Even as a casual computer user, it’s absolute devastation if a piece of software you bought doesn’t work on your system. While programs which help you get work done will most likely work as they have relatively few requirements, the same cannot be said for games. Yes, games aren’t nearly as important as software you may need for work, but you’ll still feel the same frustration.
Anyone who practically lives on games would have nightmares if their $40 piece of ultimate gaming software didn’t run. But a lot of the time, these issues are something you can fix, often without spending any money.
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs
Today’s anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are extremely complex pieces of software which try to help with keeping your computer safe from unwanted malicious code. However, these programs are far from perfect, as they sometimes don’t recognize a threat, and other times recognize a false threat. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for your anti-virus/malware software to throw a red flag in your face whenever you try to play your game even though the game is completely safe. The best thing to do is to place the game on some kind of whitelist, or temporarily disable the software while you’re playing the game.
In some uncommon cases, the game you may wish to play might require a newer operating system. For example, those games which require the technology DirectX 11 to render properly won’t be able to run on Windows XP or Vista, but only on Windows 7. DirectX 11 is only made for Windows 7, so the only option for those cases is to upgrade your operating system. Again, this doesn’t happen often, but as Windows 7 has been here for a few years now, developers are starting to drop support for those older operating systems.
Sadly, it’s not all issues with whatever software you’re currently running. It’s also quite possible that your hardware simply isn’t strong enough to run whatever game you’ve bought. Honestly, you can’t expect a netbook to actually run Skyrim or Call of Duty. However, desktops can also be too weak to play, especially older ones. The best way to make sure if your hardware is the issue is by checking on the box or online for the system requirements (better yet, pay attention to this before you buy). If hardware is the problem, you can try to replace the weak component — often the graphics card — or buy a newer computer.
Maybe your hardware is checking out just fine, but the game still isn’t running. If it’s a very intensive game which recently came out, it may be possible that your graphics driver needs to be updated in order to fix any bugs which either prevent the game from running or show graphical glitches. Most likely your graphics card comes from either AMD or nVidia, so you can get updated versions of those drivers from the respective site. Other graphics providers either don’t publish frequent updates to their graphics drivers, or they’re simply not recommended for gaming. If you have a graphics solution from a company other than AMD, nVidia, or Intel, you should probably consider buying a dedicated graphics card.
Other Small Tips
Of course, there are plenty of other issues which might come in your way, but those issues are far less common than these four that I listed. Don’t forget that sometimes there can be very little things that get in the way, like not enough free hard drive space, or the requirement for some games to have the CD or DVD in your media drive in order for the game to run. Mac OS X users probably have less to worry about than Windows users, and Linux users mainly need to keep sure that their hardware is sufficient enough and that their software is updated. However, with these tips, you should be good to go.
Is there a tip I missed that you’d like to share? What problems have you experienced most often? Let us know in the comments!