Monitor, manage, and control CPU usage of individual programs/processes with Process Tamer

Process Tamer is a program that allows you to control how much CPU one specific program/process uses. We all have encountered programs that allow us to “set CPU priority” for that specific program (i.e. FormatFactory). Process Tamer is a program that works in a similar way with the only difference being that Process Tamer can control CPU priority for all programs instead of just it’s own. In other words, Process Tamer allows you change the “CPU priority” of programs that are using too much; it helps you prevent program X from locking up your computer by using too much CPU.

Process Tamer monitors the current programs/processes running on your computer:

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When it finds that one program/process uses more CPU than the “CPU usage high trigger” value (by default it is 70 – i.e. 70% CPU usage) PR will automatically lower the CPU priority for that program to low. The CPU priority will remain at low until the program uses less CPU than the “CPU usage low trigger” (by default it is 8 – i.e. 8%). Once the program uses less CPU than the amount defined by the low trigger the priority of the program is restored to its normal settings. Both “CPU usage higher trigger” and “CPU usage low trigger” can be found under “Configuration”:

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In addition to the CPU usage monitoring and lowering feature, PR allows you to manually change the priority of a program and/or set a rule for it so every time that program is running PR will change its CPU priority as per the rule you defined:

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or

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Rules you can set for individual programs are:

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The difference between “Priority” and “Explicit Rule” is that whatever you change “Priority” is temporary – next time the program runs it will return to its regular priority. However if you set an “explicit rule” for the program, every time the program runs it will be changed to what you set.

Two other fairly nice features PR has are the ability to “boost foreground process to high priority and “protect foreground process from CPU taming”:

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“Boost foreground process to high priority” is a feature that allows Process Tamer to automatically change the CPU processing priority of the program/process you are currently using (i.e. the window is active) to High Priority. This way if some other background program/process (i.e. a program/process that is on but is not being actively used by you) decides it wants to compete with the program/process you are actively using for CPU usage, the program you are actively using will be allowed to use more CPU resources and therefore your work/play/whatever-you-are-doing won’t be disturbed or slowed down.

The other feature, “protect foreground process from CPU taming”, makes it so if you have a program/process running and you are currently using it (i.e the window is active) then PR will not lower/raise its CPU processing priority until you minimize the program window/stop using the program. This feature can be particularly useful if you are doing something like playing a game or watching a movie – you don’t want PR to lower the CPU process otherwise your entertainment experience will die.

You may even consider turning both “boost foreground process to high priority and “protect foreground process from CPU taming” on because, depending on what you are doing, they can complement each other well.

Here is a screenshot of the full configuration settings you can manipulate if you are wondering:

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Overall Process Tamer is a great program – there is only one minor hiccup with Process Tamer: the registration process. You see Process Tamer is offered by DonationCoder.com – a website where developers feature their freeware software. DonationCoder employs a unique software distribution system: you must get a registration code when you first download the program (you will get it for free). This registration code will last you 6 months. After 6 months you must get another registration code (it is still free). This new registration code will again last you 6 months. After the second 6 months, you must get another registration code (it is still free). This new registration code will last you a lifetime. Just the price you pay (or lack thereof) for great freeware software.

If you find the multi-step registration process annoying you can always donate to DonationCoder. Once you donate to DC, they will issue you a lifetime long registration code that will work for all the applications on DonationCoder.

Since getting Process Tamer is a little bit more confusing then the normal download and install method I will walk you through it:

  • Register on DonationCoder. Registration is free and a one time ordeal. If you already have a DC account you just need to login.
  • Request a registration key for Process Tamer.
  • Copy the really long registration key you see on your screen:

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  • Download and install Process Tamer.
  • When prompted click on “Enter New License Information”, paste in the key you copied earlier and click “Accept”:

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6 months down the road you can access the registration window again (to enter your new key) from “About”.

I know the registration process is annoying but it is a business model that allows developers to continue to provide freeware software – the more people visit DC the more support the developers get via donations.

Enjoy. If you have any problems you are always free to ask for assistance by posting below.

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23 comments

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  3. Steven Freedman

    @Ashraf: You comment that Process Lasso can be run as a service and Process Tamer can not be run as a service. Do you know if this is still true? I would love to use PT but I need a process that will work for my kids who use the same PC and log in as different users.

