How to Set Priority in Task Manager on Windows (2022)

Many computer applications such as games and designing tools require massive computer resources, which some PCs might be unable to provide. One of the best methods to boost your computer’s performance is to change the priorities of different processes.

How To Set Priority In Task Manager On Windows 10

Windows 10 provides a Task manager application to help users set different priority levels for various programs. You can increase the priority level of an application to indicate WIndows to allocate more resources towards that application.

In some cases, users might fail to set the priority for an application from the task manager and get an access denied message. If the message comes while setting the priority of a specific application, it is best that you make no changes there as it will affect your computer.

However, if you wish to set priority levels for multiple programs, this article can help you with how to set priority in task manager. Let’s get started!

What Is Process Priority? Why Is It Important?

Most computers have no in-built ability to multitask between multiple applications. When you run many programs on your operating system, your computer juggles between them by allocating resources for fixed periods. Even multi-core computers have a limit as to how many threads they can execute at once.

Each of the processes that run on a computer has a priority level which helps the computer understand which application to allocate how much resources. One such resource is processor time. It is critical that the computer budgets the processor time efficiently to keep running multiple processes in real-time.

Prioritizing tasks helps in budgeting the processor time. Each process has a certain level of importance, referred to as process priority. The priority level is set based on how critical the process is for your computer’s operation. Hence, system processes have the highest priority.

Assigning priority levels to tasks allows the computer to protect itself and ensure that the essential tasks of the operating system and computer are not harmed under maximum strain.

What Are the Process Priority Levels?

Processes priority levels help the computer in identifying which process has a higher degree of importance and which has a lower. It is like a ranking system that ranks all processes from high to low, with system processes having the highest priority.

Windows Operating System offers six different priority levels, of which five can be set by the user for various applications.

Low Priority: The lowest priority level in Windows is ‘low.’ The tasks and processes operating at a low priority level are allocated resources only after all other processes and their current tasks are completed.

Below Normal Priority: It is the priority level just below normal. The applications with this priority are allocated fewer resources compared to applications with normal priority. It is best suited for applications with no time constraint and is unimportant.

Normal Priority: It is the average priority level for applications at which most of the applications run.

Above Normal Priority: It is the priority level just above normal. The applications with above-normal priority are allocated slightly higher resources to give them a boost. However, they don’t need to upstage system processes.

High Priority: System processes use high priority levels to ensure that the necessary processes are up and running for the flawless functioning of your computer. It is not recommended for user applications as they may affect resource allocation to critical system processes.

Realtime Priority: It is the highest priority level provided in the windows operating system. The tasks with this priority level run at the expense of any and every other process. Thus, this priority level is reserved for hardware interfacing processes only to ensure the safety of your computer. Running user applications at this priority can easily damage your computer.

We recommend that you use only the normal and above normal priority levels for your applications to ensure that your computer doesn’t crash or run into trouble. It would be best to leave the higher priority level for system processes and the lower priority levels for background processes or minor tasks.

how to set priority in task manager on Windows 10?

  1. Change priority from the Details tab
  2. Change priority using Command Prompt
  3. Use PowerShell
  4. Start applications with a specific priority
  5. Disable/Enable User Access Control (UAC)
  6. Acquire the relevant admin permissions
  7. Boot your computer into Safe Mode

1. Change priority from the Details tab

Setting the priority for a process from the Task Manager is the easiest method. You can simply open the task manager and make modifications.

Step 1. Simultaneously press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager window.

Step 2. Navigate to the Details tab and right-click on the specific process for which you want to modify the priority level.

Step 3. In the open menu, choose Set Priority and select the desired priority level.

Set process priority level using task manager

Step 4. Click on the Change Priority option and close the task manager after applying the changes in the confirmation box.

2. Change priority using Command Prompt

Windows 10 allows users to change the priority level of the processes using the Command Prompt (Admin) software.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type “command prompt” in the search bar. Choose Run as administrator option and open command prompt with full control and permissions. You should log in using an admin account to do this.

