Micro stutters are one of the worst problems you can have in online games. You’re just about to kill your opponent to win the match, your game freezes for half a second, and you’re dead. So, is there a way to fix micro stuttering in games?
Here are 12 ways to fix micro stuttering in games:
Read on to learn how to fix micro stuttering both in Windows 10 and Windows 7 individually. I’ll also explain a few tips that can stop micro stuttering in general, no matter which version of Windows you’re running.
Micro stuttering in games Windows 10
There are a few tricks specific to Windows 10 that you can do to fix micro stutters and improve overall performance and FPS.
1. Disable Game DVR
Windows 10 has baked in a few gaming-related Xbox features that they thought gamers would love. However, the opposite is true.
The features cause a lot of micro stutters and can significantly reduce your FPS. But what is a Game DVR?
In a nutshell, Game DVR allows you to record highlights from games, but it records everything, so the performance impact is immense.
You can disable Game DVR through Windows settings and the Registry Editor. However, I recommend that you do both to be completely sure it’s off.
Here is how to disable Game DVR in Windows:
Game DVR should be disabled now. It’s optional, but here is how to disable it through Registry Editor:
If you already had Game Bar disabled, keep reading because I have more tips and tricks.
2. Disable Dynamic Ticks and HPET
Dynamic ticks are useful for laptop users because they might save a bit of battery, but they can wreck your performance on desktop PCs.
There’s also the issue with High Precision Event Timer, or HPET for short. Many users report that HPET increases latency, which in turn causes micro stutters.
Here is how to disable both dynamic ticks and HPET through Command Prompt:
3. Disable background programs
Background programs can steal your RAM and CPU resources. It leaves less for your games and programs you care about, so it’s good to disable everything you don’t need.
Disabling background programs in Windows 10 is very simple. Here is how you do it:
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
- Go to the Startup tab.
- Click on every program you don’t recognize or need in everyday use, and press on Disable.
I’ll explain how to disable background programs at startup in Windows 7 as well.
If this fix doesn’t help either, proceed to the general micro stutter fixes below.
Micro stuttering in games Windows 7
Before I share a few tips on reducing micro stutters in Windows 7, you should know that Windows 10 is slightly better for gaming in the first place.
Windows 7 uses more RAM in pretty much every game, meaning the optimization is worse. In addition, the reduced RAM capacity for games causes micro stutters because it increases frame time latency.
Nonetheless, here are a few ways to reduce micro stuttering in Windows 7.
4. Disable visual effects
Before I explain how to do this, I should mention that this trick works in Windows 10, though it doesn’t have nearly as much impact.
This fix will make Windows 7 look like an old, outdated Windows version. It disables the lightweight Aero design.
But the beauty of it is that you can choose which visual effects to keep and which to disable. At the very least, I recommend disabling all animations. Not only will this reduce micro stutters, but it will make your computer feel snappier too.
Here is how you disable visual effects in Windows 7:
Of course, you can follow the same steps on Windows 10 if you want to do it.
Disable background programs in Windows 7
As promised, I’ll explain how you disable background programs when booting up to improve performance.
It’s a bit different in Windows 7 because the Task Manager doesn’t have the Startup tab.
Instead, it would help if you did it through System Configuration. This fix works on Windows 10 as well, but it’s much easier to do it through Task Manager in the first place.
So, here is how to disable background programs on startup in Windows 7:
5. Turn off Windows features you don’t need
Windows 7 has many useful features, but you might not need any or most of them.
There are things like Print and Document Services and Internet Explorer 11, which you probably never use.
Here is how to enable or disable Windows features in Windows 7:
How to fix micro stutters on any Windows version
In addition to those fixes that are tied to specific Windows versions, there are some things you can try on either version.
6. Disable fullscreen optimizations
Fullscreen optimizations are generally good. They can improve your performance, and some games won’t even launch without them.
However, the opposite is also true, and it’s one of the most common fixes for new AAA games to improve FPS and reduce stutters.
If the optimizations don’t work as intended, the game becomes a stuttering mess.
Here is how you disable fullscreen optimizations for any game:
If this fix didn’t work, don’t worry. There are quite a few other tricks that you can try.
7. Change graphics driver settings
Both NVIDIA Control Panel and AMD Radeon software let you change quite a few settings.
These settings significantly impact your gaming performance, and disabling or enabling some options can fix your micro stuttering.
Since the NVIDIA Control Panel is quite a bit more complex, I recommend watching this video by Sstovers on YouTube:
He claims that he applied fixes from a few videos to minimize stutters, so copy his configuration if you have an Nvidia graphics card.
