How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

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Throughout this article, we’ll show you how to set a program to high priority in Windows 10. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? When the PC is running multiple programs at once and fails to execute the task at hand. This freeze usually happens when the background programs take too much of the computer’s processing power.

Simply put, your PC fails to realize that your calculation in Excel is far more important than the files getting moved in the background. Well, we haven’t yet progressed this much in terms of technology that a computer would somehow know which exact application has more importance, but there are some considerable solutions.

In this scenario, your best bet is to set the priority of a program to a higher level.

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

We all know that machines execute computing tasks with the help of the processor. Setting a program’s priority and increasing it allows the PC to give more processing power to a particular app. On the other hand when you decrease the priority, your PC limits the processing power being consumed by that application.

Now, learning how to set a priority of a program can be quite handy for a Windows 10 user. That is exactly what we are going to be focusing on today.

The best part about changing the priority of a certain application is that it is temporary. The changes you make only last until you turn off your PC. After it turns back on, you can expect the priority settings for every program to be back on default.

This saves you from the trouble of making things back to normal after every time your prioritized computing is over with. Now, before we start our tutorial, let’s give you an overview of the grades in priority settings.

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Priority levels in Windows 10 programs

You’ll find the below six priority levels in Windows 10:

  1. Realtime
  2. High
  3. Above Normal
  4. Normal
  5. Below Normal
  6. Low

Currently, your PC is running every program on the Normal priority level. At this level, the processing power is being equally distributed between the multiple programs.

However, if you wish, you can modify this distribution and choose certain programs to consume more/less processing power, thus having a lower priority and lower CPU usage (lower processor resources) for a temporary time period or even permanently if that’s your choice.

Ideal priority level

Now, with so many priority levels, your eyes must be set on the top one: the Realtime priority. Don’t be too surprised if we tell you that this is the only priority level that must be warned against.

Users often tend to make the mistake of putting their programs on Realtime priority at the wrong time which leads to the PC giving 100% processing power to a single program.

Sounds cool but this is not exactly the best way to distribute processing power. Setting such a high priority level can cause errors in your computer’s operation and some rare cases even cause your keyboard or mouse to stop working!

Therefore, before setting this level, we advise you to find out whether Realtime is safe for your computer and software, or not.

When changing priority, you have other levels such as Above Normal or High to choose from. You can set any of these as long as you know that all of your system’s processing power is not taken up by a single program. Other than this safety precaution, you’re all good to go.

Changing priority settings through Task Manager

There are several ways to set priorities straight on Windows 10. We’ll start with the simplest method in our tutorial which is also the best one for getting this done.

  • To start, click on the Start button on the far bottom left by default. Once the Start Menu opens up, type “Task Manager”. Then open the Task Manager that shows up on the side;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • Now you’ll find a “More Details” option on the bottom left in the Task Manager window. Click there;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • Here you’ll notice several tabs on the top, starting from “Processes tab”. Look for the second-last tab: “Details”. Click on it;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • Now you’ll find the list of programs running on your PC. Select your desired program by right-clicking on it. Choose the “Set Priority” option;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • A small menu will open on the side through which you can change the priority level of that program. Click on the preferred priority level;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • A confirmation dialog box will pop up from Windows 10. Click on “Change Priority” to authenticate your decision.

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

After this process, the chosen program will have a higher priority level and you’ll find it to be performing better than before. You can do the same for irrelevant programs and set them on a low priority whenever you want more processing power left for more important others.

This is the easiest and most popular way to change a program’s priority level. However, there are other ways to get this done as well. Let us show you guys another method.

Changing priority levels through Command Prompt

In this set of instructions, we’ll be showing you a command-based method of opening a program right before its priority level. Follow the instructions given below.

  • Just like in the previous method, head on down to the Windows Start Menu and type “Command Prompt”. Access the Command Prompt by clicking the “Open” button.

