Why is Zwift on PC so terrible?

Why is Zwift on PC so terrible? It is massively resource intensive, takes me about 8 minutes to setup for a ride. Today as soon as it loaded to the point of being able to ride it disconnected from all bluetooth devices then crashed, loaded it again, but again it disconnected from all bluetooth devices. Restarted the laptop and it did it again. restarted Zwift a fourth time (it’s been nearly half an hour at this point) and it happened again. Then when I gave up and tried to exit again I got a “this program is not responding” from windows 11. Hopeless.

Honestly the last update 1.1.6 has made me have less stability, much worse connectivity - especially my HR monitor which now barely works.

If you can make an app work on my phone that has 1/4 of the power of my laptop you can do better than the current PC app. It is genuinely terrible.

Is there a way to go back to an earlier more stable version? Otherwise I don’t know why I am wasting my money.

I’m afraid you’ve got some localised issues going on there as there’s been no mass reporting of PC related issues during recent updates.

Your load time indicates your laptop is bogged down.

Are you using an SSD as opposed to mechanical drive. That’s an absolute must.
Are your running 3rd party anti virus type apps? They are unnecessary and will bog down performance.

The update 1.1.6 was the launcher. It wouldn’t cause an in game crash as you’re reporting.

Again I’ve not heard of mass disconnection from BT devices which again implies something isn’t quite right your end.
If you’ve the option of doing a system restore on your laptop I’d take it.

It’ll give it a good clean up and restore you to the best possible setup to get things working.

And the reason your phone is quick is because operating systems are much quicker on phones and they have impressive processing power. Plus it’s a more streamlined version of Zwift. For example you’ll only get a basic profile on Zwift whereas on your laptop you could get the ultra profile.

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Yeah sounds like a problem with the laptop, I run on a laptop with no problems, maybe worth a clean install of W11

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Thanks for the detailed response, my laptop is at the minimum specs for Zwift including an SSD. I think those specs need to be revised if the issue is hardware related.
Is there not a way to make a lite version of zwift for PC? or a lite mode? The resources Zwift is pulling seem to be excessive.
I didn’t know the last update was the launcher. I cant seem to find the version number of the actual software in my list of installed programs. It only lists the launcher. Even things like running a launcher and the software simultaneously seems an inefficient way of doing things.

The laptop is less than 6 months old and isn’t running any third party antivirus. It shouldn’t be too cluttered at this point.

I’ve just quickly trialled casting Zwift to my TV from my phone and it appears this will be ok. I’ll do an actual ride tomorrow as maybe this is a better experience, despite a few drawbacks.

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It’s true that Zwift is very resource intensive. It’s not unusual for Zwift to be the most resource-heavy app that people run on their computer, which makes it a stress test for hardware issues and overheating that you don’t necessarily experience when running other apps. When you have either a system fault or application crash, you should take a look in the Windows Event Viewer to see if it provides a reason. If overheating is the cause, a laptop cooler can help. The amount of time it’s taking you to get to the point where you can ride sounds excessive unless the laptop has a very slow CPU or storage. Bluetooth failure could also be caused by exhausting the CPU.

New computers are often loaded with garbage apps (“bloatware”) from the manufacturer, so a clean Windows install sometimes helps (using Microsoft’s media rather than the PC manufacturer’s reimaging process). Disabling Microsoft OneDrive or excluding the Documents\Zwift folder can also help.

There is no “lite” version of Zwift for PCs, but the way Zwift runs on a phone is essentially a “lite” version compared to what some PCs can offer. I doubt that they will release a less resource hungry version of the app. The trend has been toward increasing application requirements. The Makuri world in particular requires more resources than the others.

If you share info from the Event Viewer you might get more advice about what’s going on.

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You do not say what laptop but here are some knowns about laptops:

  • 10th & 11th Gen on integrated graphics have issues
  • In my experience, any laptop 5 or more years old will have BT issues. Brands or spec does not matter…I have used many in the past.
  • Laptops do not compare to desktops with regards to capability.

