How to fix Stuttering on Starcraft 2

How To Fix Stuttering on Starcraft 2 – Complete 101 Guide

In games like Starcraft 2, every millisecond matters, and it’s crucial that you have the best ping possible, and your computer is well optimized to get you the highest FPS that it possibly can without stutters and lags. One of the most common issues Starcraft 2 players face is stuttering.

I know stutters are frustrating, especially if they happen frequently. It starts driving you crazy and making you lose a lot of games. Don’t break your keyboard yet. Keep calm and give this guide a shot. I promise the results will amaze you.

In this guide, you will find step-by-step instructions on how to get rid of stuttering in Starcraft 2 once and for all and have the smoothest experience possible. It’s vital to follow every step of this guide to get optimal results.

How to fix Stuttering on Starcraft 2

Install the latest version of DirectX

DirectX is a set of components that allows software, especially games(Starcraft 2), to work directly with your video and audio cards. It’s crucial to have the latest version of DirectX and ensure that your current one is not corrupt and isn’t the cause of stuttering on Starcraft 2.

Navigate to Microsoft’s DirectX official download page, choose your preferred language and click the download button.

Where to download the latest version of DirectX for Windows

Once the file downloads, go ahead and run it and complete the installation.

Optimize Startup apps and processes

Many apps that you don’t even use may be running in the background of your computer, eating up your valuable resources like ram and CPU. You don’t want that because that means fewer resources for Starcraft 2 to run smoothly on your PC, which could be one of the primary sources of stuttering. So let’s start disabling every single application that we are not using from running in the background.

Go to the Windows search bar and type Background Apps, and click on it.

You should now see a list with all the apps running in the background. Go ahead and toggle off the option “Let apps run in the background“, and that’s enough to automatically disable every single Windows app from running in the background.

Next, go to Startup Apps, and you’ll see a list with your apps which automatically start when your pc boots up. You want to eliminate most of them, if not all.

How to disable startup apps in Windows

Unistall Bloat and Disable Apps

Before we get into uninstalling apps from your PC, please go ahead and uninstall Skype & OneDrive if you are serious about playing Starcraft 2 on your PC. These two apps won’t stop starting up again and again even if you completely disable them. They are constantly running in the background, eating up resources and creating backend connections to the internet that could cause Starcraft 2 to stutter. If you really need OneDrive and just manually use it from the website, you don’t need the app to do everything for you automatically.

Apart from these two, I want you to navigate to Apps and Features and look for programs you don’t use anymore or barely use that you think are running in the background. Once you identify those, go ahead and uninstall every single one.

Uninstalling apps and debloating Windows.

Uninstall and Reinstall GPU Driver

A corrupted graphics card driver is one of the most common sources of stuttering in Starcraft 2 that I’ve discovered while optimizing clients’ PCs. New files are supposed to overwrite the old ones when you update your GPU drivers, but sometimes, this won’t happen, causing file conflicts and corruption. What you want to do here is to remove any files related to your graphics card driver from your computer and then perform a clean installation of the new one.

What I want you to do is to go ahead and download Display Driver Uninstaller and save it. You can find the download links at the bottom of the page.

Download DDU

The next step is to download the graphics card driver. Depending on your GPU, navigate to either AMD or NVidia website and download the latest ( recommend ) driver. Please do not download the optional driver because sometimes they may not function as expected and cause issues later.

How the official download page for NVidia drivers looks like.
How the official download page for AMD drivers looks like.

Now that you have both DDU and GPU drivers saved on your pc, I want you to go ahead and boot into safe mode. To do that, follow the steps below:

Go to the search bar and type System Configuration, and click on it.

System configuration Windows.

Navigate to the Boot tab, and tick the option Safe boot.

Open this guide on your phone, or get the E-book because you won’t have internet access on safe mode.

Click Apply, OK, and then Restart.

How to run DDU

Properly Unistalling Graphics Card Driver

After the restart, you should be in a Safe Mode environment.

Go ahead and look for the Display Driver Uninstaller folder you previously downloaded, extract it, and run the file as administrator.

How to run DDU, next step.
How to run DDU, 3rd step.

Once the program is up and running, go to the top left corner and click on Options, scroll down, and tick the option “Prevent downloads of drivers from “Windows Update”……..”. You may notice that we already paused Windows updates on a previous step, but we are doing this to ensure nothing goes wrong. So, once you tick that option, click OK and close.

How to uninstall graphic card's driver in Windows  using display driver uninstaller(DDU).

How to uninstall graphic card's driver in Windows using display driver uninstaller(DDU).

On the right side, click on the option “Select Device Type” and choose GPU, and under that, select the manufacturer of your GPU(NVIDIA, AMD, INTEL).

Press “Clean and do not Restart“.

How to uninstall graphic card's driver in Windows using display driver uninstaller(DDU). final step

This process will take a few minutes to do its thing, and it will let you know when everything is done with a pop-up message. Your screen might flash during the process, and you may notice that if you have more than one monitor, the second and so on may not be working, but that’s fine since it will get back to working in the next step.

