Process Lasso Server Edition Quick Start

Process Lasso Server Edition can be deployed any number of ways, and this document suggests deploying the core engine (ProcessGovernor) as a service. Still, it also exposes the basic configuration.

Process Lasso Server Edition is required for all Windows Server edition variants. It is most commonly used on or by:

  • Terminal Server / Remote Desktop deployments
  • Citrix
  • Server admins of all types (roles)
  • Audiophiles (often /w  JPLAY, AO)

Introduction

Process Lasso’s ProBalance algorithm dramatically improves system responsiveness in high CPU load situations, whether it’s a micro-lag, or a sustained load. We have demonstrated this in real-world and synthetic tests to the point that this is fact. It’s quite remarkable. This algorithm is ON out of the box, so you do NOT need to do ANY additional tweaking. In fact, we recommend that even technical users be careful with their custom adjustments, as you may inadvertently do more harm than good. Process Lasso, in it’s default configuration, is designed to do good and never do harm (one of our core principles). So, just install it, and let it run!

Intro

 

Package

Process Lasso was designed with server use in mind, and further to consume as few resources as possible. Towards that end it is highly modular, with the primary two executable components as follows:

  1. processgovernor.exeThe Core Engine
    • Responsible for applying process rules and keeping the system optimal with algorithms like ProBalance.
    • Can be installed as a service and can be run entirely by itself (without the GUI).
    • Entirely silent, only output is optional logging to a file.
  2. processlasso.exeThe Graphical User Interface
    • Graphical User Interface that enables the user set rules, view logs and control the core engine. It does NOT need to be running for the governor to be in effect.
    • Displays and maintains the system tray icon.

An Intro to ProBalance and Lasso

First, it needs to be noted that Process Lasso’s ProBalance truly is efficacious, one of the few tuning algorithms that can be so effectively demonstrated in both artificial and real-world tests, and the manual tweaks you can make are endless — though you shouldn’t need to make many, if any, since AudiophileOptimizer will take care of most things. However, Process Lasso, in addition to ProBalance acting by default to keep your PC or server responsive and uninterrupted, can be used to tweak CPU affinities and process priority classes. Just be careful not to take things too far, as you don’t want to do more harm than good.

Additionally, the newly improved in 2015 Gaming Mode will set your PC to a customized power plan that ensures the CPU is ready to execute code at any time. This is done by disabling certain power saving features of the CPU, such as core parking and CPU frequency scaling (down-clocking on idle). Other power profile automation, such as IdleSaver, can help you to still save power when you’re not using the PC.

Over the last 10 years, Process Lasso’s ProBalance has been tuned very well out of the box so it should ‘just work’. Seriously, so much time has been put into it’s development that we’re quite confident nobody could quickly replicate our success. It’s a very conservative and safe algorithm, with numerous criteria that must be met before it ever ‘kicks in’ to temporarily marginally reduce the priority class of background processes.

It really is amazing to see work when Sony Vegas is saving a file, or in so many other CPU-heavy applications. The difference in responsiveness is night and day.

One of the advantages of Process Lasso is that it has a stand-alone core engine (processgovernor.exe) that can be run as a system service. The GUI (processlasso.exe) is entirely optional. You can manually open the GUI when you need to reconfigure something, or check the status… or you can keep it running all the time.

Both the core engine and GUI are written in C++, compiled directly to native 32-bit and 64-bit editions for x86/64 CPUs. That means no .NET or other huge abstraction layers, so the code is as efficient as you’re going to find anywhere.

The end result is absolutely minimal overhead.

You’ll want to install the core engine (governor) as a service, an option presented during install for the Server Edition of the product, which is installed on all Windows Server variants, as the Process Lasso installer will always download the right edition. For PC workstations running normal Windows, the ability to run the core engine as a service is available in the Pro edition of the product and found in the Options menu. This is described below.

 

Licensing

ALL Servers will get Process Lasso Server Edition installed. This has a fully functional 30 day trial period. Server licensees get a complimentary set of workstation licenses they can use for their control PCs, or whatever they like.

ALL Workstations will get Process Lasso Workstation Edition installed. Now, this edition is pseudo-free (freemium). It never expires, though some advanced features (none of the critical ones), get disabled over time and a nag may appear when/if you open the GUI. See this page for details on the licensing restrictions of the free workstation edition.

Note that the installer will auto-download the correct edition if you try to install the wrong edition or bit-size, hence it always gets the appropriate edition installed.

