How to fix low gaming FPS on Windows

Part of the beauty of PC games lies in the use of the best graphics the industry has to offer. But when you’re suffering from low frame rates, it’s generally difficult to enjoy the game.

Whether your latest purchase works seamlessly on your computer or you suddenly find that games aren’t working in general, we’re here to help. Here’s how to fix low FPS issues on Windows and get back to high-quality games.

First: know the difference between low FPS and network latency

Before spending time fixing low FPS on your PC, it’s important to understand the difference between low FPS and online lag. Sometimes they are confused.

When your FPS is low, something is wrong with your computer. You will know you have an FPS issue if games stutter like you are watching a slideshow, even when playing an offline game. Make sure you also understand what monitor refresh rates and frame rates are so you know what to expect from your display and games.

On the other hand, latency is related to a network problem. You can have high FPS but still experience terrible lag. This happens when players in an online game freeze, suddenly deform, and otherwise do not behave normally.

If you are experiencing network lag, make sure you are connected to your router with an Ethernet cable, if possible. You should also close bandwidth-hungry applications running on your network and check for common problems that are slowing down your connection .

How to fix low frame rates: the basics

Let’s start by looking at a few fundamental fixes to improve frame rates. In many cases, when you are wondering why your game has such a low FPS, these settings will greatly improve the situation.

1. Update your drivers

Drivers are special software that provides an interface between your computer and connected equipment. Regular PC users usually don’t need to worry about updating them, but for gamers, it’s a different story altogether. Outdated drivers can reduce gaming performance.

Follow our guide to finding and replacing outdated drivers to make sure everything on your system is up to date. The chipset driver is important, but your graphics driver is most important for reliable FPS in games.

To update your graphics card driver, visit the Nvidia Drivers page or the AMD Drivers page , depending on which graphics card you have. If you are playing on integrated graphics, run the Intel Driver Update Tool (although remember that using integrated graphics will severely limit gaming performance).

Rather than manually downloading drivers, Nvidia and Intel offer software utilities that make it easy to download the latest drivers. You can download them from the driver pages above, which is what we recommend. In addition to letting you know when a new update is available, they give you access to additional settings and features.

2. Close unnecessary background programs.

When you play a game that especially requires modern games, it is recommended that you close other processes that you do not need. This frees up the resources that your computer can allocate for the game.

You can do this quickly by closing whatever is open in the taskbar. It is also worth checking for background processes on the taskbar at the far right of the taskbar.

To dive a little deeper and see what is using resources, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager. Click on ” Details” if necessary to expand it, after which you will see what resources are being used in the ” Processes ” tab . Anything that uses a significant amount of CPU, memory, or GPU is likely to slow down the game’s performance. Close them before starting the game.

If your browser has 30 tabs open, cloud storage apps are allowed to sync, or file transfers are in progress while trying to play games, this can lead to a drop in FPS – even on a good PC.

3. Defragment your hard drive.

We hope that most gamers by now have switched to solid state drive (SSD). But if you are still using the hard drive, you should make sure the drive is defragmented. If you are using a solid state drive, you should not defragment as this can shorten the life of the drive.

To do this, type defrag in the Start menu and click the Defragment and Optimize Drives entry . If some time has passed since the last disk defragmentation, do so.

Windows 10 does this automatically, so you don’t need to manually defragment. However, you can change the schedule if you like. And if you are using a hard drive, try replacing it with an SSD as soon as possible to improve your gaming performance.

How to fix low gaming FPS using Windows settings

Now that you’ve completed the basics, let’s take a look at some Windows settings that you can tweak to improve gaming performance .

4. Adjust the power settings.

Power Options in Windows allow you to change settings related to the power consumption of your device. By default, Windows tries to balance power consumption with performance. Sometimes, especially on laptops, this can lead to decreased gaming performance.

We recommend that you upgrade to the High Performance plan . To do this, go to Settings> System> Power & Sleep and click on Advanced Power Settings on the right. This will take you to the Power Options section of the Control Panel.

Here, if necessary, select Show additional plans and then select the High performance option .

Note that this will increase the power consumption of your computer. On desktops, this isn’t a problem, except for slightly higher electricity bills. But laptops will have worse battery life.

5. Disable visual effects in Windows.

By default, Windows uses a lot of fancy visuals around the OS. It makes menus and other common elements look more intimate, but requires few resources.

Since every little bit of performance helps in games, you can turn off these effects. You likely won’t see much benefit from this unless you’re using an inexpensive PC, but it’s still worth a try.

