How to Check if a Computer Can Run a Game

Before buying a new game, check to see will your PC run it

What to Know

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open Task Manager.
  • Select the Performance tab and select CPU, Memory, and GPU to see what hardware you have.
  • Compare your hardware to the minimum and recommended specs for a game on its store page.

This article will explain how to check if your computer can run a game by comparing your PC's specs, the minimum and recommended hardware requirements of the game.

How Do I Check to See if My Computer Can Run a Game?

Most games have both minimum and recommended hardware requirements. To just play the game at its lowest settings, you need a PC which matches or exceeds the minimum specs. PCs as good as, or better than, the recommended specs, will deliver higher frame rates, support for higher resolutions, and a better looking and playing gaming experience.

It isn't always easy to tell whether your PC does match or exceed the minimum specifications, as different generations of CPUs and GPUs aren't always easily directly comparable. This becomes even more complicated when you throw laptop CPUs and GPUs into the mix, which also aren't easily comparable to their desktop counterparts.

A good rule of thumb is if your CPU and GPU are newer than the minimum specs, you can probably play the game. This is usually designated by having a higher number than that of the component recommended. For example, a GTX 1080 is newer and much better than a GTX 770, and an Intel Core i3-10400 is better than an i5-4440.

To find out if your PC meets those demands, you'll need to know the requirements set by the developer, and your own PC's specifications.

  1. Find the game's minimum and/or recommended specifications by looking at its digital store page, or if you've purchased a physical copy, check the back of the box. The manual may have more information, too.

    The minimum and recommended system requirements for Elden Ring on Steam.
    While the minimum requirements will work, always shoot for recommended specs for really good game play.
  2. To find out your PC's specifications, press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open Task Manager. Then select the Performance tab.

  3. Using the left-hand menu, select CPU, Memory, and GPU and note down what each of them has noted in the top-right corner. Free storage space on your main hard drive is important, too. Check Disk 0 or C drive (although this may vary) to see if there's likely to be room for games to install.

    Windows Task Manager highlighting the installed CPU.
    The installed CPU highlighted in the Windows Task Manager.
  4. Compare the specifications of your PC with the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for the game you want to play. If your PC matches or exceeds them, then you should have no problem playing. If it doesn't, you might run into some trouble and should consider upgrading or replacing your PC.

Why Won't My Computer Run a PC Game?

There are a number of reasons why your computer won't run a certain PC game. Your hardware may not be powerful enough, your drivers could be out of date, you could have malware that's affecting your PC, or there might just be a bug with the game.

Here are some tips to try to get the game working:

  1. Check to see if your PC meets or exceeds the minimum specs using the steps above. If it doesn't, then consider upgrading.

  2. Update your graphics card drivers to the latest version.

  3. Reinstall the game you want to play. Consider backing up your saves and settings first.

  4. Check the developer's blog or social media to see if there are known problems with the game which may be fixed in an upcoming patch. If there are, you may just need to wait.

  5. Try scanning your computer for malware. Malware can use up valuable CPU time making gaming difficult. Also, even if you aren't a gamer... Get rid of that malware!

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