Auto-Start and Other Config

When you install Process Lasso on any Windows Server variant you’ll automatically get the Server Edition of Process Lasso. For instance, if you were to try to install the workstation edition of Process Lasso, the installer would download the correct Server Edition. The same is true for Windows workstations, they always get the right edition of Process Lasso installed.

If your server or workstation is not connected to the internet, then be *sure* to get the correct bit-size and edition of Process Lasso. These links are prominently shown on the left side of Process Lasso download pages.

For Servers, you will have the following two pop-ups shown during install. For workstations, you can access them after install via the GUI by going to the menu item ‘Options / General / Reconfigure the way Process Lasso starts’.

The first of these dialogs instructs how to start Process Lasso and the core engine, ProcessGovernor. For users in ‘core mode’, you’ll need to set the GUI to start manually, so you can open it only when you choose. You’ll then want to set the core engine (governor) to start as a system service.
Advanced user note: You can alternatively decide to have the governor run as a system service in a specific user context.

WARNING:
This is the recommended configuration for *Servers*. For Workstations, it is NOT recommended to install the governor as a service, though you can do so if you wish. Certain interactive session data is not available when the governor is running as a service. For instance, it has no awareness of which application is in the foreground.

audiophile-guide-1

 

Config file and log folder storage location

The next dialog will ask where the INI configuration file and logs are to be stored. When you select to install the governor as a service, it defaults to the %PROGRAMDATA% folder. For workstation installations, it will default to the %APPDATA% folder specific to each user.

Management Scope and Configuration Folder

 

Unattended / Silent Installation

First, as previously mentioned, make *sure* you have the installer that corresponds to your Windows type and bit-size. For instance, for a Windows 64-bit Server, you’d want Process Lasso Server Edition 64-bit. For a 32-bit Windows workstation, you’d want Process Lasso 32-bit. When ‘Server Edition’ isn’t tacked onto Process Lasso’s name, that means it is the regular workstation edition. If you fail to get the right edition, the silent install will try to download the right edition, and will fail to be silent, or fail entirely to install the product properly.

Advanced users can opt to install the product with a single command by using a command line for the installer. It might look like this:

ProcessLassoSetup64.exe /S /key=aea839a8sz89a9aae3f83 /gui_start_type=manual /governor_start_type=service

For a description of these, and other, command line options, see this page.

If you do not have an offline key, note that a regular online activation code will *not* work on the command line. You’ll need to request an offline key from support@bitsum.com.
CAVEAT: You may need to take JPLAY out of Hibernate mode to do the installation and have it successfully activate. (based on a user report)

 

What to do after installation?

After installation, you have these choices:

  1. Sit back and relax, letting ProBalance do it’s job.
  2. Apply optimizations such as custom CPU affinities to get maximum performance.
  3. Using ‘Gaming Mode’ (may be renamed) to put your CPU in a state where it offers maximum performance. It will disable core parking and frequency scaling in this state.

Be careful not to over-do optimization, sometimes you can do more harm than good! The ProBalance algorithm is safe and effective at helping keep your PC responsive during high CPU loads. It knows what it is doing, so you can at least count on it to do well, but it can’t work miracles of course.

How to Launch the Graphical User Interface from the Command Line

Starting in Process Lasso v8.8, you can launch the GUI by simply running ‘pl’ from any command prompt or directory. The full name is ‘pl.cmd’, but the .cmd can be omitted. The “/showwindow” switch can be added to immediately show the GUI, otherwise the first run will merely create the system tray icon, with the second actually opening the Process Lasso GUI.

pl.cmd

Hyper-Threading, Logical Cores, CPU Affinities

The logical/physical core discussion gets very complex because CPU architectures have changed. For instance, in the latest Intel i7 models, it is no longer true that the hyper-threaded core will only offer a small fraction of the performance of it’s paired core.

In prior models, core 1 (the HT core) would provide only 30% the computational power of core 0. In newer models, they will both yield *identical* performance, assuming no load is on the other core in the pair. So, it wouldn’t matter if a thread is on logical core 0, or logical core 1, assuming the other core in the pair is not utilized. Both would yield identical performance.

However, the important thing to realize is that, in both AMD and Intel architectures, each pair of logical cores share computational units and caches. Thus, you may still want to separate them to every other core.

