Mar 122008

If you regularly multi-task while you are working at your computer, but some of the applications you use require more horsepower than others to work effectively (for example using Adobe Photoshop along with Word or other less demanding programs), you may want to consider setting a custom priority for the high-demand applications.

Priority is how the operating system determines how to share the processor time among applications. Most applications default to the ‘normal’ priority, so by setting your high demand application higher, you can increase its performance when multitasking.

Follow this procedure to set priority for individual programs in XP

Load the program you wish to change the priority for.Now right click on task bar select Task Manager. Select the applications tab and highlight your program in this example i am using vmware server console. Right click the program and select ‘go to process.’

Now right click on the highlighted process and choose ‘set priority.’The higher you set the priority above normal, the more CPU time the program will steal from other applications when you are multitasking.

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  7 Responses to “How to Set priority for individual programs or processes in XP”

  1. thanks for information but what is realtime in set priority?

  2. Anybody know how to pre-configure a program, so that it will launch with a lower/higher priority?

  3. hi, i am having thesame problem as you, if anyone at all can help me (and you) then i would be very greatful.

    PS the program is BSR screen recorder 4 and it isputting my voice out of sync with the video so i set the priority high like it said to do so and it set it back.

    thanks all, Tom

  4. You have lots of programs in ur computer!!!

  5. Thanks! Great resource!

    I’d appreciate an “advanced topic” which shows how to set the process priority more granular.

    For ex. I use process explorer from sysinternals, and even it allows better, but only 8 and 10, not for ex 9.

    I like to “tune” my system for what I’m doing, while getting other things done — like an install in a VM gets a slightly lower priority so it doesn’t interrupt my “foreground work” yet gets done.

    Or that – may I say – damned Acrobat, that seems to suck cycles when nothing is going on – If I don’t want to close it, I set it to “idle” priority.

    Thanks from Ward Christensen, inventor of Xmodem & BBSs

  6. I’m also interested in knowing how to set a default configuration for a particular program so that it will always launch with a specific priority.

    As for those of you asking about ‘real time’ priority. I suggest you do not use it unless you have a computer performing a single critical task. Setting a single program to ‘real time’ will slow the rest of the PC to a crawl. It is only important if your PC is interacting with another piece of equipment and millisecond long delays will affect the results.

  7. This is the answer:

    A. It is possible to start an application at a priority other than normal, however if you run applications at high priority THEY may slow performance. Priorities range from 0 to 31, 0 – 15 are used by Dynamic applications, such as user applications and most of the operating system
    parts, 16-31 are used by real time applications like the kernel which cannot be written to the page file. Normal priority is level 8 (NT 3.51 normal was 7). The full list is

    * realtime, priority 24
    * high, priority 13
    * normal, priority 8
    * low, priority 4
    * abovenormal 10 (Windows 2000 only)
    * belownormal 6 (Windows 2000 only)

    To start an application at a priority other than the default use the start command, e.g.

    start / , e.g. start /high winword

    To do the same thing from a shortcut just use:

    cmd /c start /

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