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setting process priorityToday’s computers have hardware that do some pretty astounding work. This is especially true when comparing today’s hardware with the hardware from 5+ years back. However, today’s workloads have also been increased alongside the power increase of hardware. In that respect, people have been trying to find ways to make applications run more efficiently on their machines in order to get maximum performance.

However, there’s one technique that is rarely used. In fact, it’s much different from the common advice to close applications you don’t need. So what is this secret technique?

What Is Process Prioritization?

Process prioritization has existed in Windows for quite a while now, but it hasn’t really been used by most people because it’s hidden in a pretty technical corner of your computer. Whenever a process, or running application, has an assigned priority, the system will try its best to allocate its resources (which will be primarily the amount of CPU power) to fit the process’s needs based on its priority. So theoretically, the higher the priority, the faster the application should run.

How To Do It

There are two ways in order to do this. First, you can change the priority of processes through the task manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del) by right clicking on each process and changing the priority. However these changes disappear once the process ends, and it takes time to apply those priorities to multiple processes. You also can’t create “rules” for new processes. Here’s where a nifty little program comes in.

About Process Prioritizer

Process Prioritizer makes managing process priorities easier than with just the Task Manager. With Process Prioritizer, you can essentially create rules for Windows to follow for any processes that you choose. You can even choose to change the priority of system processes if you run the program as an administrator, but only do it if you’re 500% sure what you’re doing. However, you’ll need to install it first in order to make changes.

Installation

For installation, you’ll need to go to this site, scroll to the very bottom, and hit the last download link. Go through the setup wizard as normal, and you should now have an entry in your start menu. Go ahead and click on it, and a tray icon should now appear. Right click on it and select Open to start the configuration.

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The Program

As you can see, the window isn’t exactly stylish, but for a fairly administrative task you can’t really ask for much in that department. There are a couple of tabs for configuration, and each tab only has a certain option.

setting process priority

The “Operation” tab allows you to choose how it should update the process priorities. I would recommend leaving it at the default setting as it’s the fastest without using up a lot of CPU power.

The next four tabs simply allow you to enter in the names of processes for each level of priority. Real-time is the highest, and Idle is the lowest. Note that putting in process names in the Normal tab won’t do anything unless the operating system launches that process at a different priority by default, which I wouldn’t recommend touching.

setting process priority

Also, when entering processes, don’t forget to add “.exe” to the end. So for example, you can add “chrome.exe” to change the priority of Google Chrome. You can find out the name of the process you’re looking for in the task manager or in the tab labeled “Current Processes“. In that tab, you can confirm that the targeted process has changed priorities.

Conclusion

Like I mentioned above, the positive effects are theoretical. There isn’t a guarantee that it’ll bring much, but it’s always worth a try. Through personal experience I’ve seen that processes that don’t have a graphical part to it (like a GUI) have the most benefit from it. Chrome sometimes benefits from it, being faster one time and it feels like it’s stumbling over itself another time. It’s always best to try it out as you might get some much appreciated speed.

What’s your favorite way of speeding up your system? What has worked, and what hasn’t worked that you thought might have? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

  1. Potr
    January 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    All comments here are from nubees.... If you do not want to damage yo9ur pc, just stick to the basics of letting windows do what it does.

    • Scutterman
      January 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

      I've been using GameBooster for well over a month now and never had any problems at all. If you have any specific examples of programs like this damaging Windows I'd like to hear about them so I can see if it warrants not using it in future.

  2. Johnny Boi
    December 15, 2011 at 2:00 am

    the process manager i use is called process lasso, it auto prioritizes processes depending on the need and sets high priority to programs needing it, very useful, much like game booster or gamefire, seriously, i was playing mw3 on my laptop and it was quite laggy, after i installed process lasso it was reeeaal smooth, ive used pretty much all these, trust me process lasso works very very well

  3. Ben Rogers
    December 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

     I use the application named "Prio" which shells into Task Manager and allows your processes to set default base priority classes.
    Prio also makes some improvements to the Networking tab and will also add a new tab for Services.

    An excellent application I have been using for a while.

    It can be downloaded from the following (odd-named) website:
    http://www.prnwatch.com/prio.html

  4. Scutterman
    December 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    A friend pointed me in the direction of GameBooster ( http://download.cnet.com/Game-Booster/3000-18512_4-10913645.html ) recently, and I highly recommend it.

    It shuts down unimportant services and processes to allow more cpu to go to the important things (Minecraft in my case). When you're done, just hit the big "restore" button and everything is returned the way it was.

    You can configure it, but I've found great results with the default settings, literally download (install maybe? Can't remember), run it, and press one button to go.

    I've noticed considerable improvement when playing, and I can imagine it would be good for any computer or task that's lagging a bit. I also use it when compiling code, for example, and have noticed a compilation taking about 5 minutes previously now happens in one or two

    The only downside I can think of is it doesn't keep an eye on processes created after the boost was started, so I've sometimes had to restore and reboost to keep the performance high. This is such a minor task it doesn't bother me.

    • Danny Stieben
      December 4, 2011 at 2:27 am

      Great find, Scutterman! This reminds me of a similar app that AMD made to try and achieve the same result. Not sure what happened to it now...

    • Aibek
      December 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      I second GameBooster

  5. Anonymous
    December 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Looks interesting. I want to make sure this isnt another junkware application

    • Danny Stieben
      December 4, 2011 at 2:28 am

      This is not junk. It does help with certain applications, though results aren't guaranteed. Anything that doesn't crash the system is worth a try in my eyes. :)

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