Screen stuttering is a common problem that can have a wide variety of underlying causes.
It can be temporary glitches or freezes in the display specific to one program or affecting the whole system.
However, it’s easy to diagnose, and you can fix it by considering the solutions suggested in this article.
Computer Stuttering Windows 10 (Causes, Fixes)
1. Roll Back To A Previous Update
Windows updates have caused different problems for users on different occasions.
It’s not uncommon to see a recent update that causes your screen, games, or even keyboard to stutter for no apparent reason.
For example, the April-2021 Windows update caused issues, including stutters for multiple users.
If you notice that the problem appeared after a recent update, try rolling back to a previous update and see if it solves the problem.
Here’s how to uninstall a Windows update:
Open Windows Settings by pressing the Windows key and I simultaneously.
Select Update and Security > Update History > Uninstall Updates.
You’ll see a list of recent updates for Windows and other programs.
Choose the specific update that you think caused the issue, looking at the date.
You’ll find the latest Windows update at the top.
Look for the uninstall button on the toolbar, click on it, follow the on-screen prompts, and finish the update uninstall.
Note that not all Windows updates offer you the option to uninstall them.
In such cases, you could use the Windows Recovery option.
Here’s how to do it:
Go to Control Panel and type “Recovery” in its search box.
Click “Open System Restore.”
Go to the “Restore system files and settings” box and click “Next.”
You’ll see a list of restore points from which you can choose your intended date.
Note: Windows sets restore points whenever you install a new app.
However, sometimes these restore dates aren’t what you want.
You could manually set restore points periodically to make sure you have enough restore points.
Restoring will delete updates, apps, drivers you installed after that point, but it doesn’t remove your files.
If system protection is turned off, you can’t use the system recovery option.
In such a case, you can’t access the system restore page, and you should consider other methods to recover your Windows.
2. Update Your Windows
Although we mentioned earlier that Windows updates could cause different problems, an outdated Windows version can also be equally problematic.
It’s important to ensure your Windows is updated to the most recent version to avoid any problems.
That’s particularly the case with Windows 10 because stuttering issues have been very common since it was launched, and regular updates have tried to address the issue.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to check for any new updates available if you see your Windows is stuttering.
To check for new updates, type “updates” in the search box and click on the first result.
In the window that opens, you can see the last time Windows checked for new updates, and if it was a long time ago, click on the “check for new updates” button.
Windows will automatically install new updates if any are available.
3. Disable The Wallpaper Slideshow
A wallpaper slideshow can be a cool feature to add to your desktop and give it a new look at regular intervals.
However, it can use lots of system resources and freeze the whole computer for a couple of seconds, leading to screen stuttering.
If your wallpaper slideshow is enabled, it’s better to turn it off.
You could also increase the time intervals between wallpaper switches, but disabling the feature altogether is a better option.
To do so, right-click anywhere on the desktop and click “Personalize.”
Go to the “Background” section and click on the dropdown menu.
You could choose “Solid Color” or “Picture” to disable the slideshow and close the window.
4. Free Up Space
If your storage is full, the system may not have enough space to run heavy programs.
That’s why you should always keep your computer clean and remove any programs or games that you don’t need and take too much space.
In addition, temporary files and browser caches can also take up lots of space in your system, reducing speed and leading to stutters.
Many free and paid optimization tools can help you keep your system in its best shape by removing unwanted programs.
5. Check CPU And GPU Temperatures
CPU and GPU are highly sensitive components that can’t work properly if they run too hot.
In severe cases, they may throttle their performance and even shut down the entire system.
It’s always recommended to keep track of your CPU and GPU temperatures, especially when you run heavy programs.
Check the heatsinks to ensure they’re correctly installed, and the thermal paste hasn’t come off.
Plus, you want to check the fans to ensure they’re running regularly and that your computer has enough airflow.
6. Update The Graphics Card Drivers
Outdated drivers generally can be one of the most common reasons for Windows 10 stuttering, but the most common problem is an outdated graphics card driver.
