Process Lasso FAQ

Which edition should I download (32 or 64, Workstation or Server)?

You can’t select the wrong download since you’ll always end up with the edition of Process Lasso appropriate for your operating system. The installer automatically detects and downloads the correct edition. Process Lasso Server Edition will always install on all Windows Server operating systems, and Process Lasso (standard edition) will install on Windows 10. The only time you need to worry about which installer to use if you are using the silent install capabilities. For individual installer downloads see this page.

Note that the installer itself is 32-bit in all cases, but installs 64-bit components as appropriate.

Which license type do I need?

Process-Lasso-Pro-workstation-license-sFor Windows workstations such as Windows 10, please buy a Workstation license.

 

server-squareFor Windows Servers, such as Windows 2019, please buy a Server license.

 

Do you have a refund policy?

Yes! We stand behind the quality of our products and will refund 100% of your money for any reason. You have 30 days from the date of purchase to request a refund.

Are free updates included with purchased licenses?

Licensed users are entitled to product updates within their subscription period. The period can be annual or lifetime. In the case of lifetime license, the user is entitled to all updates, including new major product versions.

What are the installation requirements for Process Lasso?

Workstation: Windows 7, 8, 10.
Server: Windows 2008, 2008R2, 2016, 2019.
Memory and disk requirements are negligible.

How do I activate Process Lasso Pro?

Open your Process Lasso GUI, navigate to the Help menu and select ‘Activate this software’. Paste your license activation key (see Order History to find yours) into the dialog. Then click ‘Activate now‘.

If you do not see options to Activate, then the product is already activated. You can confirm in the Help/About dialog.

Activation screenshot 1

Activation screenshot 2

I can't activate! Can you help?

Does Process Leave any changes after uninstalling it?

No.  Process Lasso does not system modifications that persist after it is uninstalled.

Will I lose my license if I migrate to a new computer?

No, your license can come with you. Simply install and activate on your new PC *after* you have uninstalled Process Lasso from the prior one. The activation system will allow a certain amount of re-use. If you ever do have troubles, contact us and we will get you going again.

Is Process Lasso useful to me?

Yes, and now more than ever given the increase in CPU core counts!

The automation, process rules, persistent settings (e.g. CPU affinities), and various algorithms like the Instance Balancer, CPU Limiter, and IdleSaver are of unquestionable utility.

Our famous ProBalance algorithm that helps preserve system responsiveness during high loads is useful to prevent lags and even complete system stalls, as demonstrated here. Even in the unlikely case that your software environment is already so well-behaved that ProBalance is rarely necessary, it is not harmful and good to have monitoring the system in case a problematic scenario emerges, such as a background application consuming excess CPU cycles.

Finally, for PCs (workstations), our Performance Mode (aka Bitsum Highest Performance power plan) can provide a boost to performance by dynamically disabling power saving functions of the CPU. The dynamic part is important, as it can be automatically toggled on when your games or performance-critical applications are run!

Does ProBalance slow processes down?

NO! The ProBalance feature doesn’t actually ‘restrain’ anything. We used that term only for lack of a better one. ProBalance’s default action is to simply temporarily lower the offending process’s priority class to Below Normal, a marginal change to the precedence during contention. In real-world and synthetic tests, as shown in the CPUEater demo, this is all it takes to restore responsiveness to the rest of the PC, and it certainly doesn’t impact the performance of targeted applications.

Should I tweak the ProBalance advanced settings?

There is no perfect answer to your question. The defaults settings are the most tested and should work best for most people. In general, ProBalance has to be a little aggressive to hit processes *before* they cause a responsiveness problem. This aggressiveness is not an issue since the marginal adjustment it makes to priority classes doesn’t have any negative impact. It won’t slow a process down, for instance. The priority class only ever matters if there is a lot of contention for the CPU. So ProBalance acts as a bit of a safety in case the system, or some other application, needs to get a few CPU cycles to remain responsive but otherwise wouldn’t have been to.

Practically speaking, if you want to try additional tuning you will need to experiment with changes to see if you find some that work better for you.

Why am I receiving a warning that 'the configuration file is not writable'?

