this quickly by closing anything open in your Taskbar. It’s also worth checking the System Tray on the right side of the Taskbar for background processes.
To dive a little deeper and see how much it’s using resources, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager. To expand, click More details, then on the Processes tab you can see what is using resources. Anything that uses a significant amount of CPU, memory, or your GPU can likely hurt gaming performance. Turn them off before starting the game.
3. Defragment Your HDD
Most gamers have already upgraded to SSD by now. But if you are still using a HDD, you should make sure that the disk is defragmented. If you are using an SSD, you should not defragment it as it can shorten the life of your drive.
To do this, type “defragmentation” in the Start Menu and click the “Defragment Drives” and “Optimize” entry. If it’s been a while since the drive was last defragmented, you should do this.
Windows 10 does this automatically, so you don’t need to defragment it manually. You can adjust the timing if you want.
4.Set Power Options
Power options in Windows allow you to change settings related to energy consumption on your machine. In the default plan, Windows tries to balance power consumption with performance. Sometimes, especially on laptops, this can cause performance degradation in games.
It’s a good idea to switch to the high performance plan. To do this, visit Settings > System > Power and click Additional power settings on the right. This will take you to the Power Options section of the Control Panel. Select Show additional plans if needed, then select High performance.
Note that this will increase the power consumption of your computer. On a desktop this isn’t an issue, aside from maybe a slightly higher energy bill. But keep in mind that laptops will have a negative impact on battery life.
5. Turn off Windows Visual Effects
By default, Windows OS uses lots of fancy visual effects around it. These make menus and other common items look smoother, but use very little resources.
You can disable these effects, as every part of the performance helps. Unless you’re on a low-end PC, you won’t benefit from it, but it’s still worth a try.
To disable visual effects in Windows, type performance into the Start menu and select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows. In the Visual Effects tab of the resulting menu, you will see a list of graphical features that you can enable or disable.
Click the Adjust for Best Performance button and then the OK button to disable all these effects. It will take a minute as Windows disables them. Once complete, the interface doesn’t look slick, but you wouldn’t notice it while playing a game anyway.
6. Disable Game Bar and Background Recording
Windows 10 includes a Game bar feature that lets you record gameplay clips, take screenshots, and even stream your gameplay. Although useful in some situations, it can negatively affect game performance.
If you don’t want to use it for anything in particular, you should disable it to avoid potential performance drops. To prevent Game bar from working, go to Settings > Gaming > Game bar and disable the slider at the top.
Finally, switch to the Game Mode tab and confirm that it is turned on. Microsoft’s vague statement on this matter means that in Game Mode, it “helps achieve a more stable framerate depending on the particular game and system”, which it states “prioritizes your gaming experience.”