Updating the drivers can help eliminate the problem.
Take the following steps:
Type “Device Manager” in the search box on the left-hand corner of the taskbar.
Click on “Display Adapters” to expand it and see your graphics card.
Right-click on it and choose “Update driver.”
Click on Browse my computer for drivers > Let me pick from the list of available drivers on my computers > Microsoft Basic Display Adapter.
You can easily install the driver by following the on-screen prompts.
You could also update the drivers by visiting the manufacturer’s website and looking for the specific product installed on your computer.
In addition, updating may occasionally fail to solve the issue.
In such cases, you could uninstall the display adapter driver and install it again after downloading it from the manufacturer’s website.
To uninstall the display adapter, follow the instructions mentioned for updating the drivers.
Instead of clicking “Update Driver,” select “Uninstall Driver.”
7. Look For Software Problems
If you’ve recently installed an app or software, it may be the main reason behind Windows 10 stuttering.
You can easily fix the issue if you know the culprit by installing the software.
Otherwise, you may need to take some time looking at the Task Manager to see which program is causing the issue.
Open the Task Manager by pressing Alt + Ctrl + Del simultaneously and look at the CPU graph.
Check if the graph shows any spikes, indicating a new program causing these spikes.
You can find out which is the problematic program by viewing the “Process” tab and uninstalling that program.
Another software-related problem is that your CPU doesn’t have enough resources to support some software.
When installing new programs, you must make sure your CPU has the minimum requirements to run them.
That’s particularly the case with CPU-intensive programs, such as a game or video-editing software.
When the CPU is under pressure, it may lead to temporary freezes, lags, or stuttering.
That’s why you should always check the CPU requirements specified by the software developers and make sure they match your system.
8. Fix Power Management Issues
If you have customized your power plan incorrectly or installed a new program that’s not compatible with your current power plan, you may run into the stuttering issue.
That’s because your power plan tells the computer how to use power based on your current set of software and hardware installed on the PC.
Sometimes setting the power plan to default can stop Windows from stuttering.
To do so:
Type “Control Panel” in the search box on the left-hand corner of the taskbar and click on the first result.
Once in the Control Panel window, select “Hardware and Sound.”
Go to Power Options > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings.
Choose “Restore plan defaults” for each plan.
This action will open a confirmation window on which you should click “Yes.”
Now, you should restart your computer and check if the problem is solved after reboot.
9. Run Windows Troubleshooter
If you can’t pinpoint the problem yourself, you can get help from Windows.
It may help find any problems due to incompatible software or hardware and improve overall performance.
To run the built-in troubleshooter,
Go to Control Panel and type “troubleshooting” in its search bar.
Open “Troubleshooting” and click “View all” on the left panel.
Find “System Maintenance” among the options and run the troubleshooter for it.
If you think other features, software, or hardware require troubleshooting, you can also run the troubleshooter for those.
For example, many users have found that troubleshooting “Video Playback” and “Playing Audio” can also work with stuttering.
10. Disable The DVD/CD Drive
I know most laptops and PCs don’t have DVD/CD drives these days, but if yours does, it can be a possible cause for the stuttering issue.
Take the following steps to disable the drive:
Type “Device Manager” in the Windows search box, click on the result, and open the window.
Scroll down to “CD/DVD ROM drives” and click on it to expand.
Right-click on the drive that appears in the menu and click on “Properties.”
In the “Driver” tab, find “Disable Device” and click on it.
Select “Yes,” and then “OK” to save changes and disable the drive.
If it doesn’t resolve the issue, you can enable the drive again by taking the same steps for disabling it, but instead of “Disable Device,” you should select “Enable Device.”
11. Disable Service Host SuperFetch
SuperFetch is a Windows service that helps increase the speed of your computer.
It works through algorithms that learn your behavior over time, predict which apps you frequently use, and preload them when you turn on your PC.
This way, it increases loading speeds.
