Run a process with a Higher or Lower CPU Priority in windows vista or XP

By Techblissonline Staff Updated on 31st October 2014 Filed Under: Windows Tips, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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In Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000 or 98, any program (process) can be set to temporarily run with a higher or lower CPU priority.When a higher priority is set for a process, windows will make available more resources for it.

Why is the option to set priority, for processes, in windows task manager useful?

The option to set priority in task manager of windows Vista, XP, 2003, 2000 or 9x is very useful to tell the windows operating system, which program or process should receive more or less CPU priority.for example, this will help you to speed up a heavy resource demanding program, temporarily, to help it finish faster.

How to make a Process run with a Higher or Lower CPU Priority in windows?

  • 1. Right click on the Task bar on your windows desktop
  • 2. Choose Task Manager
  • 3. Select the Processes tab.
  • 4. Click “Show processes from all users” button at the bottom. Note that this option may not be present in earlier versions of windows like Windows XP, windows 2000, etc. and by default, they display all processes. Hence skip to step 6 below in windows XP or 2000.
  • 5. Click the Continue button for UAC prompt
  • 6. Right click the process whose priority level you want to change
  • 7. Choose “Set Priority” –> desired priority level (it can be Real time, High, Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal or Low) for the process.Note that Real time is the highest priority, and Low is the lowest priority.
  • 8. Click Change Priority button on confirmation pop-up.
  • 9. Close the Windows Task Manager.

Now this process will run with the CPU priority you set in step 7, until the process is closed or you log off or shutdown windows (windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 or windows Vista)

Limitations of priority setting option in windows task manager:

However note that the CPU priority setting you make for a process will only last as long as the process is open. If you close the application (process) or restart the computer, then the CPU priority will return to normal for that process automatically.The priority setting will also not work on processes that are services or on some programs that have services, for example, antivirus programs.

You can also set processor affinity in windows vista for your applications or processes, to optimize CPU utilization.

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6 Responses to “Run a process with a Higher or Lower CPU Priority in windows vista or XP”

  1. Nice tutorial. generally I don’t change the process priorities, but pretty useful one.

  2. [...] affinity to control what processor(s) an application or program (process) runs on.Similar to running applications or programs (processes) with a CPU Priority, you can set processor affinity to have an application or program to use only one CPU, while you [...]

  3. The system uses a thread’s priority to decide which process will run an any given time, not to assign CPU time. When choosing between a number of non-waiting threads the one with the highest priority will ALWAYS be chosen. Priority should be used to solve specific problems, not in an attempt to improve performance.

    Changing the priority of any process to “High” or “Real Time” is potentially dangerous. Some vital system threads run at a lower priority than this and they could be starved of CPU time. This could cause a system lockup.

    Do not attempt to change the priority of any system process as this can cause serious problems.

    Do not change the priority of any process unless you are aware of the implications.

  4. I have a Vista PC built as a music source from which I use the SPDIF output to drive a Hi-Fi. I cannot get drop out free playback without raising the program priority to high. This does not appear to give other processes a problem so I would like to change the priority on a permanent basis, if possible, otherwise I have to reset this every time the system is used (I do note Larry Miller’s comments). The drop outs do not seem to be at peak usage of CPU or available memory, so increasing system performance by changing CPU etc seems a bit like shooting in the dark. The vista performance index is 5.0 which is set by video card performance – all others being higher.

  5. Process Lasso is GREAT due to its automatic lowering of the priority of background processes when the CPU load is high. You can also set permanent process priorities and things like that. Try it out.

  6. Hi,

    how do it automatically on restarting of these processes?

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