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Chapter 14. Tuning Windows Vista’s Perfo... > Setting the Program Priority in Task...

Setting the Program Priority in Task Manager

You can improve the performance of a program by adjusting the priority given to the program by your computer’s processor. The processor enables programs to run by doling out thin slivers of its computing time to each program. These time slivers are called cycles because they are given to programs cyclically. For example, if you have three programs running—A, B, and C—the processor gives a cycle to A, one to B, another to C, and then another to A again. This cycling happens quickly, appearing seamless when you work with each program.

The base priority is the ranking that determines the relative frequency with which a program gets processor cycles. A program given a higher frequency gets more cycles, which improves the program’s performance. For example, suppose that you raise the priority of program A. The processor might give a cycle to A, one to B, another to A, one to C, another to A, and so on.


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