So, if you have two CPU bound processes (technically threads within, but I don’t want to confuse people), they would perform like so, with a fictional scale:

  1. If two threads are put on logical cores 0 and 1, then total performance might be 3500.
  2. If two threads are put on logical cores 0 and 3, then total performance might be 6000.

Why? Because threads 0 and 1 share certain computational units; they are paired into a single physical CPU core. So, when both are fully utilized, they bottleneck at the shared computational and cache units.

But threads put on 0 and 3 get access to two fully distinct CPUs.

So, the hyper-threading issue is still an issue, it’s just that things have changed a bit. I only recently became aware of this change in Intel’s CPU architecture myself, it’s now more like AMD’s CPU architecture.

What Process Lasso offers is the ability to fine-tune and automate a plethora of settings, from CPU affinities, process priorities, to optimal power profiles that disable core parking and frequency scaling. The stand-alone core engine (processgovernor.exe) makes it so that this is done with absolutely minimal overhead.

 

Responsiveness Metric

The system responsiveness metric shown by Process Lasso’s GUI (on the graph), and in various other locations, such as the [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”nHIIZ3-tSVk&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”CPUEater Demo video”] and ProBalance Insights, is a direct measurement of how responsive the system is to user input. It is a quite elegant algorithm we conceived over a decade ago. You won’t find it anywhere else.

We can virtually guarantee you that when you see any major disruption in system responsiveness during high CPU loads!

 

Can Process Lasso be Installed on a PC without Internet Access?

Yes! By request, we offer ‘offline codes’. Once you purchase, you are entitled to such – just visit our Contact Bitsum page and request one (or email support@bitsum.com). We may add an option to generate them in the Support area if this request becomes common.

When installing without an active internet connection, the only other thing to be aware of is to make sure that you get the right edition of Process Lasso, as again if you don’t, the installer will try to download the right edition. So, if it’s a 64-bit server, get the 64-bit Server Edition of Process Lasso.

Unattended/silent setup is also supported by the installer, so you can specify the key, config type, etc.. all via command line and it’ll all get installed and configured without a *single* pop-up or other user interaction. This is documented here and also described earlier in this document.

Should I rank processes in importance to me, changing their priority classes?

Absolutely NOT. Do not do this. ProBalance will handle priority class adjustments that are necessary, if any are. Most of the time it will take no action on an Audiophile setup since it is designed to be conservative and has numerous criteria that must be met before it ever makes a marginal, temporary change to a background process’s priority class.

Users should NOT, under any circumstance, try to rank processes in importance to them or make too many tweaks to process priority classes! You will do more harm than good.

 

Should I use file system compression?

Quite often the reduced overhead of less disk I/O (due to smaller data) outweighs the minimal decompression overhead.

In almost all compression algorithms, including the one NTFS uses, decompression is *extremely* rapid. The only real overhead is in compression. Thus, the decision to use file system compression depends on the particular user’s needs, but I would recommend leaving it available for selective use by the user. You wouldn’t want to compress a file or folder that has heavy write activity, but *might* want to compress a file or folder that is seldom written to, and has a high-compression ratio, as it would save lots of disk I/O and cost only a few CPU cycles.

For example, it would make sense to compress the program files folder since it is seldom written to, and often read from.

Of course, it goes without saying that multimedia that’s been processed by a lossy compression algorithm like MP3 can not be further compressed, and will be a worst-case scenario for lossless compression algorithms. Again, common knowledge, but maybe not to everyone.

 

Is Process Lasso Compatible With Fidelizor Pro?

Process Lasso is fully compatible with Fidelizor Pro, but you may need to disable it’s own CPU affinity settings if you use conflicting settings in Process Lasso.

 

My process rules and settings don’t seem to stay in effect, what can I do?

We’ve heard reports from Audiophiles of processes that change their own CPU affinities, or are acted on by another application. In these cases, you need to turn on ‘Forced Mode’, at the bottom of the Options menu. This will continually reapply the settings you’ve chosen, something that is otherwise not done to prevent any type of ‘settings fight’ with an application.

pl_forced_mode.png

Logging

If you have a lot of system process activity, you may want to disable or limit Process Lasso’s logging.

Use with AudiophileOptimizer

A note for Audiophiles, the “Install Kernel-Streaming and MediaPlayer feature will make sure the GUI of Process Lasso will also fire up fine in core mode.

If one has already optimized the Setup using AO prior to installing Process Lasso, it is recommended to do a full reset using ServiceTool before installing Process Lasso. Once Process Lasso is successfully installed, one should do a full run with AO again.

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