How to Set CPU Priority to Prefer Foreground Apps on Windows 8.1

If you have been having troubles working on a slow PC, the problem might be that your system has a lot of background applications that are slowing down processing of data. That said, Windows 10, or Windows for that matter, has a lot of processes running in the background that are helpful to the correct functioning of your system. However, these processes also take up a lot of RAM and can effectively slow down your computer.

These background processes include everything from security functions to easy search functions that see how you use your computer and set it up for optimal performance. Now, this is in the benefit of your computer, but sometimes can cause a lot of hassle when you are working with heavy software. It is a common issue and has an easy fix.

What is Processor Scheduling?

One of the best and easy ways to fix your computer’s performance is to set up processor scheduling, which is in fact to change CPU priority to prefer applications running on the foreground. 

Processor Scheduling is the service that manages the priorities between foreground and background applications running on your computer. The more programs you run, the slower the processing. 

Effectively, if you allow the processor to focus on the foreground applications, you are allocating its bandwidth to have priority over the apps running in the background over the ones running in the foreground. In order to optimize your processor’s capabilities, you would need to set the priority to the applications on the foreground. This is highly advised if you use hefty softwares on a daily basis. 

So, how do you set CPU priority to prefer foreground apps on Windows?

How to set CPU Priority to Prefer Foreground Apps on Windows?

There are multiple ways you can set CPU priority to prefer foreground apps on Windows to boost performance and productivity. These methods are somewhat easy to implement and only take a few instructions to get right. 

So, you can do either of these three things,

  1. Change the CPU priority from the Control Panel.
  2. Set CPU priority to preferred applications by default.
  3. Modify Win32ProipritySeparation to set up CPU priority.

If you want an easier method, the first way is the best and will not cause any major changes to your system while allowing you to set up CPU priority with ease. 

Method 1: Change CPU Priority from the Control Panel

It is super easy to adjust the performance of your system using the control panel. You only need to follow these steps to ensure your system works just like the way you want it to.

1. Open Control Panel.

2. Search for and click System and Security.

3. In System and Security, select System.

4. In System, pick out Advanced system settings.

5. Navigate to the Advanced tab and click Settings.

6. In the Performance Options window, under the Advanced tab, tick the box for Programs to Adjust the best performance of it.

7. Then hit Apply and OK

Once done, your Windows will automatically allocate processor resources to applications that are running on the foreground. 

Method 2: Set CPU Priority to Preferred Applications by Default

If you do not wish to work too much and are not confident about changing core functions of your system, this method is for you. Simply prioritizing certain applications over others using either third-party softwares, or manually changing up settings using the control panel, could be the way to go for you.

For an easier method, simply search on Google for Advanced SystemCare. This free software easily allows you to change CPU priorities to help manage running applications better. 

1. Download, install and run Advanced SystemCare.

2. Then under Toolbox, find out and click Process Manager.

3. In IObit Process Manager, under Processes, right click the application to Set Priority High for it.

Once done, your CPU will automatically set the priority for the application or software to high.

Method 3: Modify Win32ProipritySeparation to set up CPU Priority

This one is a tricky one, but also gives you absolute control over how your CPU allocates memory. To change the value to PriorityControl in the registry editor requires a bit of know-how. DO NOT attempt this if you are not confident. However, these instructions may help you get the desired results.

1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run box.

2. Type in regedit in the box and click OK to go to the Registry Editor.

3. In Registry Editor, follow the path below to find the PriorityControl HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\PriorityControl

4. Under PriorityControl, on the right pane, right click the windows32PrioritySeparation and Modify the entries.

5. In Edit DWORD Value, set the Value data as 26 (38 for Decimal) and then hit OK to save the change.

Once done, this change will allow higher priority for foreground applications over the ones running in the background. 

Similarly, if you want background applications to have a higher priority, simply change the DWORD value to 18, 24 for Decimal.

Because it doesn’t mean that you must choose “Adjust for best performance of programs”. For example, if you use your PC as a server or if you constantly have to run background services, such as printing or disk backup etc, and you want them to respond faster, you can share processor resources equally between background and foreground programs by choosing the other option, ie. Adjust for best performance of Background Services or changing Win32PrioritySeparation value data as 18.


Adjusting your Windows settings can really help you boost performance, and eventually, productivity. If you are having trouble with a slow PC, there are multiple methods you can use to help your case. Possibly the best way to ensure you do not run into these sorts of problems is to make sure your PC specifications meet the amount of work you prefer to use your computer for. For example, if you work with 3D graphics, a high-end processor and high RAM is necessary. Whereas if you only use your computer to write documents, you obviously do not need that powerful a PC. If you still see your computer slowing down, setting CPU priority might seriously help you out. 

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