I love gaming on the PC, but it can be extremely frustrating when something doesn’t work as it should. It’s much more convenient to update drivers and software these days, but sometimes games will refuse to work or completely crash when you are in the middle of playing, even when everything seems fully up-to-date.

I had a recent issue where every game was crashing no matter what. It was always at random, so it was hard to figure out what the cause was. I tried upgrading my graphics card drivers, making sure Windows had every recent update, and I even tried uninstalling programs that were no longer needed.

I eventually started to notice that my pc would crash when my PC wasn’t running anything at all. After doing hours of online searches for a solution, I came across a discussion about using the “Event Viewer” in Windows 10 to narrow down the problem. I gave that a try and I couldn’t believe how helpful it was.

When you start up the Event Viewer in Windows, you can see a detailed time stamp of every process running in Windows. You will also see exclamation marks and other symbols that indicate that a process is behaving in an unexpected way. My games would always crash at a random time, so I searched for the time of when the crash occurred in the Event Viewer, and I was able to find the application that was to blame!

Once the problem is narrowed down, you can simply uninstall the program in question or see if there is an updated version of it. Sometimes the Event Viewer will point to a fault with an audio driver or something else hardware related. In that case, you just simply go to the manufacturers website and update the driver.

In my situation, I had a program that had a memory leak. When an application has a memory leak, it will slowly use 100% of your RAM without freeing anything up for other programs. Even if you have 32 GBs of RAM, you will still eventually run out of memory if you have a faulty program slowly eating way at it. When I used the Event Viewer, I searched for the time log of when my game crashed, and I found the program that reported an error at that same time frame. Once I uninstalled the program, everything was fine ever since!

To start the Event Viewer in Windows 10, simply go to your Control Panel and search for the term “Event Viewer”. Once the application starts up, click on “Windows Logs” and then “Application”. From there you will be able to see time stamps of every process, along with any errors that occurred. Search for the time that your game crashed, and you will most likely find some sort of “Warning” or “Error” symbol next to the application in question.

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In this example, I was able to determine that an Oculus Rift related process was the cause of my memory leak.

 

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You can find the Event Viewer by searching for it in Windows Settings

I found the Event Viewer to be the most useful tool for troubleshooting issues with my PC and if you are having any issues with your machine, I strongly suggest giving this a try. Have any  useful tips to share yourself? Please share in the comments below!