how to make a PC dedicated to two applications for a few hours.

On Win7 home PC, the user wants to use two graphical intensive programs for 4 hours. How can he assign all CPU/Memory allocation only to these programs... in short, is a user able to make the workstation a 'dedicated' one to only one or two application, and mute all other 'unessential' processes from running, be it system or user run?
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Go to Task Manager [Ctrl - Shift - ESCape]

Then go to the Processes tab; right-click on the Process he wants to provide the maximum resources to; and go to Set Priority.     The choices are  Real-Time, HIgh, Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal, and Low.

Since he has two programs he wants to share the resources, I'd set each of them to High.    If there was just one, he could choose Real-Time and it would have almost unfettered access to the system's resources.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
I would go into msconfig disable all startup items and all but microsoft services and then run these 2 applications
25112Author Commented:
thank you- will follow both tricks.

with the priority thing, does it hold it for the session or long term?
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
only for the session
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... with the priority thing, does it hold it for the session or long term? "  ==>  Well, it can be long term, but not doing it through task manager as I noted above.

A couple of follow-up points.    First, the details I gave you above require you to find the Process on the Processes tab.   If may be more convenient to look on the Applications tab for the program you want to set the priority for.    Then you just right-click and select "Go to Process" ... and it will go directly to the Processes tab with the appropriate process already selected .=> just right-click and set the priority as I noted earlier.

If you want this to work long-term (i.e. you always want the two specific programs you mentioned to run in high priority],  just create a new shortcut to run the program via cmd.exe.    You can then include a command-line parameter to set the priority.

e.g. to run Photoshop in high priority, create a shortcut on the desktop with this command line:

cmd.exe /c start "Adobe Photoshop" /High "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5 (64 Bit)\Photoshop.exe"

This will always run the program in high priority.

Note:  If you run the programs in high priority I see no reason to alter the boot configuration (i.e. MSConfig)  ==>  the priority level will ensure the programs have almost exclusive access to system resources, with no need to alter the desired boot configuration.    While these programs are running, other background services will largely be suspended anyway, since the high priority programs will "win" anytime there's contention for resources.
25112Author Commented:
thank you-

you would never suggest to put
cmd.exe /c start "Adobe Photoshop" /High "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5 (64 Bit)\Photoshop.exe"
on veryhigh mode (instead of high), if second program also needed to run alongside, right? if one is in high and other in very high, will there victimization of second program still?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The priority levels are just that -- a higher priority process gets preference whenever there are resource demands.     But the "Realtime" priority level should rarely be used -- that's more for processes that have critical hardware events they must manage, and can result in all lower priority tasks getting virtually no task time.    If you want to give one of the two programs you're looking at a higher priority than the other, I'd assign one to "High" and the other to "Above Normal".     The only way to know for certain how well a different set of priorities will work is to try it =>  It won't hurt anything as you can always re-adjust the priorities in task manager (or close the program and change the assigned priority in the shortcut).
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
By the way, there is no "very high" mode.    As I noted above, the choices are  Real-Time, HIgh, Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal, and Low.

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25112Author Commented:
very helpful- thank you
25112Author Commented:
Gary- just to clarify, when you say Above Normal, does it have to be in brackets.. does the below right?

cmd.exe /c start "A1" /Above Normal "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\"
cmd.exe /c start "S9" /High "C:\Program Files (x86)\S9 9.5\Program\S9_9.5.exe"
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
start "A1" /Above Normal "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\"  
missing the executable and no space in the process priority
start "A1" /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\" /AboveNormal program.exe
start "S9" /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\S9 9.5\Program\" /High S9_9.5.exe"
you don't need the cmd /c if running from a batch file.

START "title" [/D path] [options] "command" [parameters]

start "A1" /abovenormal notepad
start "A2" /high notepad
task manager
25112Author Commented:
thanks for the diagram David..

is that the 'base priority' column? i tried the corrected, version:
start "A1" /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\" /AboveNormal A1.exe
start "S9" /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\S9 9.5\Program\" /High S9_9.5.exe

but it still says 'normal' in base priority. please suggest.

i tried your syntax example for the 2 notepads & it worked as expected as you displayed..

but if i try to make the syntax like the notepad example for the program i am interested in, it still shows as normal: like..
start "A1" /abovenormal notepad
start "A1" /AboveNormal "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\A1.exe"  
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Sorry for the late reply ... was gone all day yesterday.

No, you don't put "Above Normal" in quotes ... but you also don't use a space.

For example, the following will run Photoshop in Above Normal priority:

cmd.exe /c start "Adobe Photoshop" /AboveNormal "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5 (64 Bit)\Photoshop.exe"

and the following will run Notepad in Above Normal priority:

cmd.exe /c start "Notepad" /AboveNormal "%windir%\system32\notepad.exe"

The priority goes BEFORE the path to the executable.

Note that you can also add an argument after the command.  e.g. if you wanted to open D:\My Files\My Important Notes.txt with Notepad in Above Normal priority, this would do it:

cmd.exe /c start "Notepad" /AboveNormal "%windir%\system32\notepad.exe" "D:\My Files\My Important Notes.txt"
25112Author Commented:
Gary- thank you again.

