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  • My game crashes or freezes!

Is your game crashing, freezing, or running sluggishly?  

Restart your computer

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"  It's a cliche for a reason!  Whenever anything about your computer or a piece of software you're running seems wonky (that's a technical term!) or isn't doing quite what you expect it to do, start by turning your computer off and back on (using the proper shutdown technique, of course).  

If the problem recurs after a restart:

Step 1: Uninstall/reinstall

The first thing we will suggest in most cases is that you uninstall your game, restart your computer, then download and install the game again.  This is because all software relies on a lot of little pieces all being in the same places every time, but since our games are probably not the only thing you use your computer for, it's likely the other programs you run are moving some of the crucial pieces around, or even renaming or deleting them.

Uninstalling and reinstalling puts everything back where it's supposed to be.

Step 2: Stop making your computer work so hard.  

Games are intense!  There's all sorts of stuff happening at once, heavy-duty graphics being generated, zippy sound effects being triggered, peppy music going the whole while, not to mention the constant decisions being made within the program: you moved your mouse this way, so the game reacts; you clicked here, the game reacts; you made a massive gem explosion, and now the game reacts to that.  We take great pride in making games that surprise and thrill the player at every turn, and that makes for software with a lot of moving parts (so to speak...I mean it's all lines of code and bits of data, but they're in motion!).

So if you're playing a game, and it's slowing down or crashing, take a look at what other programs you were running at the same time.  Your anti-virus program should always be running in the background, sure, but if it's downloading updates or running a scan of your computer, then that's going to cause a resource drain that could affect your game.  

Do you have an email client up in the background?  If it's set to Send/Receive and check for new messages every 10 minutes, that may be causing that intermittent graphics delay you're seeing in your game.

There are all kinds of processes you may have running on your computer without really thinking about the amount of processor power they use.  So, if you're not actively using some of those programs, it might be good to shut them down until you need them again.  Your computer will thank you for it.

Step 3: Run your DxDiag report:

The DirectX Diagnostic Tool (DxDiag) is a Windows tool designed to take a snapshot of your computer's operating components such as the graphics card, sound card, and DirectX version.  To launch this tool:

on Windows XP:

  1. Click on your Start menu
  2. Click Run...
  3. In the text field, type dxdiag
  4. Click OK.

on Windows Vista or 7:

  1. Click on your Windows icon (bottom left corner)
  2. In the Search box at the bottom of your Start menu, type dxdiag
  3. Click Enter on your keyboard.

Note: Occasionally, you may be prompted with a Yes or No question concerning Microsoft Windows digitally signing your drivers. If this occurs, and your computer is connected to the internet, select Yes, otherwise, select No.

Step 4: Update your graphics driver:

What's a driver?  Just as your computer uses an Operating System like Windows XP to run, your computer is made up of a lot of smaller devices that have operating systems of their own.  The operating systems for graphics and sound cards are called drivers. 

Graphics and sound card manufacturers release driver updates regularly to address compatibility issues.  Typically, a new driver is available every 3 to 6 months.

The model and manufacturer of your graphics card can be located under the Display tab in your DxDiag. You will find the model of your graphics card next to Name and the manufacturer of your graphics card next to Manufacturer.

Usually, the best way to locate and download the most current drivers is by visiting the manufacturer's website, and searching for your particular model of card under the support or drivers section.  Many manufacturers' websites will offer to automatically select the correct driver update for you; this is highly recommended.

If you need more in-depth assistance with this process, we recommend contacting the manufacturer of the graphics card or of your computer.

Step 5: Update your sound driver:

The model and manufacturer of your sound card can be located under the Sound tab in your DxDiag. You will find the model of your sound card next to Name and the manufacturer of your sound card next to Manufacturer.

Usually, the best way to locate and download the most current drivers is by visiting the manufacturer's website, and searching for your particular model of card under the support or drivers section.  Many manufacturers' websites will offer to automatically select the correct driver update for you; this is highly recommended.

If you need more in-depth assistance with this process, we recommend contacting the manufacturer of the sound card or of your computer.

Still having trouble after updating your device drivers? Try this!

Step 6: Update DirectX:

DirectX is a set of drivers from Microsoft that controls the sound and video displays on your computer.

Please uninstall the game, update your DirectX, restart your computer, and then reinstall the game.

You can update your DirectX drivers by visiting Microsoft's web site and downloading the latest version. Once you have installed the latest version of DirectX, your game(s) should function properly.

DirectX drivers are required for many games and utilities besides PopCap Games products. Having the latest version of DirectX installed on your computer is just a good idea all around!

If you are still having trouble after trying these suggestions, click Contact Us and provide as much detail as possible about your experience to our Customer Support team.

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