If you’re on AMD, I got you covered. AMD Radeon Software is much simpler, and I have gone through all the options.
Here is how to fix micro stuttering on AMD graphics cards:
- Open AMD Radeon Software.
- Go to Gaming and select Global Graphics.
- Enable Radeon Anti-Lag (or disable it if you had it enabled), and disable Radeon Chill, Radeon Boost, and Radeon Enhanced Sync.
- Expand the Advanced options below.
- Select Multisampling for Anti-Aliasing Method.
- Disable Anisotropic filtering.
- Change Texture Filtering Quality to Performance.
- Enable Surface Format Optimization.
- For Tessellation Mode, select Override application settings, and under Maximum Tessellation Level, choose 8x
- Disable OpenGL Triple Buffering.
- Change GPU Workload to Graphics
I run these settings on my RX 580, and they work great. I tested it and noticed slightly better FPS, and the micro stutters I had in Call of Duty: Warzone disappeared.
8. Increase virtual memory or pagefile
Increasing the size of your virtual memory is another easy fix to stop micro stuttering. In a nutshell, virtual memory uses your HDD or SSD to expand the storage cache your CPU can access. As a result, your permanent storage acts like RAM.
Of course, this fix works especially well if you don’t have enough RAM, but I noticed a huge difference even on my 16 GB system.
Here is how you increase virtual memory in Windows:
Note that you must have a bit of free space on your HDD or SSD for this to work as intended.
9. Delete unnecessary programs
This ties into the previous step. You need to have enough space on your SSD or HDD.
The more data you have on them, the slower they become.
Too many programs and games on your machine can cause micro stutters because your game is struggling to load essential assets.
So, uninstall every game you haven’t opened in two months. You can keep the saved file and reinstall the game if you want to play it again.
10. Upgrade your RAM
Unfortunately, this step isn’t free. But you’ll be upgrading your computer, so it’s worth it.
If you don’t have enough RAM, your games will stutter. This happened to me when I first built my PC because I only had a single-channel 8 GB stick.
You’ll probably be fine with 8 GB of RAM if you have two sticks running in dual-channel. But if you have only one stick, get another one as soon as you can.
Make sure it’s the same model as the one you already have because it won’t work in dual-channel otherwise.
Linus on TechQuickie explains how much RAM you need in this short video:
If you don’t have enough RAM, I recommend the Corsair Vengeance 2×8 GB DDR4 Memory Kit from Amazon.com. It works in dual-channel, and you can get up to 4000 MHz to squeeze out some extra performance for AMD Ryzen CPUs.
11. Fix overheating issues
You can tell that your PC is overheating if your games work fine at first but become a stuttery mess after 15 minutes or so.
Check your CPU temperatures using a third-party program like CoreTemp.
If your CPU goes above 85°C (185°F) in games, you have an overheating issue.
The cheapest and easiest fix is to replace your thermal paste on the CPU. It’s a simple fix that you can do yourself. RBN Hardware explains how to do it in this video:
I recommend that you only use high-quality thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5 from Amazon.com.
It’s easy to apply from the syringe and has some of the best outcomes in terms of temperatures compared to various other compounds I’ve tried in the past.
It’s long-lasting and won’t go dry in a hurry. A thermal paste that remains moist will give you longer lasting cooling performance.
After you change your thermal paste, recheck the temperatures to make sure they improved.
12. Reset BIOS settings to optimized defaults
One way to ensure that any settings that could potentially cause micro stuttering are eliminated is to reset all the BIOS settings back to optimized defaults.
Before you do this, make sure that you have noted down your boot drive settings and any other configuration settings for all your drives.
Once you have reset the BIOS settings, go back to the boot drive settings and restore them the way you had it before.
Any adjustments to your RAM or CPU should be reset back to default, reducing the chances of instabilities and micro stuttering.
Double-check to see that any TPM is turned off. Some motherboards have micro stuttering issues once this is enabled.
One example is the Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. To change the setting back, I found that a downgrade in the BIOS version (back to version 3601) allows these settings to be changed back to discrete as opposed to a firmware TPM.
While micro stuttering doesn’t seem as serious as a computer randomly restarting or freezing, its annoyance is just the same.
Thankfully it’s less likely to be something that will cost you a full computer replacement or expensive hardware components.
In saying that, if you have gone through all these troubleshooting tips and the problem is still around, you may have something less common causing the problem, like a faulty hard drive or something faulty with your motherboard that warrants replacement.