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I am using an old laptop and doing heavy processing that needs high CPU usage for a long time (~30mins - 2hours). When the process puts heavy load on CPU for a long time, CPU overheats and computer shuts down. I don't want to use a cooler/stand because I am carrying this laptop around and working outside home.

Is there a way/application that I can limit CPU usage of a process in Windows?

Note: Setting the priority of the process from task manager does not work.

Note 2: Fans are clean.

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Is renting out 3 hours of CPU time on EC2 not feasible? I would imagine that would work a lot better for most cases. –  digitxp Nov 24 '10 at 12:55
can you specify which Windows version, and which old laptop? If there's a dual core inside, you can just specify the application to run on only one core, which keeps it at 50% and hence cooler temps. –  Joris Meys Nov 24 '10 at 13:07
@digitxp: I am PhD student at the moment, if it was for business purposes, I would have bought a new laptop or used a powerful desktop machine anyway :) –  nimcap Nov 24 '10 at 13:28

3 Answers 3

up vote 24 down vote accepted

A search over the net brings some programs that may help. They are all freeware.

BES - Battle Encoder Shirase

BES is a small tool which limits the CPU usage for a specified process: for instance, you can limit the CPU usage of a process which would use CPU 100%, down to 50% (or any percentage you like). With this, you can use other programs comfortably while doing something CPU-intensive in the background. By limiting the CPU load, you can also cool down your CPU immediately when it happens to get too hot. Of course the processing speed will slow down proportionally if you limit the CPU usage, but it should be much better than crashing because of heat or (in the worst scenario) having your computer broken with a burned CPU.

Process Tamer

Process Tamer is a tiny (140k) and super efficient utility for Microsoft Windows XP/2K/NT/Vista/Win7 that runs in your system tray and constantly monitors the cpu usage of other processes. When it sees a process that is overloading your cpu, it reduces the priority of that process temporarily, until its cpu usage returns to a reasonable level.

Process Lasso

Process Lasso is a unique new technology that will improve your PC's responsiveness and stability during periods of high CPU load. Windows, by design, allows programs to monopolize your CPU without restraint -- leading to freezes, hangs, and micro-lags. Process Lasso's ProBalance (Process Balance) technology intelligently adjusts the priorities of running programs so that badly behaved processes won't negatively impact the responsiveness of your PC.

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of the three BES looks like the best bet. the other two use priority values which didn't work according to the question –  hbdgaf Nov 24 '10 at 13:16
BES is my choice. It is lightweight and does what it us supposed to do. –  nimcap Nov 24 '10 at 14:15
BES is unable to limit Windows Live Mesh (MOE.exe); it continues to use 95% regardless of any settings. The others can't possibly help because it's already set to Idle priority. Makes the whole OS very slow anyway. –  romkyns Jul 7 '12 at 12:58
Right. The BES is the unique performing a % cpu limiter. Why is on the 3rd position?? :( –  erm3nda Nov 21 '13 at 8:05

This is the correct website of the currently maintained branch of BES, a software that limits the CPU usage %age process-wise.

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...zombie as in zombie process? :-o –  Unai Vivi Sep 26 '12 at 22:29
Zombie thread -- "awakening" an old thread. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 27 '12 at 11:20
@DanielRHicks: This is not a forum, and thus not a thread. There's no problem with answering old questions, and a more recent version of the software is surely welcome... :) –  Tom Wijsman Oct 11 '12 at 14:26
@DanielRHicks: Questions on SU are not meant to help the OP alone but also any future visitor. –  Tom Wijsman Oct 11 '12 at 19:28
@DanielRHicks I'm so glad StackExchange sites have killed the idiotic "zombie" idea. If there's a question about something already, that is where new answers go, even if the question itself is 10 years old now. Seriously. –  romkyns Nov 28 '12 at 20:56

Sorry for the late addition, but I wanted to add the application that i've used in the past to successfully limit the CPU utilization. I've used threadmaster several times in the past.


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