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I want to change Windows process priority via command line.

How can I do that?

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

The command line syntax:

wmic process where name="AppName" CALL setpriority ProcessIDLevel


wmic process where name="calc.exe" CALL setpriority 32768


wmic process where name="calc.exe" CALL setpriority "above normal"


idle: 64

below normal: 16384

normal: 32

above normal: 32768

high priority: 128

real time: 256

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You can also do wildcards wmic process where "CommandLine like '%calc%'" CALL setpriority "below normal" – laggingreflex Feb 16 '14 at 17:59
Its possible to do the same for Background(low IO and memory priority) like in Process Explorer? – miky Aug 5 '14 at 8:53

A small addition.

You can also use string values instead of integers (easier to memorize) like that:

 wmic process where name="calc.exe" CALL setpriority "idle"

Possible values: "idle", "low", "below normal", "normal", "above normal", "high priority", "realtime"

PS. Don't forget the quotes, especially if using multiple words in a string value

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From batch command line I would simply use powershell. This example starts calc.exe, finds it's process and adjusts it priority class to "IDLE" aka LOW.

start /b /wait powershell.exe -command "calc.exe;$prog = Get-Process -Name calc;$prog.PriorityClass = [System.Diagnostics.ProcessPriorityClass]::IDLE"

Specify one of the following enumeration values "Normal, Idle, High, RealTime, BelowNormal, AboveNormal"

Here is the same thing from powershell with split lines.

$prog = Get-Process -Name calc
$prog.PriorityClass = [System.Diagnostics.ProcessPriorityClass]::IDLE
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What's the point of repeating what was already said before? – harrymc Feb 12 '14 at 15:15
@harrymc It answers the original question, using PowerShell. – paradroid Feb 12 '14 at 17:00
@harrymc - actually I am repeating what I said from DEC.… – Knuckle-Dragger Feb 15 '14 at 16:41
No problem. Just that I linked to something pretty similar. – harrymc Feb 15 '14 at 17:33

In addition to existing answers, the thread Windows Equivalent of 'nice' lists some more solutions :

  1. Using the command START in the command-prompt (CMD).
  2. Using the free ProcessTamer to set up a rule on the .exe that is automatically enforced whenever that process is started.
  3. Using a PowerShell script contained here.
  4. Using a VBScript contained here.

Additionally, the old SetPriority utility might still work, but I haven't tried it for many years now.

Some of these solutions may not work on system services or may need to be Run as Administrator.

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In response to laggingreflex who currently has set an open bounty, stating that the accepted answer does not work:

It does work in Windows 8. Check in Task Manager, or restart Process Explorer.

You may have found a bug/deficiency in Process Explorer.

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I understand that that's not anyone else's problem but mine. Guess I'll open another question and reward the bounty to current correct answer anyways. – laggingreflex Feb 11 '14 at 10:26
@laggingreflex: Verified as working on Windows 8.1 - see proof. Are you sure you have run the command prompt as Administrator? – harrymc Feb 11 '14 at 13:33
I did. My wmic is malfunctioning I guess. I've opened a question about that separately.. In the hindsight I should've confirmed more before. – laggingreflex Feb 11 '14 at 13:45
@laggingreflex: The logon account being Administrator is not enough - you should still use Run as Administrator. The easiest way is to press Win-R and type cmd followed by Shift-Enter. – harrymc Feb 11 '14 at 14:11

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