cpu priority

How to Set Your CPU Priority So It Prefers Foreground Apps

When you are working or using a program in Windows 10, you might find the program crash or freeze up because background apps are taking up too much of the CPU. This tutorial will help you resolve that issue by showing you how to adjust Windows 10 settings so foreground apps you are working on receive priority.

Why do I need to set CPU priority?

Some people set background processes, so they only start when they are needed. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have numerous processes running in the background when you open an app to begin working. With each new app you open, Windows opens several others. These are in addition to the apps that are already working from the moment you start your computer.

If you open Task Manager, you may be surprised to see not only the number of apps operating in the background but also the amount of processing power they consume. Setting Windows to allow foreground apps priority when it comes to processing power will improve the ability of those apps to function.

Two Methods for Setting CPU Priority

Use the Control Panel

The Control Panel is the easiest method for assigning CPU priority to apps you are actively using.

Step #1

Type “Control Panel” into the search bar without quotation marks. Click on the Control Panel option.

control panel option

Step #2

Click on “System and Security” in the Control Panel menu.

system and security in control panel

Step #3

Click on “System” and then choose “Advanced System Settings.”

advanced system settings

Step #4

In the System Properties window that opens, make sure that the “Advanced” tab is selected. Under the “Performance” subtitle, click “Settings.”

settings button under performance subtitle

Step #5

When the Performance Options window opens, click on the “Advanced” tab. Under the “Processor scheduling” subtitle, Make sure to select “Programs” under “Adjust for the best performance of:” Now, click “Apply” and then “OK.”

check program in advanced tab

Doing this tells the computer you want it to give priority to the programs you have open instead of any background processes that might be occurring.

Editing the Registry to Assign CPU Priority

Unfortunately, Windows 10 offers users few options for assigning CPU priority. Although editing the registry is a valid method of setting CPU priority, it should only be done with extreme care. Make sure you perform a full backup of your system before attempting to edit the registry. Even if you do this correctly, you may experience unwanted side effects.

Step #1

First, press the [R] key and the [Windows] key simultaneously. The run box window will open. Type “regedit” without quotation marks into the run box and hit  [Enter]. When you are warned about the app making changes to the registry, click “Yes” to continue.

regedit in run box

Step #2

From the list on the left select “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and then “SYSTEM.” Then select “CurrentControlSet” and “Control.”

select currentcontrolset then control

Step #3

Finally, choose “PriorityControl.” From the list that appears on the right, click on “Win32PrioritySeparation.”

click win23priorityseparation

Step #4

In the window that appears, the current value data is set to “2” by default. Change this value to “26” and click “OK.”

edit value data

Step #5

Restart your computer by clicking the Power icon found in the Start menu and selecting “Restart.”

restart computer

Adjusting your computer settings so that foreground apps get priority when it comes to processing power is relatively straightforward. You can use either of the two suggested options or use both of them if you wish.