Once you get the message that the uninstallation has been completed, press Yes to exit the program.

Now you want to boot back to normal mode, so you will have to revert to the previously changed setting. To do that, follow the steps below:

Go to the search bar and type System Configuration, and click on it.

Navigate to the Boot tab, and untick the option Safe boot.

How to boot into normal mode if you are on Windows safe mode.

Click Apply, OK, and then Restart.

Install Graphics Drivers

Your PC doesn’t have a driver installed right now, so let’s install the one you previously downloaded.

Go ahead, run the driver file you downloaded(Run as administrator), and follow the on-screen instructions. Make sure to tick the option “Perform a clean install“.

Installing NVidia Drivers

The installation process of Nvidia drivers

Unmark any feature you don’t need, and make sure to tick the option “Perform a clean installation” and click on Next.

The installation process of Nvidia drivers, choosing the best options.

Now your screen may start flickering and going black for a few seconds. That’s normal, no worries. Once the installation is completed, restart your PC and come back to this post, so you start optimizing the Nvidia settings.

Installing AMD Drivers

Installing AMD GPU Driver
Installing AMD GPU Driver and configuring installation settings.

Optimize GPU Driver settings

Now that you have installed a fresh copy of the GPU driver optimizing its settings is time. Below, you can find two detailed guides on optimizing GPU settings for both Nvidia and AMD to help you fix stuttering on Starcraft 2.

Reset or Revert Overclocks

If you tried to overclock your CPU or GPU lately and the stutters in Starcraft 2 started at around that time, maybe it’s time to reset/revert your overclocks to make sure it’s not the cause of it.

Enable Hardware-Accelerated GPU scheduling

If you are streaming Starcraft 2 on OBS or Streamlabs, then don’t enable this setting because it can cause lags and micro stutters in your stream and recording. Or enable it and if there are no issues with your stream, keep it enabled. If you notice anything weird, turn it off and restart your PC.

On the other hand, if you are not streaming Starcraft 2, turn it on because it will give you extra performance and frames per second in Starcraft 2.

How to enable Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling in Windows.

Best Power Plan for Starcraft 2

I’ve tested every single power plan available, and I can say that the one working the best, especially for gaming, is the one in my files. I do not create it, it’s the Bitsum Highest Performance Power Plan, and it works well for intel systems, AMD systems, and laptops and should help you fix your stuttering issues on Starcraft 2 and any game.

I’ve created a script on my files, so all you have to do is run it and import the power plan and make it the active one. Also, I recommend deleting the rest of the power plans because sometimes Windows will automatically switch to another one.

Install and Use ISLC

You’ll find many different theories about this app on the internet. It does not tremendously help your overall system performance, but it helps a little bit with system and driver latency and makes things just a little bit snappier. Hence, it makes it worth running on your system to make Starcraft 2 run a little bit smoother.

You’ll find ISLC in my files as well, so you don’t have to download it, so go ahead and open the folder, run ISLC as administrator, and do the following:

  • Set Wanted Timer Resolution to 0.5
  • Tick Enable Custom Resolution
  • Tick Start ISLC minimized and auto-Start monitoring
  • Tick Launch ISLC on user logon
  • Change the “Free memory is lower than” option from 1024 to any of the values below(depending on your RAM)
    • Take half of your RAM and multiply by 1024. Put the number you got on the “Free memory is lower than” option.
    • For example, if you have 16 GB of RAM installed on your computer, the number should be 8192. ( 16/2*1024). You can check the table below with all the values.
  • Once you’ve done that, click on Start and that’s it.
  • ISLC will start running automatically every time your PC boots up, so you don’t have to worry again about it.
YOUR RAMVALUE TO ADD
2GB1024
4 GB.2048
8GB4096
16GB8192
32GB16384
64GB32768
ISLC: Free memory is lower than values
How to configure intelligent standby list cleaner for Windows depending on your RAM size.

If after restarting your PC, you notice that “Current timer resolution” is not 0.5ms exactly, and it’s a number like 0.4988, do the following:

Run CMD as Administrator and type the following commands one by one:

  • bcdedit /set useplatformtick yes
  • bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes
  • bcdedit /deletevalue useplatformclock

If the last one gives back an error that the value doesn’t exist, that’s fine. If the value doesn’t exist, it’s already off.

Rebuild Performance Counters

Run the Rebuild Performance Counters file from the files you downloaded. Sometimes performance counters get corrupted, so it’s a good practice to rebuild everything. Make sure to run it as an administrator.

Best Registry tweaks for Starcraft 2

You’ll find a .reg file with registry tweaks in my files above. These are the most basic stuff you may have seen before but believe me, and it’s like the 95% that matters from the registry tweaks you can do. The following registry tweaks are included in the file:

Best registry tweaks for Starcraft 2 to fix stuttering and lags.