Process Lasso supports a number of deployment scenarios, thus it can take a small bit of manual adjustment to ensure it works right for you. This warning means that you will not be able to edit the configuration from the Process Lasso GUI. That may be appropriate, or it may not be.

This warning is normally seen when a person is running Process Lasso as Limited (Standard) User, but has opted to start the Governor as a service. In that scenario, the user should consider changing the configuration and log paths to something under their user directory. This can be done via ‘Options / General settings / Reconfigure the way Process Lasso starts’. See screenshot below.

Note that for multi-user systems, changing the path to a user folder is not recommended since other users won’t be able to write to it. Instead, when a configuration change is necessary, a user can fully close and re-launch Process Lasso manually, as an administrator. When started manually, there will be a prompt for administrative credentials. Entering those will start the Process Lasso GUI elevated, and thus it will be able to edit the configuration file during that instance.

Process Lasso config and log storage in user folder

Process Lasso config and log storage in user folder

Full warning text: “WARNING: The configuration file is not writable. Please check the path via ‘Options / General / Reconfigure the Way Process Lasso Starts’.”

What do the system tray icons mean?

Please see this page for a complete description of all system tray icons.

Is there a comprehensive list of features?

See this link for all Process Lasso features.

Process Lasso is too complex, do you have something simpler?

First, remember that you don’t need to understand or use all the advanced features of Process Lasso. You can simply install it and forget it. ProBalance and Performance Mode work out of the box.

That said, we do offer:

CPUBalance – is a simpler rendition of Process Lasso focused on ProBalance only.

ParkControl – Includes the Bitsum Highest Performance power plan, some power plan automation such as Dynamic Boost (similar to IdleSaver), and other features.

Will ProBalance degrade performance in any way?

The ProBalance algorithm is designed in such a way that it will never degrade your system performance, only improve it.

It is extremely conservative. For instance, one of it’s many criteria (by default) is a process must be of normal priority class. Most audio apps set themselves to a High priority class. Thus, this exclusion was added, as it is assumed the application that sets it’s own priority class knows best.

Worst case if ProBalance did take action on some important process, you can always exclude it, but I very rarely hear of this due to the built-in exclusions and conservative nature.

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 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 try to rank processes in importance to them or make too many tweaks to process priority classes! You will do more harm than good.

Is Process Lasso useful for my real-time applications (e.g. audio)?

Yes! Process Lasso is very popular with audiophiles and other users who need maximum real-time performance. The Performance Mode feature will put your hardware in the best power state for real-time work. Further, the ProBalance feature will help to keep background processes from interfering. Both these are active by default, though you may want to select and right-click on your real-time application processes and select ‘Induce Performance Mode’. This will cause the Performance Mode to be engaged whenever these applications are run.
 
With Process Lasso, things like audio drop-outs, clicks, pops, and other distortions are minimized. Note that Process Lasso can’t solve all potential real-time processing issues, but will do its best to help!

What are the best settings for my real-time app?

I recommend leaving ProBalance enabled so it can act on any background processes that interfere with your real-time apps. 

You likely won’t even have to manually exclude important processes from ProBalance, as it will ignore processes with a non-normal priority by default, among other conservative settings.

Also be sure you are using Performance Mode, or are otherwise in performance-centric power plan like Bitsum Highest Performance.

As for specific priority classes or CPU affinities, the optimal settings vary, so you’ll have to experiment.

Can I limit memory use of applications?

Restricting memory consumption is problematic. If a process needs to go beyond some threshold in virtual memory consumption then your options are (a) to deny the allocation, certainly resulting in an unrecoverable exception in the application, or to (b) stall the application while you wait for some other condition to be met (like a reduction in total virtual memory use). Neither is a good option.

Of course you can ‘trim’ the virtual memory, but that isn’t going to be effective if the virtual memory is actively referenced, it will just get paged right back in as soon as it is referenced. This is normally never a good idea as Windows will page out unreferenced virtual memory anyway.

Process Lasso does offer another option, setting a Watchdog rule to restart (or just terminate) a process if it exceeds a virtual memory use threshold. That may be the best and most proper action in many cases.