  • Once the Command Line launches, simply type or paste the command below:

start “” /AboveNormal “C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

Note: You can change the highlighted words in the command as you desire. The AboveNormal represents the priority level while the notepad.exe represents the program name. For example, you can change it to High and msword.exe to launch MS Word at a high priority level.

  • Simply hit the “Enter” button after typing the command and watch your chosen program launch in your desired priority level.

Changing priority levels of a running program through Command Prompt

Unless you’re okay with copy-pasting or typing commands, you’ll surely find the first method to be better. In case you have a program opened and do not want to re-launch it all over again after changing its priority level, there is a way out for you.

You can change the priority level of a running program through Command Prompt too. Here’s how you can do that.

While your desired app is already running, launch the Command Prompt the same way we showed you previously. Paste the following command there:

wmic process where name=”ProcessName” CALL setpriority “PriorityLevelName”

Now, substitute “Process Name” with the name of the running program you want to set the priority levels of (e.g msword.exe). Secondly, change “PriorityLevelName” with your desired priority level. After you do this, the command will look something like this:

wmic process where name=”mspaint.exe” CALL setpriority “Above Normal

Hit enter and voila! Your already running program will now run on the priority level you’ve set. Through this trick, you won’t have to exit the program to change the priority settings and lose progress.

Now, we planned to give you a guide that would be more than enough for you to learn everything about setting priority levels. Furthermore, if you’re tired of having to do everything by yourself then this next method is for you.

Changing priority levels of a program permanently

Yep, you read that right. It is possible to permanently change the priority levels of a specific program on Windows 10 as well. Unfortunately, you’ll have to go for third-party software to get this done since Windows 10 does not have any built-in feature that allows you to enable permanent changes in terms of priority levels.

You can find dozens of such programs that are supported by Windows 10. The most popular and preferred program for this job is Prio (Process Priority Saver).

Prio is a well-known solution to change the priority levels of a program permanently. The best thing is that it simply aligns itself with your task manager. This means that it is not an entire program of its own, instead, it is more like a simple plug-in that takes no more than 1MB of your storage.

After you download it from here, install it by following the straightforward step-by-step instructions displayed by the installer.

Once the installation is complete, restart your PC and then repeat the task manager method of changing priority settings. This time after you right-click on a specific program, you’ll find a “Save Priority” option. Checking on it will lead to a permanent change in the new priority settings.

To summarize, all you have to do is install the program and change your priority level settings like you normally do. The only difference is that now you’ll be given the option to make your changes permanent.

Setting CPU priority through the Control Panel

Tired of your running programs getting affected by the background processing? We’ve got your back. Before we wrap up, here is a quick last tutorial of how you can make Windows 10 give priority to foreground programs.

This method is a bit different than what we did before, especially since it does not involve changing the priority levels specifically.

  • Open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start Menu;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • Click on the “System and Security” option displayed on the first position;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • Select the “System” option;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • You’ll find the “Advanced System Settings” in blue font on the side panel here. Click on it;

  • System Properties will open in a Window. Click on the “Advanced” tab and then on “Settings”;

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

  • The Performance Options will be shown on your screen. Click on the “Advanced” tab once again;

  • Under “Adjust for best performance of:”, you’ll find two options: Programs and Background services. You have to check the “Programs” option. Click “Ok” to save your changes.

How to set a program to high priority in Windows 10

After this, you’ll find your system giving importance to the programs you’re working on instead of the computation that is happening in the background, wasting precious system resources.

Wrap Up

At this point, you can tell that changing priority levels is no big deal. Other methods give you the same result such as making changes in the Windows Registry. The registry method in particular is complex and risky whereas the above-mentioned list of methods is straightforward and easy.

Furthermore, we suggest you only make these changes when you have to. Your computer’s processing power is equally distributed to every program that is running on it. Accordingly, constant changes and disruptions might lead to issues in your PC’s stability.

Therefore, you should refrain from changing app priority levels to either too high or too low. Keep the balance maintained and you’ll find your system properly focusing on the task at hand instead of what’s cooking in the back.

That is all for today, now you know how to set a program to high priority Windows 10! If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it with your friends and family.