Man looking at laptop screen with frustrated expression.

There’s nothing more frustrating than launching your favorite game only to have a laggy experience. Especially in fast-paced genres, lag can make the game unplayable. To avoid that, let’s look at a few fixes you can try.

Restart Your Computer and Router

Restarting your computer and your router are the easiest and quickest solutions that could solve your lag. When you leave your computer on for too long without doing a hard reboot, it can start to slow down which may lead to performance issues.

A reboot of your computer allows your operating system to complete important updates, delete temporary files, clean up open files, and clear up memory. All of these are necessary to keep your computer running smoothly. Get in the habit of restarting your computer at least once or twice a week.

If that didn’t work, try unplugging your router for at least 15 seconds and then plug it back in. This will reset your internet connection and hopefully fix any network problems you were facing.

RELATED: Internet Connection Not Working? 10 Troubleshooting Tips

Close Programs Running in the Background

One of the most common causes of lag is other programs running in the background. These programs can use up system resources and make it difficult for your game to run smoothly. Google Chrome is known to be a big resource hog, so try closing it if you’re experiencing lag.

Close anything you aren’t using at the moment, such as Spotify, Skype, or Discord. You can always reopen them when you need them. If you’re not sure what’s running in the background, open Task Manager by pressing the keys Ctrl+Alt+Delete at the same time. Then select Task Manager.

Press Ctrl, Alt, and Delete, then Task Manager

On the Processes tab, you’ll see all the programs that are running and taking up CPU. You can close programs by clicking on them and then clicking “End task” at the bottom right.

Warning: Don’t close anything you’re unsure of, as it may cause your computer to become unresponsive.

Even if this didn’t fix your lag problem, it’ll lighten the load on your computer.

RELATED: 10 Quick Steps to Increase PC Performance

Check for Downloads or Updates

When there’s anything downloading or updating in the background, it can use up a lot of CPU and valuable network resources such as bandwidth. This will cause your game to lag as there are usually not enough resources for both the download and the game you’re playing. See if you can pause all downloads for now and resume them after your game is done, or reschedule for another time.

To check for updates, open any programs that are running and see if there are updates being installed. For Windows users, you’ll want to check Windows Update, too. Type “Windows Update” in the search bar on the taskbar at the bottom left of your screen. Then, select “Windows Update Settings.”

You’ll also want to see if anyone else in the home is downloading or updating anything. If they’re on the same internet connection, it will cause your game to lag. Kindly ask them to pause what they’re doing for now so that you can game without lag.

Update Your Drivers

If you haven’t updated your drivers in a while and are running into computer problems such as lag, you should look into updating right away. Using outdated drivers for a long time is sometimes unhealthy for your computer and can lead to problems. Always update any drivers for your computer as soon as you get them to keep everything in the best condition possible. Running the most up-to-date drivers also gives you the best performance to run games and other programs.

Having updated drivers will not suddenly turn your computer into a powerful machine. It’ll simply fix bugs and performance issues you may be experiencing. When updating, always use the manufacturer’s drivers instead of random ones you find on the internet.

Check Your Internet Connection

Having slow internet with low bandwidth will lead to all sorts of connection problems. If you’re gaming on Wi-Fi, switch to an ethernet connection instead. A wired connection will be much stronger and more stable. This is especially true if there are other wireless devices in the home that are using the same Wi-Fi network.

As more people use the same internet connection, more bandwidth is taken up, making it slower for everyone. If you don’t have access to fast internet, try gaming during times when there are fewer people using the internet. Although this isn’t convenient, there’s not much else you can do besides upgrade your internet plan.

If you have fast internet but are still experiencing lag, it could be your router that’s causing it. Try restarting your router as explained above, then see if you’re still experiencing any lag. If so, you may want to give your internet service provider a call to see what’s going on. It’s also possible that your router is simply outdated.

Finally, you should also check your game’s servers to see if anyone else is experiencing lag. It may not be an issue on your side at all.

The Best Wi-Fi Routers of 2022

Best Wi-Fi Router Overall
Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U)
Best Budget Router
TP-Link Archer AX3000 (AX50)
Best Cheap Router
TP-Link Archer A8
Best Gaming Router
Asus GT-AX11000 Tri-Band Router
Best Mesh Wi-Fi Router
ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 (XT8) (2 Pack)
Best Budget Mesh Router
TP-Link Deco X20
Best Modem Router Combo
NETGEAR Nighthawk CAX80
Best VPN Router
Linksys WRT3200ACM
Beat Travel Router
TP-Link AC750
Best Wi-Fi 6E Router
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000
Profile Photo for Andy Nguyen Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen has been a professional freelance writer for over three years and has written hundreds of articles. He has loved computers and technology ever since he started gaming as a kid back in the 1990s. He's the person everyone he knows turns to for help with tech, too. Andy also runs a blog where he provides information and guides for students on becoming more productive.
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