Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As a developer, once or twice a week I run a full build on my XP dev machine.

This will run at 100% cpu for 30 or 40 minutes, making my machine useless for anything other than basic browsing & email.

Is there anyway I can specify that for a given process (i.e. a command prompt) it and any process spawned by it will have a lower priority, say taking up no more than 60 - 70% of CPU, leaving my machine more usable.

I don't mind the build talking 30 or 40% longer, if I still have use of my machine while it's running. I'd love to be able to throw more hardware at the problem, but that isn't under my control.

share|improve this question
up vote 10 down vote accepted
start /low app.exe

Seems like it would do what you want. You can only start applications in the Low class though, not in BelowNormal.

share|improve this answer
It does EXACTLY what I want, thanks rix. – Binary Worrier May 20 '09 at 8:46

I just did this:

  1. Spawn command prompt (start -> run -> cmd)
  2. Task Manager, Right Click command, goto process
  3. Set priority to Low
  4. Ran a program from the command prompt
  5. It had low priority

You might be able to make a shortcut or a wrapper program to spawn a prompt that's already low so you don't have to do the juggling.

share|improve this answer

A new process will inherit the priority of its parent. EG: launching the Command Prompt and lowering the priority of it will then impact all child processes created -- Cant use the command line to run something? Then lower the CMD prompt and lauch EXLOPRER to give you GUI access to whatever :)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.