Now, I believe I am following you.

start "A1" /abovenormal notepad
worked fine for me. (task manager confirmed for me)

But the below two
 start "A1" /AboveNormal "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\A1.exe"  
 start "A1" /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\" /AboveNormal A1.exe
did not work (when I checked in task manager, it still just said 'normal')

is there any clause to this? that it will work only in pro OS versions etc? or does it need a reboot or any non MS product need tweak etc

also can you confirm the exact column you chose to show the priority?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Just to be sure, are you running these with CMD ?   You didn't list that in your example lines.

The actual line you should be using is:

C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe /c start "Notepad" /AboveNormal "C:\Windows\system32\notepad.exe"

Looking at your 2 examples:
start "A1" /AboveNormal "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\A1.exe"  
 start "A1" /D "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3\" /AboveNormal A1.exe

Neither shows CMD being used.

The first line looks correct as long as the full path to the executable is correct.   I can't find any reference to A1.exe (Google shows it as a Trojan downloader) ... so I'm not sure what you're attempting to run.    It looks like it may be a component of Dreamweaver -- is that correct?   Does it run okay, but just at the wrong priority?

The second line also seems okay, although I've not tried this with a working directory also being set.    Does this run okay without the full path to the executable?    I don't know if it matters, but I've always used a lower case "d" when setting a working directory [i.e. /d ... NOT  /D].

I'd certainly expect those to work just fine ... at least they do for everything I've tried them with.    Are you sure you're running the main executable for the program you're running?
25112Author Commented:
Gary- your example with Notepad works for me, but not user programs (that is not on C:\Windows\system32 folder)

can you please check with one of your user (non system) programs please.

i was not using cmd because it is from batch program (File).
yes, the executable  is right and works fine.. just the priority does not get assigned.

i even copied cmd.exe to the user folder "C:\Program Files (x86)\Raja\A1 V3.3" and invoked it but that did not help either.

thanks for the /d vs /D tip also. but that didn't help either. so i wonder if will work system programs and not user ones?

now i an admin, and i tried to manually change the priority from TaskManager, as that was something i had not tried yet.. but it fails.. can you please try that for one of your user programs?

thanks again gary-
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I believe you have to invoke a new command processor for this to work correctly [i.e. every shortcut should start with "C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c ", as I've shown in all my examples.    This works for EVERY program I've tried it with ... whether it's a system utility in C:\Windows\System32  [e.g. Notepad, Paint, Calc);  a 32-bit program in C:\Program Files (x86); or a 64-bit program in C:\Program Files.     I've tried with with about a dozen different programs -- everything from Office programs to Photoshop, Acrobat, and a few games.    It works EVERY time ... but I'm also ALWAYS invoking it as I showed you ... with a shortcut I created on the desktop using CMD.

I also have no problem changing any of the priorities in Task Manager ... I simply get a message confirming that's what I want to do =>  but as long as I confirm it, the priority gets changed as requested.

If that's not working for you, see if it works if you run Task Manager as an administrator ==> i.e. go to C:\Windows\System32\taskmgr.exe, right-click, and select Run as Administrator.    See if that lets you change the priority okay.

If so, then there must be some policy that's preventing you from doing it normally.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
There are some programs that have a setting for priority that will override the startup setting you define.on the command line.

from a command prompt start /? will show you the options. as far as /d /D windows is not case sensitive unlike linux/unix variants which are case-sensitive.

C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe /c   starts the command processor and tells it to execute a command
start  -- the command start a program
"Notepad"  - Title
/AboveNormal  priority
"C:\Windows\system32\notepad.exe"   what to run explicitly
if notepad             then it will search the comspec and look for matching files .com/.exe/.bat/.cmd extensions in that order if not found in the current directory it will search the path environmental variable. again going through the .com/exe/bat/cmd search order again.
25112Author Commented:
thank you thank you.

it must be permission issue as you mentioned.. i ran taskmgr as admin and then i am able to change it.

i am the only user on the system, and thought i was admin..
"Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\User Accounts"
does say i am admin.. what else could be causing the permissions issue.

thanks again for both your inputs.start /? will be a good quick reference.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
If you can change it when you run an administrative command prompt; the shortcuts I suggested should also work fine too if you set them to run as admin.    Just right-click on the shortcut; click on Properties; click the Advanced tab; and check the "Run as administrator" box.    Then they should work too.
25112Author Commented:
Gary- thanks.

i did trial and error.. but I got one of the programs to work as you mentioned with the syntax as below:
cmd.exe /c start "desc" /AboveNormal "path to exe"
(I put this in a .bat file, and then right click it and run as Admin).

but the second program also i run the same way with its path.. but it just would not switch from normal? any thoughts what it could be (program specific?)
(both these programs are x86 programs.

when i did a right click and try to set the "Run as Admin" box, it is greyed out.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
If you right-click on the shortcut, then select Properties; and then click on Advanced, you should be able to check the "Run as administrator" box.

You don't need to put the command line in a .bat file => just create a shortcut on the desktop and put the exact full command line as the shortcut.

e.g.  right-click on the desktop; select New - Shortcut;  put in the complete command line [cmd.exe /c start "desc" /AboveNormal "path to exe" ]; the click Next and name the shortcut.   You should then be able to do as I noted above -- right-click, Properties, Advanced, and set Run as Admin.
25112Author Commented:
Gary- thanks again for the explanation.. yes, i have made it to work with the shortcut method for first application. works like a charm.. but for the second one, it just would not budge.. in the shortcut method with 'run as admin' it still only would run as 'normal'.. is there any app level setting that you can think of?
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