Step 2. In the command line of the command prompt, type the following command and hit enter:

wmic process where name="Process_Name" CALL setpriority "Priority_Level_Name"

In the above command, replace “Process_Name” with the name of the process for which you want to change the priority. Also, replace “Priority_Level_Name” with the level of priority you want for the process.

Here is a list of priority level values that you can use:

  • Low: 64
  • Below Normal: 16384
  • Normal: 32
  • Above Normal: 32768
  • High: 128
  • Real-time: 256

For example, if we want to set the priority for the chrome.exe process at high, your command should look like this:

wmic process where name="chrome.exe" CALL setpriority 128
Set process priority using command prompt

Note: Before changing the priority of any process, ensure that the process is running by checking it in the task manager.

3. Use PowerShell

You can modify the priority levels for any process in Windows 10 using Windows PowerShell. You can use the designated priority level values or ID codes to set the priority levels:

  • Low: 64
  • Below Normal: 16384
  • Normal: 32
  • Above Normal: 32768
  • High: 128
  • Real-time: 256

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon and X keys to open the Windows menu. Choose PowerShell (Admin) from the list.

Step 2. In the open PowerShell window, enter the following command:

Get-WmiObject Win32_process -filter 'name = "ProcessName.exe" ' | for each-object { $_.SetPriority(PriorityLevelID) }
Set Process priority using powershell

Replace the ProcessName in the above command with the name of the process for which you nat to set the priority and replace the PriorityLevelID with the ID code for the priority level you wish to set.

4. Start applications with a specific priority

To start any application with a specific priority, you can use Command Prompt.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type “command prompt” in the search bar. Choose Run as administrator option and open command prompt with full control and permissions. You should log in using an admin account to do this.

Step 2. In the command line of the command prompt, type the following command and hit enter:

start “” /PriorityLevelName “Full path of the application file”

In the above command, replace “PriorityLevelName” with the name of the priority level you want to set, for example, “Above Normal.” Also, replace “Full path of the application file” with the complete path of the application on the computer.

For example:

start "" /AboveNormal "C:Program FilesChromechrome.exe"
Start application with specific priority level

The above will run the chrome application with the above-normal priority. Similarly, you can start various applications with different priority levels. Make sure that the process path you have entered is correct.

Windows also allow you to set up a shortcut to allow you to open applications to open each time with the priority that you set. You can do this using a command in the command prompt:

cmd /c start "" /PriorityLevelName "Full path of the application file"

Once you are done executing the above commands, close the command prompt window and check if the application is running smoothly and at higher priority using task manager.

5. Disable/Enable User Access Control (UAC)

UAC or User Access Control is used to protect your computer from any potential damage that might occur when you install any application. It restricts you from installing harmful applications or modifying critical features of the system.

UAC settings are applied to both Admin and Standard user accounts. Standard accounts have the same functionality and accessibility as the administrator account but have limited permissions.

Sometimes, users are unable to set the process priority in the task manager in windows 10 due to User Access Control settings. You can decrease or increase the UAC settings to allow you to set process priority.

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon and R keys to open the Run dialog box.

Step 2. Type control nusrmgr.cpl in the box and click the OK button. It will open the User Accounts window.

Open UAC settings

Step 3. Please navigate to the Change User Account Control Settings. In the prompt, choose to run it as an administrator.

Step 4. Click and drag the slider to the Never notify area. If the slider is at the lower end, it means Windows will decrease the notifications that you get when you try and modify any program or install any software.

Adjust UAC settings

Step 5. Click the OK button to save the settings and close the window.

Step 6. Restart your PC and go to the task manager to set the priority level for your process and check if the operating system allows you to do it.

Step 7. If somehow you are still unable to modify the priority level, follow the above steps. When you reach step 4, raise it towards the Always Notify area instead of lowering the slider.

Once you are finished with all your modifications and the use for the process, make sure to change the UAC settings to their default setting.

6. Acquire the relevant admin permissions

To change the priority in your application, you require to have the relevant admin privileges. If you are logged in using a user account and do not have the administrator account, you need to either provide yourself with the administrator privileges or ask an admin to do that for you.

