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 /<priority> <application>, e.g. start /high winword

To do the same thing from a shortcut just use:

cmd /c start /<priority> <application>

Be warned that if you run applications at high priority may slow performance as other application get less I/O time. (See also, "How can I improve I/O performance?"). To use the /realtime option you have to be logged on as a user with Administrator privileges.

To modify the privilege of a currently running application use Task Manager

  1. Start Task Manager (Right Click on the Start Bar and select Task Manager)
  2. Click on the Processes tab
  3. Right Click on the required process and select "Set Priority"
  4. You can then select a different priority
  5. Close Task Manager

It is also possible to increase the priority of whichever application is currently in the foreground, as opposed to the background processes.

  1. Start the System Control Panel Applet (Start - Settings - Control Panel - System)
  2. Click the Performance tab
  3. In the Application Performance tab move the arrow
    - None - The foreground application runs the same as background applications (quantum value of 6)
    - Middle - The foreground application has its priority increased to a quantum value of 12, background applications stay the same.
    - Maximum - The foreground application has its priority increased to 18, background applications stay the same.

See also, "Thread priority."