Disable Sound Enchancements

Windows sound enhancements sometimes can cause major stuttering and freezes in games like Starcraft 2.

Find the little sound icon on your toolbar, right-click on it, and click Sounds.

Best Sound settings for Windows 11.(1)

Navigate to the PlayBack tab, and disable any sound device you are not using. Do the same for the Recording tab.

Go to your active sound devices, right-click, Properties, Enhancements, and tick the option Disable all enhancements.

Best Sound settings for Windows 11.(2)

Change Quality to 24 bit 48000hz.

Best Sound settings for Windows 11.(3)

Click Apply and OK, and that’s pretty much it about the sound settings.

Update BIOS to the latest version

It is always recommended to be running on the latest BIOS version since manufacturers provide frequent updates(every few months) to address issues and fix stability problems, stuttering, fps drops, lags, or even enhance performance in some cases. So definitely one of the things we want to do here before optimizing any of the bios settings.

In the following link, you can find instructions on how to update your bios to the latest version.

Enter flash mode into BIOS

Optimizing BIOS Settings

Since this guide is primarily for people who are not PC experts, I will keep everything straight. We will only change basic settings that make the most significant difference in Starcraft 2 and other games as well. If you want more advanced BIOS / RAM tweaking, you can join my Discord or follow me on Twitter to get complete guides for more advanced users. BIOS settings are crucial for stuttering issues, so please, pay close attention to every step.

Optimize AMD system BIOS Settings

  • Make sure XMP or D.O.C.P is set to Profile 1 / Enabled.
  • Precision Boost Overdrive: Enabled
  • Re-size BAR support: Enabled
  • Find the options for FAN controls, and if you have a water cooler make sure to set it to 100% at all times, as well as optimize the rest of the coolers to work on higher speeds to keep temperatures as low as possible.

Optimize Intel system BIOS settings

The Intel settings below can be found under your BIOS’s CPU features/CPU configuration/Overclocking/Ai Tweaker tabs. If it’s your first time entering BIOS, it may take you some time, but I am pretty sure you will find them easily.

  • Make sure XMP or D.O.C.P is set to Profile 1 / Enabled.
  • Intel Speedstep: Disabled
  • Intel speed shift tecnology: Disabled
  • Intel C-state: disabled
  • Turbo Mode: Enabled
  • CPU Ratio Offset when running AVX: 0
  • Re-Size BAR support: Enabled
  • Find the options for FAN controls, and if you have a water cooler make sure to set it to 100% at all times, as well as optimize the rest of the coolers to work on higher speeds to keep temperatures as low as possible.

Once you are done with all the settings, you can go ahead and save these settings as a profile and then find the option to Save & Exit BIOS.

Check & Monitor Temperatures

There is a good chance that stuttering on Starcraft 2 may be due to your either CPU or GPU overheating. Especially your CPU, if it gets past a specific temperature, it will immediately downclock itself, and that can cause significant stutters and FPS drops.

So a good practice would be to download HWINFO and OCCT , perform a stress test on your CPU and check the temperatures on HWINFO. If you notice temperatures going extremely high, it might be time to clean up your PC case, add extra fans, or apply some thermal paste.

Deep scan for Malware or/and Miners

One common issue I’ve encountered while doing my PC optimization service on other people’s computers is that they have miners and sometimes even malware running on their computer, and they haven’t even noticed. Hidden crypto miners and malware, apart from eating up your CPU and GPU resources, also create backend connections from your PC to other servers or PCs to transfer data. So if you have stuttering in Starcraft 2 and games in general, this is something that you should take a look at ASAP!

Apart from your internet connection and computer resources being used, there is also a high chance that your gaming accounts, bank accounts, cards, and any personal data you have stored on your PC will be used by someone else(and not for a good cause).

So, what I recommend doing is downloading Malwarebytes. You can get the free version or the 14day trial. After the free premium trial ends, you can still use Malwarebytes free version. Keep in mind that the free version doesn’t provide real-time protection. It’s only valid for manual scans. ( If you want to be safe on the internet and can afford it, you can get the premium version and then disable Windows defender.

Install Malwarebytes and then open it. Click on Scanner -> Advanced Scanners -> Configure scan, and select the option scan for rootkits and also, on the right side, select all your drives and click on scan. This scan may take a lot of time, but it can save you from very unwanted situations.

How to remove viruses and malware from your computer to fix Starcraft 2 stuttering

Once the scan is done, quarantine everything and restart your PC.

Disable automatic scans, and you should be good to go!

If you get the full version, you won’t have to worry again about viruses, malware, etc., infecting your pc. If you keep free, you’ll have to do some manual scans from time to time to make sure everything is OK.

Repair/Reinstall Starcraft 2

Sometimes Starcraft 2 files get corrupted and can cause many issues like stuttering, FPS drops, unstable FPS, or even crashes and disconnects from servers. Go ahead and do a complete repair of the game files without interrupting the process, or even better, if you got the time, do a fresh installation of Starcraft 2.

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