Step 1. Simultaneously press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager window.

Step 2. Scroll to locate the process you want to modify the priority for and right-click on it. In the open context menu, choose Properties.

Step 3. Please navigate to the Security tab and select the user account name from which you are logged in.

Step 4. Below the permissions box, there is an Edit button. Click it and tick the Full Control checkbox.

Provide full control for process

Step 5. Please click the Apply button to apply the changes and then click OK to save the settings. Please close the dialog box and restart your computer.

Once you have gained the admin permissions, try to change the process priority level for the specific process and see if it works. If not, reboot your computer in safe mode.

7. Boot your computer into Safe Mode

As most know, many of the Windows problems get fixed once we boot the computer in safe mode. Your Windows operating system starts up with a few vital programs and drivers in safe mode. It ensures that no third-party app or modifications to the system affect the performance.

Step 1. Power off your computer.

Step 2. Once shut down completely, turn it on while continuously pressing the F8 key before the booting starts.

Step 3. It will display you the Advanced Boot Options screen. Navigate to the Safe mode option using directional keys as your mouse might not work on this screen. Hit Enter.

Step 4. Once your PC starts up in safe mode, open the task manager and try to set the priority for the process again.

If you are able to set the priority without any trouble, then go ahead and boot it by the normal method. It should work flawlessly.

What Are the Effect of Setting the Priority of any Task?

All processes are listed in the processing queue according to their priority level. When we change that priority level of any process, its position in the queue is changed. Tasks and processes with higher priority get a prioritized allocation of system resources such as CPU or processing time and memory. Hence, higher priority tasks execute faster.

But, if you assign higher priority to too many tasks, it invalidates the whole prioritizing hierarchy as all processes now have the same priority. It will cause your computer to crash or freeze as the operating system is unable to differentiate between genuinely vital processes and mundane or non-essential ones.

Thus, it is recommended that the best option is to leave the process priority alone in the vast majority of circumstances. If it is necessary to set the priority, ensure that the changes are minor and you only apply the higher priority to one or two tasks at any given time.

Should We Change the Priority of a Process?

We hope that now that you understand the priority levels and how easy it is to assign process priority levels in Windows 10 task manager. It may lead you to ask a few questions such as: Why can’t you raise the priority level of all applications? Is it true that improving performance is always good?

The answer to your initial question is that if you raise the priority level of all applications, the entire creating process hierarchy will go pointless. Setting high priority for all the processes will result in disputes in resource allocation by the operating system and lead to system instability.

You can change the priority of one or almost two processes to above normal priority if it is absolutely necessary. It will enhance the performance of your application without putting the computer at risk.

Ideally, it is suggested and recommended that you do not change the priority levels and instead rely on the in-built features of your resource-intensive applications, such as game mode, to increase the performance of the application.

FAQs

How Do I Set A Program To High Priority In Windows 10?

Windows 10 comes with a task manager that allows you to set a priority for various programs. You can set a high priority for a program by navigating to the Details tab of the task manager and changing the priority for that process. Alternatively, you can use command prompt and PowerShell to change priority for the program.

Why Can’t I Set Priority In The Task Manager?

The task manager in Windows 10 will not allow you to set the priority for a process if you are not signed in as the admin or the control for the user account isn’t turned on.

How Do I Give A Network Priority In Windows 10?

You can set network priority in Windows 10 by modifying the adapter settings. Navigate to the Settings app and go to Network & Internet settings. In the Status section, go to Change Adapter options and right-click on it to choose the specific network adapter for which you wish to change the priority. Go to the TCP/IPv4 item in the properties window and then to Properties. Navigate to the General tab and go to the Advanced section. Clear the current Automatic metric and assign a priority value in the Interface metric. Click Ok and close all windows.

How Do I Set A Priority Level?

You can set the priority level for any process from the task manager by navigating to the Details tab in it. Right-click on the process for which you want to set the priority and click on the Set Priority option. From the dropdown, choose the desired priority level and save the changes.

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