How to force Windows to only use a specific core/cores in the CPU to run an application

How many times have you been frustrated because your computer was laggy/unresponsive simply because one of the applications was hogging up all the CPU resources? Even with multi-core CPUs today, there are many applications that will take up as much of your CPU’s resources as they possibly can. Usually, Windows does a good enough job of managing resources but there are times when you wish you could limit the amount of resources that an application uses. Well, that is exactly what we are going to be teaching you guys today.

We are going to be using Windows 8 to show you how to do this, but the method is pretty similar in Windows 7 as well. Firstly, you need to open up the Task Manager. You can do this by right clicking on the Task Bar and selecting the option. Two other ways of doing this are pressing ctrl+alt+delete or pressing ctrl+shift+esc.

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Now, in the screenshot below, you can see in the Task Manager that the CPU Utilization is pretty much 100% which means all the cores of the CPU are running at or close to their maximum performance.

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Now, we go to the “Details” tab and see which of the applications is taking up most of the CPU’s resources. As you can see, in this particular situation the application “prime95” is taking up around 97% of the CPU’s resources.

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Now this particular computer has a dual core CPU; 2 physical cores with 4 logical cores. So, we will be limiting the applications usage to only one of the cores, so that the other core is free to give its resources to the other applications. To do this, we right click on the application in the Details tab whose usage of CPU cores we want to limit (in this case, prime95). After that, we select the option “Set affinity”.

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Now, a window opens up which asks you to select which of the CPU cores are allowed to run the application. Initially, all the cores are selected by default, (This computer is a dual core system, but there are 4 cores showing up here because Windows shows all the logical cores aswell). We have deselected 1 core (both of its logical cores) so now the application will only run using the core that has not been deselected. Just select “ok” after you have deselected the required cores to proceed.

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As you can see now, the CPU usage of the computer has dropped to around 50% since the prime95 application is only using one core of the CPU now.

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And there you go folks, now you have successfully limited the usage of your CPU cores on an application. Now any time an application is taking up too much of your CPU’s resources, you can force it to only use the number of CPU cores you want it to use.

If you guys have any questions regarding this tutorial, do let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you out.


Abdullah Akbar

Abdullah Akbar Shafi is currently doing Software Engineering And he writes on Gadgets and Technology as his interest.
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