To turn off the visual effects in Windows, type performance in the “Start” menu and select ” Adjust the appearance and performance of the Windows” . On the ” Visual Effects ” tab of the menu that appears, you will see a list of graphics functions that you can enable or disable.

Click the Adjust for Best Performance button to turn off all of these effects, and then click OK . It will take some time for Windows to turn them off. When it’s done, the interface won’t look as smooth, but you still won’t notice it when you play the game.

6. Disable Game Bar and Background Recording.

Windows 10 includes a Game Bar feature that lets you record game clips, take screenshots, and even stream your gameplay. While this is useful in certain situations, it can also negatively impact game performance.

Unless you specifically want to use this feature for something, you should turn it off to avoid potential interference. Go to Settings> Games> Xbox Game Bar and disable the ” Turn on Xbox Game Bar …” slider at the top to prevent it from starting.

Then you have to switch to the tab ” Hooks ” and make sure that an entry in the background while I play the game, is off. This is another Windows 10 gaming feature that makes it easy to capture important moments while using system resources that are better directed towards graphics performance.

7. Turn on Gaming Mode in Windows 10.

Also in the ” Games ” section in the settings go to the ” Game Mode ” tab . Here, confirm that you have the slider enabled.

Microsoft’s vague explanation for this feature states that in Game Mode, Windows “prioritizes gameplay” as it “helps achieve more consistent frame rates depending on the specific game and system.” It also prevents Windows Update from harassing while playing.

Fix low FPS with in-game options

We then move on to the settings that you can change in most games, which can fix your low frame rate problem.

8. Change the graphics settings of the game.

Most PC games allow you to change various graphics settings ; the exact choice will depend on the game. Generally, the more graphic effects you include to enhance your visuals, the lower your frame rate will be.

For general tweaking, try lowering the graphics quality slider , as less intense graphics will help your game run better. For example, lowering the graphics quality from Epic or Ultra to High should help a lot.

You can also turn off individual visual effects such as reflections and fog. While they can make the game look prettier, they put a strain on your GPU. To further increase the frame rate, turn off these extraneous options.

Also, pay attention to the options that allow you to limit the FPS. This can be useful if your GPU is sending more frames than your monitor can support, but obviously limiting your FPS can lead to lower frame rates. If you have a 144Hz monitor, you don’t want to limit the game to 60 FPS.

If you find it really difficult to launch the game, consider lowering the resolution. For example, reducing it from 1920 × 1080 (1080p) to 1080 × 720 (720p) will have a positive effect on FPS. And for games where performance is more important than appearance (like competitive online games), this is a worthy trade-off.

9. Use full screen mode.

Most games allow you to play in full screen, windowed, or windowed borderless modes . For best performance, choose full screen mode.

This is because applications and games running in this mode have full control over the display. While using borderless windows may be more convenient, the game does not enjoy such display exclusivity in this mode and therefore may drop to a lower frame rate.

10. Repair or reinstall the game.

If you’re only experiencing FPS issues with one game, the issue might be related to corrupted files.

Some games may have a restore option (on Steam, you will find it by right-clicking, choosing Properties> Local Files and selecting Verify Integrity of Game Files ) that can fix this.

Otherwise, try uninstalling and reinstalling the game to see if it improves performance.

Hardware fixes for low gaming FPS

If you’ve tried all of the above and games are still running at low FPS, your hardware is probably the bottleneck. In this case, you can change your graphics card and other hardware to increase the frame rate.

11. Consider overclocking your components.

If you don’t have the money to upgrade your PC components right now, you might want to consider overclocking your existing hardware. This allows you to squeeze a little more energy out of what you already have, essentially for free.

Overclocking may sound dangerous, but it is safe if you do it right. See our GPU overclocking guide if you’d like to give it a try.

12. Upgrade your equipment.

While the aforementioned settings are quite useful, they have their limits – even when overclocked. If you have outdated hardware on your PC, you may suffer from low gaming FPS no matter what software changes you make.

If so, it’s time to upgrade your hardware. You may need a more powerful graphics card capable of running higher quality games, more RAM for the game to run smoothly, or a more powerful processor.

Remember that heat can also affect your equipment. If you’re having FPS issues after running the game for a while, your system might be getting too hot. Open the system and remove the accumulated dust. You should also make sure that your computer has adequate airflow.

Find out which updates on your computer will improve performance the most to see which one you should replace first.

How to fix low FPS problems easily

We’ve covered some tips on how to fix low FPS on your PC. Hopefully some combination of them will help raise the frame rate to an acceptable level.

At the end of the day, FPS issues come down to system resources. This is the case when your computer wastes resources on other processes or unnecessary functions, or does not have enough power at all.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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