Don’t overload Windows, limit CPU usage to certain applications

When we talk about the processor, we know that this unit is made up of several cores. By default, Windows ensures that all programs can take full advantage of all CPU cores to achieve the best possible performance. Therefore, when we use different programs simultaneously, the processor power is distributed equally among all of them. But not all programs require the same use of the processor, so in these cases we can limit their use so that the heaviest applications have the greatest access.

In order to avoid reaching these uncomfortable situations and performance problems, we can use an application that allows us to control or limit the use of memory and the processor in our PC to certain processes. One of the most famous and used for this purpose is Battle Encoder Shirase, easy to use and free software. Similarly, we can limit CPU usage using Windows Task Manager

Battle Encoder Shirase, reduce CPU and RAM usage

Once we run the application we will have to choose the process on which we want to limit the maximum CPU use of our equipment, which also reduces the use of RAM. To begin, we must download “Battle Enconder Shirase” from the developer’s website. The program is portable so it does not require installation to work. Once executed we will see a list where all the processes that we have open on the PC at the same time appear. That is why it is important that we have launched the application in question so that we can limit its use.

By checking the process from the list, we can now specify the amount of CPU we want it to consume. To do this, click on the »Limit This» button at the top right and a confirmation window will appear stating «BES will limit the use of the CPU for the next process. Do you wish to continue?”. We click on «Yes».

We already have the running application enabled because we can already specify the maximum amount of CPU that we want it to consume. To do that we must set the limit by moving the slider at the bottom that shows us the amount of memory available. When limiting the movement, it must be taken into account that, if we mark, for example, -30% the maximum consumption of the selected process, we will be saying that the consumption of the processor (which also affects the use of RAM) for that application it will be 70% of what is available at this time.

Battle Encoder Shirase set limit by moving slider

These settings will be effective in the application while it is open and running in the background. Later, once we close it, we must eliminate the limitations by clicking on the button Unlimit All. It also has other options such as being able to freeze a process until we want it or indicate the priority of several processes.

Battle Encoder Shirase remove limitations

As we can see, it is a very interesting application. Instead, one of the limitations of Battle Encoder Shirase is that we will only be able to limit the use of RAM and CPU memory to a maximum of 3 processes at the same time while the programs are running in the background, which should be enough to give the rest of the programs we are using more performance.

Use the Windows Task Manager

If we don’t want to use any third-party programs, Microsoft allows both from Windows 10 and from Windows 11 limiting CPU usage, for an application such as setting a priority for processor usage by a program. These options are not easy to find because they are a bit hidden. In this way, less advanced users are prevented from making modifications that end up reducing the performance of the system. We will find these functions within the Task Manager.

To access this, the most common way is to use the key combination “Ctrl + Alt + Del” and then select the Task Manager.

Limit CPU usage to one application

Once in the Task Manager, we select the application on which we want limit processor usage. Right click on it and click on “Go to details”. In case this option does not appear as enabled, click directly on the “Details” tab.

Task manager go to details

Once in the “Details” tab, it will automatically mark the process we want to limit. Click on it with the right mouse button, and then select the option “Establish affinity”.

Task manager set affinity

This will open a new window, where we can see as many boxes as cores our processor has, so in each case the number will vary. As Windows is always going to allow each application to take full advantage of the processor, all the boxes will be checked. Therefore, what we will have to do is uncheck on which processors we want to limit their use. If we uncheck the upper box of “All processors” all cores will be eliminated simultaneously.

Task manager limit processors of an application

Set priority on processor usage for an application

We can also set a priority to use we want a program to do from the CPU. In this way we can configure it according to our needs. Thus, if one program has higher priority than another, in the event that they are executed at the same time, it would use more CPU.

To do this, from the Task Manager we right-click on the process on which we want to establish a priority in the use of the processor. In the menu we select the option “Go to details”. This will take us to the “Details” tab, marking the application we have selected directly in the list. Now, we click again on the right button on it and choose the option of “Set priority”. This will enable another window to the left, where we can choose the priority that we want to assign.

Task manager set priority

Thanks to this process, any program to which we assign a low or lower priority than normal will use all the CPU power except in cases where another application is running at the same time that we have assigned a higher priority. In this way, we can distribute the use of the processor according to the programs we are using.

How to limit RAM usage

As with the processor, it is also possible to limit the use of RAM. Although it is not possible to choose which part of the RAM we want to disable, it is possible to establish a maximum use of it in Windows. This is something we can do from the System Configuration section. To access this, it will be necessary to write msconfig Within the search box we find the lake of the Start menu button. This will bring up the “System configuration”, so we will click on it.

Once this is done, a new window appears where we must click on the tab “Start” that we find in the upper part of it. Later we click on the button “Advanced Options” which will open a new window for us. In it, we find in the upper right part the option of Maximum amount of memory, which is disabled so that the system can make use of all available RAM. To establish a limit we must enable this option by checking the box.

Advanced boot options and limit RAM

This will show us the amount of RAM available in our system expressed in Megabytes. That is, if our computer has 8 GB of RAM we will see how 8192 Megabytes appear to us, if we have 16 GB it will be 16384 Megabytes or 4 GB of RAM it will be 4,096 Megabytes, to give some examples. From this section, we can limit the amount of memory either by writing the amount in numbers or by using the up and down arrows. The changes will take place once we have restarted the computer.

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