I have Lenovo 10th gen i7 w/1660Ti (3 yrs old) and BT works great and have no issues getting 60+ fps most of the time (Makuri areas are slower). This laptop does better than a i7 7700 w/1050Ti desktop. Not even close.

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yeah well, im getting more and more the feeling that its just a bad app… just had a BSOD???
will uninstall and reinstall and maybe go back to gamin.

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Blue screen of death is normally a hardware related issue such as bad memory etc…
I’ve not known Zwift cause it.

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See my comment above and please share anything found in Event Viewer

Bloatware would be my first guess as well if the laptop has an SSD.

My basic laptop specs are:

Chassis & Display Cosmos Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz 45% NTSC LED Widescreen (1920x1080) NKNP50DE0000G00378

Processor (CPU) Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 10750H (2.6GHz, 5GHz Turbo)

Memory (RAM) 16GB Corsair 2666MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 8GB)

Graphics Card NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti - 4.0GB GDDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1

1st Storage Drive Samsung SSD 870 EVO, 2 TB, Form Factor 2.5”, Intelligent Turbo Write, Magician 6 Software, Black

1st M.2 SSD Drive

Crucial P2 CT2000P2SSD8 2 TB Internal SSD, Up to 2400 MB/s (3D NAND, NVMe, PCIe, M.2) External DVD/BLU-RAY Drive 8x Slim USB 2.0 External DVD-RW

Bluetooth & Wireless GIGABIT LAN & KILLER™ Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 M.2 GAMING + BLUETOOTH 5.0

That’s a pretty sweet laptop. It should be good for Zwift. What do you see in Event Viewer? You might also want to go into the Nvidia settings and lower the refresh rate to something around 60Hz.

Yeah,I have no problems with it, sits on a music stand just to the right of the bike while I’m zwifting, so it’s there should I need to do anything during a ride

Thanks guys, bloatware isn’t the issue. I got the laptop with Win10 and did a clean install of Win11 straight away.
Overall I think the min specs specified to run zwift really are the MIN!

I can’t afford a fancy new laptop so I’ll just have to cast my phone to the TV

If you’re considering a purchase to get you running better than I’d go for a dedicated PC.

Way cheaper than a laptop & upgradeable if need be.

Pair it with a decent GPU and you’ve got Zwift with the ultra profile in 4k quality.

The difference between that and casting from your phone is like night and day.

Why not troubleshoot what’s going on with the laptop when the application fails?

If your display is close enough, you’ll probably get better results from using an HDMI cable with the phone rather than screen casting.

I’m not sure there is all that much to troubleshoot tbh.
The laptop is new, running lean as I can have it and I can’t afford new PC or laptop right now.

I’ll try again with the laptop and have a look at Event Viewer after. Zwift is just stretching it to it’s limit I guess.
The phone + casting was sub par. The casting froze then failed altogether after about 30 mins.

If the laptop is overheating, a laptop cooler might stabilize it at minimal expense. If the laptop is overheating, it may be throttling the CPU and causing the game to stall out. That’s why I think it’s possibly worthwhile to check for thermal events.

The phone with an HDMI cable would probably avoid any slowdowns due to screen casting performance problems.

You really need to list your laptop specs…“New” does not mean much. I see way less than stellar (i.e., crappy) new laptops for sale everywhere.

8 minutes to load, even for an old spin disk, is really slow. Did you clean up the crapware that normally comes with new PCs?

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First things first, uninstall zwift and reinstall it again.
That fixes your issues of connectivity in most cases.
Then go to the manufacturer website for your BT chip/dongle and download their official driver, not the windows automatically installed one.

A new laptop just means that it is new, not that it is powerfull.
Zwift is a game, and as such you need a gaming laptop to cope with more than a basic profile.
To clarify: I run a ryzen 5800x overclocked to 5ghz and a 3070ti graphics card, i can barely hold 60 fps on makuri.

The reason for this is certainly poor programming, as the GPU isn’t even working at 50%.
So while you ARE correct in that zwift is terrible on PC, it’s still better than appleTV seing as you can achieve 144fps at ultra 4k on the other maps.