    Thanks — and thanks for your good work!

  4. RobCr

    I am not a big fan of adding to the complexity of the OS.
    I like ‘KISS’ and generally do not have a lot of programs running at once.
     
    But on a less negative note, some of you may be interested in this tidbit (did the d in the middle used to be a T in that word ?)
    This is copied from a web page -
    If you don’t want to download a big fancy program, you can actually make one yourself very easily using Visual Basic runtimes (you don’t even need VB to do this).
    Here’s what you do:
    Open up Notepad (Start, Run, “notepad” (OK)). Depending on how much memory you have, put the appropriate values in.. 
    Mystring = (80000000)
    Save it as “Memory.vbe” (including the quotes!). Close as many programs as you can, then run (double click) this handy little script to free your memory whenever your computer is feeling sluggish.
    . . .
    PS I thought I had seen it without spaces ?
    This is from another web site -
    Open up Notepad
    Type in MYSTRING=(80000000)
    Save the file as MEMORY.VBE (or RAM.VBE if you like…just remember the .VBE)
    Make sure you save the file to your DESKTOP.
    Just double-click the newly created file on your desktop whenever your PC seems sluggish. It will give your RAM a much needed boost.
    . . .
    PPS I am not pasting links, as that appears to trigger long delays(or loss), whilst awaiting moderation.

  5. Bigun

    Ashraf:

    I read your article on “Process Tamer” in its entirety and reread a few of the sections a second and third time. My comments and questions based on your article are not intended to be sarcastic or to be a put down in any way. What I am asking for is that you give your personal findings and thoughts about how well the program works aside from just listing straight facts about the program and comments made by the program’s author. You may think that you answered one or more of my questions in your article. You may have, I just did not get it.

    Under what circumstances would you suggest running “Process Tamer” as a matter of course? By that I mean under what circumstances would you have the program open when Windows is booted and remain open throughout the time that the computer is used before shutdown is initiated. Would you suggest this protocol be used whenever a computer is expected to perform normal tasks or that the program be reserved for those times that you think that you will be taxing the computer’s resources especially heavily ?

    One place in your article you mentioned changing the priority of a process and (either by intention or because that is the way the program works) bypassing the Task Manager’s warning that such changing a priority can have negative consequences. Specifically what negative consequence do you think might occur?

    I think that the only time that I had a negative consequence following a priority change of a process is when I later opened a program that was known to place a high demand for the computer’s resources every time that it was run . If this occurred and the computer locked up, it has been my guess that the computer’s resources were completely used up and that there was no release of needed resources from any of the other programs that were running. Also during this time the resource hog maintained its high demand for resources rather than slowing down its execution and cutting back on its high need for resources. The avalanching decline of free computer resources resulted in the computer freezing and requiring a manual reset.

    In years past when the process all of the computer’s resources being bound to running programs occurred I tried using a program from Symantec (Norton) called “Computer Guard” or “Resource Guard” or some similar name. I know that Symantec quit distributing this program as part of its “System Works” suite. During the time that I used the Norton program and became aware of impending computer crash, I think that the use of the “Guard” program helped me avoid a frank crash about 50% of the time. When a crash was avoided, it was necessary to immediately reset the computer to prevent the possibility of another crash. This might have been the case because too many other resources continued to be bound by programs. I believe that when the “Guard” program cut in, it did so because the program sensed an impending crash by monitoring the computer’s declining resources and seeing them approach zero. My guess is that the crash was avoided because resources were released as “Guard” forced programs to shut down. The computer reset was needed because some resources were still bound to programs and the computer operations were unstable due to the forced shutdown of certain processes.

    As an aside, if I tried to avoid a computer crash when I saw that the above situation was occurring by shutting down its many programs as I could I found that often the computer still crashed accessibly because when the programs were shut down resources were not returned to the resource pool.

    Does the Process Tamer program work in a similar way to any of the above scenarios or does “Process Tamer” work in a manner such as a “memory cleaner” works? What percentage of crashes are avoided when “Process Tamer” is used within your editions of Windows?