However, it can cause issues like slowing down the PC or display stuttering by taking too much disk space.
It may also use too much RAM or CPU resources, reduce speed, and raise CPU temperatures.
If none of the above methods worked, you could try disabling SuperFetch and if it doesn’t help, enable it again.
To disable SuperFetch, you can use the command prompt:
Type “cmd” in the Windows search box and click “run as administrator.”
Click “Yes” to continue.
Enter the following command without quotation marks:
“sc stop “SysMain” & sc config “SysMain” start=disabled”
Restart your PC and see if the issue has gone away.
If not, you can reenable SuperFetch to keep your system at high speeds.
Type “service.msc” in the Windows search box and hit “Enter.”
Scroll down to find “Sysmain” in the list and click on “Automatic (Delayed Start).”
By clicking OK and restarting your PC, SuperFetch will run again in your Windows 10.
12. Close Background Programs
No matter how powerful your system is, it can’t work properly if multiple applications run in the background.
It may cause the screen or audio to lag and create stuttering.
These programs use all other resources and don’t give enough space to your program at hand.
One of the solutions would be to close all other background apps and check if the problem goes away.
To do so,
Open the Task Manager by pressing Alt + Ctrl + Del.
Look at the “Process” tab and see which programs are running in the background.
Select them one by one and click “End task” to close them.
13. Run A Virus Scan
Another common cause for display lags and stuttering is a malware infection, corrupting different files.
It’s always a good idea to scan your entire system for malware and virus infections and see how it affects the problem.
You could use the built-in Windows Defender or any other reliable antivirus.
Make sure you use powerful malware removal tools because regular antivirus programs may not do a good job of detecting different viruses.
After running the anti-malware program and finding and removing the threat, you should also do a System File Checker scan (SFC).
That’s because the malware most probably has damaged or corrupted your system files.
Even if your system wasn’t infected with malware, it might help to run a system scan for errors and corruption and make sure the entire system is healthy.
Here’s how to perform an SFC scan,
Type “cmd” in the Windows search box and hit “Enter” to open the Command Prompt.
Right-click on the result and choose “Run as administrator.”
Then, you’ll see the Command Prompt window in which you should type the following command:
After you hit “Enter,” the system starts scanning system files for any corruptions and removes them.
14. Stuttering While Playing Games
While screen stuttering may happen while you’re using any program, they’re more common when playing games.
That’s because games are heavy and require powerful systems to run.
If your system isn’t compatible, you may experience stutters.
It can even be more frustrating than running other programs because it can kill the joy by repeatedly freezing the screen.
Here are the most common causes of stuttering while playing games:
A. High Frame Rates
Many modern games have high frame rates that allow you to see many frames in one second and play the game with a more realistic feel.
However, if the CPU and GPU can’t keep pace with the game’s rendering frames, their performance may decrease, and you’ll experience stutters.
To avoid this issue, you can limit the number of frames each game can render.
You can set this limit inside the game or use your GPU’s software utility.
For example, in Nvidia Control Panel, you can go to the “3D settings” tab, select “Manage 3D Settings,” and choose a number for Max Frame Rate.
Most modern games can have a frame rate of up to 60 frames per second, so you can reduce it to see if it solves the problem.
If you reduce the frame rates using the game’s menu, you can also set the game’s graphics to lower values.
If these values are at maximum, your graphics card may have trouble keeping up.
To do so, go to the game’s graphics settings and lower the values for different parameters.
You could even disable some features that may not be vital, such as shadow values or Antialiasing.
B. Enable V-Sync
Vertical sync is a technology that synchronizes the game’s frame rate and monitor’s refresh rate.
This way, you can make sure both are compatible and have the same frame rates.
Different graphic cards have different ways to activate vertical sync.
For AMD graphic, go to AMD Radeon Settings > Gaming > Global Settings > Wait for Vertical Refresh > Always On.
For Nvidia, go to Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D settings > Vertical sync > On > Apply.
Very concise and helpful. Thank you!