How To Limit CPU Usage of a Process in Windows

If an application or process is consuming CPU and slowing down the system, you can limit the CPU usage of a process. Here’s how.

When you open an application, it automatically launches its process(es) and starts working. As the process is running, it utilizes the CPU resources as needed. Most processes in your system are good at regulating themselves and using CPU resources safely and respectfully.

However, what if a process consumes a lot of system resources and causes the CPU utilization to shoot up? If you don’t know, CPU-hungry processes and programs can cause performance issues as other processes don’t get to that much CPU time or resources. Additionally, excessive CPU utilization can cause CPU heating and, in turn, throttle the CPU and reduce the system performance dramatically.

If you identify a CPU-hungry process or think a process is using too much CPU, you can try setting a limit on its CPU usage. i.e., limit CPU usage of a process. That way, you can reduce CPU usage and improve system performance.

Without delay, let me show you how to limit the CPU usage of a process or program in Windows OS.

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Table of contents:

Lower process priority to limit CPU usage

Windows takes care of the process priority by default. Generally, you don’t have to deal with manually setting a process priority. However, when you think a process is misusing the system resources, you can limit its CPU usage by changing the process’s CPU priority.

When you change and set a process’s CPU priority to below normal or low, Windows will reduce the priority it gives to that process compared to other running processes while allotting the CPU resources. That way, other processes can run smoothly.

Important note: Don’t change the CPU priority of system processes/applications. Only do this for third-party processes/applications.

  1. Open the Task Manager.
  2. Go to the “Details” tab.
  3. Right-click on the process.
  4. Choose “Set priority > Low.”
  5. Click “Change Priority” when prompted.
  6. Close the Task Manager.
  7. (Optional) Reboot the computer.
  8. With that, you changed the priority to limit the CPU usage of the process.
change process priority to limit its cpu usage
click change priority

Change process affinity to limit CPU usage

Windows has a neat feature called process affinity. Using this feature, you can limit how many CPU cores a process can use. That way, you can effectively limit a process’s CPU usage.

As with CPU Priority, process affinity is also automatically managed by Windows. If you think a process or application uses too much CPU, you can limit its CPU usage by manually limiting the process affinity. Here’s how to do it.

Important note: Don’t change the process affinity of system processes/applications. Only do this for third-party processes/applications.

  1. Open the Task Manager.
  2. Go to the “Details” tab.
  3. Right-click on the process.
  4. Choose the “Set Affinity” option.
  5. Uncheck the CPU cores you want to disallow.
  6. Press the “Ok” button.
  7. Close the Task Manager.
  8. (Reboot) Reboot the computer.
  9. With that, you changed the process affinity to limit its CPU usage.
change process affinity

Use third-party software to limit CPU usage

You can use a free, portable, and open-source application called Battle Encoder Shirase (BSE) to limit the CPU usage of a process. The good thing is that it is a lightweight application and does the job effectively with just a couple of clicks.

This method is beneficial if you did not get desired results with the above two methods. Let me show you how to use it to limit process CPU usage.

First, head to the official website using the link below and download the software. After downloading, open the zip file and extract the folder to the desktop or root of the C drive.

https://mion.yosei.fi/BES/

extract BES application folder

Now, open the extracted folder, right-click on the executable file and choose the “Run as administrator” option. This action will open the BES application with admin rights.

open BES application as admin

After opening the application, click the “Target” button.

The program will show a list of all the running processes as soon as you do that. Find the process you want to limit, select it, and press the “Limit this” button. For example, I want to restrict the msedge.exe process. So, I selected that process and pressed the button.

limit process cpu usage with BES

Click “Yes” in the confirmation window.

click yes

The process’s CPU usage is limited as soon as you do that. The application highlights the limited processes with red color and places it on top of the list.

process CPU usage limited with BES

By default, the application limits the process to using 33 percent of the available CPU resources. If you want, you can reduce or increase the limit. To do that, use the slider available at the bottom. For example, I increased the CPU limit to 50 percent from 33 percent.

change process cpu limit with slider in BES app

Once you are done setting up, minimize the BES application. As long as the application runs in the background, the selected process’s CPU usage is limited according to the settings.

If you close the BES application, the limit is automatically removed. However, closing the application while limiting a process’s CPU usage is not recommended.

BES app running in the background

To remove the limit, launch the application, select the limited process and click the “Unlimit” button. If you limit multiple processes, you can click the “Unlimit All” button to remove the CPU usage limit for all processes at once.

remove process cpu limit with BES app

That is all. It is that simple to limit the CPU usage of a process in Windows.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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