Have you ever heard of Process Lasso? Neither had I until a few days ago when one of my readers (BooN) mentioned it in a comment here at WindowsTalk in an article about upgrading a Vista laptop. I had to look into it, particularly since I know very little of what goes on ‘under the hood’ in Windows.
What are processes? The easiest way to understand them is to open the Windows Task Manager and the quickest way to do this is the time -honoured ‘three finger salute’ : Ctrl-Alt-Del. In Vista and Windows 7, this will bring up an options screen. Click the last option, Start Windows Task Manager. If you are using Windows XP, the Windows Task Manager window appears right away.
Then you will see something similar to this (click to enlarge):
Here is a list of all the processes running on your PC. Some belong to applications that are currently running (see the Applications tab). Most of the other processes belong either to Windows itself or to programs that run in the background, such as those in your task bar in the bottom right area, or programs that have automatic updating options, or programmed schedules, such as an antivirus or backup program. Most of the time you never have to worry about them or even open Task Manager to see what is occurring at the time.
A complex issue…
Today’s PCs and Windows itself (or any operating system) are very complex. Windows itself consumes gigabytes of hard drive space and with it comes scores of processes to make it do what it does. Add today’s sophisticated programs like security suites, Internet browsers, office suites and such and you have more and more processes added into the mix (look under the Description header in the Process tab to see what processes belong to what program). All of these processes demand time (processor or CPU time) and space in memory to run, and for the most part they can coexist peacefully in a PC with a fast, modern processor and lots (> 1GB RAM) of RAM.
But what about a PC that is two, three, or four years old? Well, aside from upgrading the hardware, you can use a program like Process Lasso to take control of all these processes and improve your PC’s performance. How does Process Lasso do this?
To explain it best, I will quote from Bitsum’s website:
“One of Process Lasso’s most popular features is a unique technology called ProBalance (Process Balance) that will improve your PC’s responsiveness and stability through process priority optimization. Windows, by design, allows programs to monopolize your CPU without sufficient restraint — leading to hangs and micro-lags. ProBalance intelligently adjusts the priorities of running programs on-demand so that badly behaved processes won’t negatively impact the responsiveness of your PC. It does this not by raising process priorities, but instead by temporarily lowering the priorities of background processes that may be interfering with foreground responsiveness.
In addition to ProBalance, there are countless features allowing the user to take full automated control of the processes on their PC. You can have a wide range operations performed, or settings applied, each time a process is run. You can choose at what priority processes should run, and which CPUs should be assigned to them. You can also disallow certain processes from running, log all processes run, automatically restart processes when they terminate or reach a resource consumption threshold, limit the number of instances, and much more. You can even indicate processes that should induce entrance into the High Performance power scheme and/or prevent the PC from sleeping. A gaming mode allows for easy process priority optimization for avid gamers.
Once you install Process Lasso, it will just start working. More advanced users can tweak the configuration, but you needn’t touch anything to have it instantly improve your system responsiveness and prevent stalls in high load situations.
Process Lasso is very useful and effective on even the latest high-end PCs. However, its ProBalance algorithm achieves maximum effect on PCs with relatively little CPU ‘power’, such as Netbooks, Tablets, and older desktops.”
Process Lasso runs on all editions of Windows 2000, XP, 2003, 2008, Vista, and Windows 7.
If you would like to try Process Lasso, there is a free edition you can download here: http://www.bitsum.com/prolasso.php. There is also a Pro version and you can read about the differences between the Free and Pro versions here: http://www.bitsum.com/howfree.php