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Windows 7

Change Process Priorities to Tune Your System

SUMMARY: Determine which processes should get the most attention in your Windows 7 system.

Is a particular program or process running too slow on your Windows 7 system? If another program or process is less essential yet taking too much of your CPU time, you can lower its priority and optionally raise the priority of the more essential process.

1. Right-click on an empty area of the Windows 7 Taskbar.

Note that changing process priorities should be a last-ditch resort. While this may work, it also can cause your system to become unstable and possibly crash. Save all open files before trying this, and be sure to read the disclaimer.

2. Select "Start Task Manager".

(Or skip steps 1 and 2 and just press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.)

3. The multi-tabbed "Windows Task Manager" should appear. Make sure the "Applications" tab is selected.

4. If the process you need to change is linked to an application, right-click it and choose "Go to Process" from the pop-up menu that appears.

5. Otherwise, click the "Processes tab" to find a process you need to change.

6. Right-click a process and select "Set Priority". If you cannot find the process that needs its priority changed, click the "Show processes from all users" button. You may have to confirm your action via User Account Control.

7. From here you can select from the following possible priorities (highest to lowest):

* Realtime
* High
* Above Normal
* Normal
* Below Normal
* Low

Changing the priority of a process running on Windows 7

8. If you are sure you want to change the process priority, click the "Change priority" button when prompted.

Confirming changing a process priority

Note the warning! "Changing the priority of certain processes could cause system instability."

Note that depending on the process and your administrative rights to your machine, you may not be able to change a particular process's priority.

Return to the Windows 7 page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.