Top Reasons Your New Game Won’t Run On Your PC

Danny Stieben 27-08-2012

game will not run hardwareEven 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

game will not run hardware
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.

Operating System

game will not run
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.


game will not run
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.

Graphics Drivers

game will not run hardware
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!

Image Credits: Patrick Hoesly, Jonathan Sin, Windows 7 Stand via Shutterstock, Aaronage, Forrestal_PL

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  1. Thomas Gregoire
    November 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Another issue you can run into is inadaquate cooling. If your hardware is running the 2 fan's in your system trying to keep cool but does not have input and output fan's to blow in cool air and exhaust hot air then your hardware may slow it's self down inorder to not overheat and crash. Buying even a cheap atx case with decent cooling is much better then many of the prebuilt systems.

    Even if you did purchase a prebuilt system it is worth it to upgrade the case for a few extra dollars.

  2. AP
    August 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Sometimes OS compatibilty problem can be resolved by using compatbility option in properties.

    • Danny Stieben
      August 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Another nice tip, thanks!

  3. Ashwin Ramesh
    August 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    When I had Vista, boy, it really was a villain! And of RAM and Graphic card are also a major thing to be taken into consideration!

  4. James
    August 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

    We all know the real reason why they don't work is Apple has a patent against them working.

  5. Erlis D.
    August 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    It's a little bit of all!
    But, really greatly explained!
    You have to think before buying a game computer!

    • Danny Stieben
      August 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks Erlis! :)

  6. Elijah Swartz
    August 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Here's another big tip. Go online and update your game before playing. A lot of teams are rushed to get things done on schedule. This can result in a variety of bugs in the game from the beginning. Developers usually have updates out soon after the game is released. Install the updates!

    Also, sometime the game files get corrupt. I think this has happened three times in the past several years. Steam makes it easy, where you can verify the game cache and it will redownload all corrupt sections. Sometimes you may just have to reinstall the game all together, but that will fix the problem.

    Some people also have DRM issues with the game they bought. Sometimes the DRM affects things other than just your game. My father had an issue, and to fix it, we did a little google searching and found out that the company had a removal tool on their website which could be used to diminish the effects of the DRM, allowing the issues to go away and let you play the game.

    • Danny Stieben
      August 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Thanks for your tips, Elijah!

  7. tarzan2001
    August 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Also, don't forget that defragmenting is a big help when it comes to overall PC health and speed! Some people are non-believers, but trust me, it helps a lot! :)

  8. tarzan2001
    August 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    RAM can actually make a big difference too, especially if one's system is just making the recommended system requirements for the game. I once had a setup that actually exceeded the requirements, but I was still experiencing very strange visual anomalies when I played, which would eventually result in crashes. I added about 1GB more RAM, and not only was the gaming issue fixed, but my computer booted a little faster too! ;)

    The main issue is usually the power of the graphics card, however. I would say that a graphics card should be updated at least every 3-4 years for casual gamers or those playing on lower resolutions. However, for serious gamers, a 2-year interval is usually required to be able to play the latest and greatest games at high resolutions and graphics settings. :)

    • Danny Stieben
      August 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Yes, definitely RAM too! Thanks for your input. :)

  9. Frederick Doe
    August 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Honestly, problems like these are part of what keep the consoles popular. Committed gamers might be willing to wade through forums trying to fix a problem, but most people just want to insert a disk or press a button and start playing right away.

    I'm not saying that consoles are superior, just that they provide the experience that most people want.

    • Danny Stieben
      August 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      That's a good point I suppose. And the hardware is the same too, so developers know the limits of the hardware that they'll work with.

      • Frederick Doe
        August 31, 2012 at 2:44 am

        That's correct. It's important to remember that console games are EXTREMELY optimized for the hardware. The vast array of hardware for PCs actually works against PC gaming.

        Interestingly, Razer (the mouse and accessories company) released a computer last year called the Razer Blade. Only one model was released. The idea was that if you knew a game would play on any Razer Blade, you knew that it would play on yours. I hope the idea catches on. I would love to buy a Dell/HP/Asus/Whatever Model-123 and know that every game with a "Whatever Model-123" sticker would play perfectly.

        Ironically, this is something that Apple figured out years ago. There are only a few Mac and iPhone models, and I know that anything I buy for Mac or iPhone will work on my device.

  10. lance burn
    August 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    a don't bother with games since we used joyskicks lol

    • ALI
      August 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm


  11. VS Vishnu
    August 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    operating system..the villain..

  12. Vipul Jain
    August 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    HDD Space!
    With ton load of movies & TV Shows nowadays games like Max Payne 3 are a PITA :p
    Also the most important stuff is Software. You mentioned DirectX but for almost all games now, .Net, Visual C++ Redistributable, Games for Windows Live & PhysX drivers are required :D

    • April Eum
      August 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      hdd space is definitely something to take into consideration no doubt, especially if i use ssd instead, though its not affected with gameplay, there's not enough space :( can't afford to spend $300+ for 512 ssd D:

      • Danny Stieben
        August 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        Not to worry though, as SSDs are getting bigger and bigger. :)

        • Vipul Jain
          August 31, 2012 at 5:20 am

          but costlier & costlier as well :p

    • Danny Stieben
      August 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Good point! Although PhysX drivers shouldn't be required since that's an nVidia-only thing.

      • Vipul Jain
        August 31, 2012 at 5:21 am

        oh yes, i being an NVIDIA user generalized it :p