  6. h_warriner

    Ashraf; by number, 8 above – by wheezer, same problem:

    Here it is December, and I’m getting the same error. Was any investigation ever done? I got a file of something like 86k (recollection) twice. And both gave the win 32 exception. Thanks. howard

  7. Rob

    I am using the latest version of FF.
    I am very bad (Buffy), in so far as I keep a lot of Tabs open.
    Both FF 3 and the latest version crash a few times a day.
    Also FF uses a lot of memory, and a lot of cpu.
    I installed Process Tamer, mainly to control FF cpu usage.
    I let PT run with it’s default settings.
    I wandered away for a while, and when I came back FF was in the Sys Tray (probably compliments of ‘Tray It’), but was no longer listed in PT.
    It was not in Task Manager either, though the FF Process was running, with 0 cpu, and half the earth’s memory usage(normal for FF).
    I had to restart Windows to fix it.
    Probably could have killed the process directly, but I figured the FF restore of sessions might work better if I restarted windows.
    After restart (Tabs were restored, whew!), I configured PT, to NOT ‘Tame applications based on cpu usage’
    What I will do is, use PT to set FF to low priority, and use it to bring up the FF priority, when I need it.
    I may(later) get braver and use PT to auto boost the priority when FF is the active app.

  8. hgblackbird

    How do I get the “Tamer Tray” running? When I double click on it, it turns GREEN,.. & says running….. for a max of 2 seconds,…. then goes back to RED,… NOT RUNNING… I hope that it is an easy fix….

  9. sunkumarspace

    i seconded process lasso have been tremondous and it has been updated frequently and also the cpu priority management here is excellent and also option for switiching of its gui,in fact in i have noticed 6 months back in proceess tame forum some one recommending the process lassso thenn i used it and surprised to see the updatyes really very fast updates and so far so good .

  10. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Lone Wolf,
    Thank you! I ran across Process Lasso a couple of months ago. However I forgot what it was called and what company made it: been looking for it since I posted about Process Tamer but without success… until now.

    Giving it a quick overview, I would have to say Process Lasso and Process Tamer are very similar. In my opinion Process Lasso has a more complicated GUI yet offers just about the same features as Process Tamer. I have not done extensive testing on both to compare the actual performance, but assuming they are similar (by reading feedback on them) I would have to say I prefer PT because it has a more “simple” look to it. The only one feature I noticed PL has that PR does not (unless I missed it) is the ability to “run as a service” – i.e. being able to control the processes of all users with one installation as opposed to one.

  11. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    No joke… so many DVD rippers lately. I don’t even have any DVDs to test them with properly which is why I have been skipping out on them; trying to get one or two off the internet (legal ones).

  12. wheezer

    Tried again. Got the same message. Maybe it’s the wireless connection I’m using at home. It’s really slow.

    If I remember I’ll try again next week from work. The connection there is much better.

    And thanks Ashraf for all the reviews and recomendations. I first found your reviews on GAOTD, but now prefer to come here instead. After all, how many DVD rippers and converters does a person need? :-)

  13. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Mouser,
    Thank you for coming here :). I will be sure to let you know if I have any suggestions. There is one suggestion that is on the tip of my tongue…ugh.

    Liam,
    Jedi mind tricks – they are always deadly.

  14. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Liam,
    Ya… was debating which one to write about. I figured if I write about Tidy I must write about its Vista friend also. Didn’t feel like writing about two programs atm. InshAllah soon. Okay I just lied. One tidy start menu coming up. Soon =P.

    Thanks for the heads up for the Gravatar thing – I forgot to remove that text. I was editing comments template yesterday.

    As for your last point:

    DonationCoder employs a unique software distribution system: you must get a registration code when you first download the program (you will get it for free). This registration code will last you 6 months. After 6 months you must get another registration code (it is still free). This new registration code will again last you 6 months. After the second 6 months, you must get another registration code (it is still free). This new registration code will last you a lifetime. Just the price you pay (or lack thereof) for great freeware software.

    :P

  15. Liam K

    You decided to write an article about this instead of Tidy Start Menu? :D

    I just noticed the “This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.” below the comment box; what is it?

    Back on topic, I think you should clarify that you can get a non-expiring license after 1 year from your initial signup from this page: http://www.donationcoder.com/Keys/index.php