Note that RAM is the fastest storage on your PC, so you want it fully populated with either application memory or cache. The ‘free’ RAM reported by Process Lasso is used as a disk cache by the OS. If you do have a severe RAM constraint, the best option is to reduce the number of applications and browser tabs you keep open.

Can I limit memory use of a user session?

To do this requires forcibly shutting down applications in that user session when the memory threshold is exceeded.

It is possible using Watchdog rules, but these would be specific to each process (rather than cumulative for the entire session). You could create a rule, for instance, that would terminate any process in a user session ‘Bob’ when it exceeded a virtual memory limit.

The match string might look like: 

winword.exe:bob

Wildcards, or even Regular Expressions, can be used like:

win*.exe:bo*

However, you should be as selective as possible when creating match strings.

The resulting Watchdog entry might look like below.

Watchdog Memory Limit Rule

Watchdog Memory Limit Rule for instances of Chrome.exe and user ‘Bob’

 

I don't see a performance boost, is it working?

First, let us be sure your expectations are correct – no product is a panacea for all system problems, and certainly not all use cases benefit equally from Process Lasso’s automated tuning. However, ProBalance does always keep you protected from that ‘worst case’ scenario, which you may encounter at some point, and it will save you from an improper shutdown.

ProBalance also does not act just to pretend to be doing something. It acts only when necessary. So if you are barely taxing your system, you aren’t going to see much difference in responsiveness. However, during times when you have your CPU loaded up, you will see a dramatic increase in responsiveness if the problem is CPU bound and ProBalance is able to cope with it. Sometimes the issue is I/O related, like waiting for a hard drive, but when it is CPU related, ProBalance addresses it.

This is well demonstrated by real-world and synthetic demos like our CPUEater Demo. I recommend that you read and try the CPUEater Demo yourself to see the impact. There is no trick here. You can recreate the demo in any language with a simple infinite loop (and nothing else!). See this page for more information on ProBalance …

Note that the Automation Features are ‘utility features’, so if you need them, then you need them. They don’t relate to this answer.

How do I force an application to make use of under-utilized CPU or GPU cores?

A single thread can’t be externally split into multiple threads, thus you can’t force use of unused CPU or GPU cores. You could force that single thread to be swapped between the CPU cores, but that would only decrease performance due to the switches, and have the same total CPU utilization.

The application has to be programmed to utilize multiple threads in order to make use of all cores. So you might say, “Ok, then why didn’t they do that?”. Well, some actions are linear in nature. In fact, many are. For instance, if I’m adding 2+2=4, it’s really hard to break that up into multiple threads.

The same goes for use of the GPU. The application has to be programmed to use it, you can’t force it to change it’s characteristics later.

This is why the performance of individual CPU cores still matters. If you have single-threaded CPU bound load, you can have 256 CPU cores, but only 1 will be utilized, and it’s individual performance will be the system max.

The core utilization graphs are not showing. What's up?

First, make sure they are enabled in the View menu (if Process Lasso). Second, make sure you have the right bit-size. This may require a product reinstall. Otherwise, your performance counters are in some way corrupted and there is little else that can be done. The command ‘lodctr.exe /r’ is run for you to try to repair this condition if Lasso finds it to be the case, so all that can be done is done.

I have an active PC, should I disable logging?

Yes, if you have an active PC, you may want to disable certain Process Lasso log events like process creation/termination, or disable logging entirely. For a highly active PC or server, it can be resource consuming. Also remember that you do not need to have the GUI running all the time since the stand-alone core engine (processgovernor.exe) does everything that is important.

What is Performance Mode (formerly 'Gaming Mode')?

Process Lasso is great for games and other applications that need close to real-time performance.

Performance Mode (formerly Gaming Mode) configures ProBalance and the system power plan in such a way as to be best equipped to run games or other resource intensive applications.

What is the difference between 'Designate High Performance processes' (aka Induce Performance Mode) and 'Application Power plans'?

For the most part, Performance Mode is simply the engagement of BHP (or other specified power plan). However, Performance Mode also interacts with other features that have options that disable or change their behavior when Performance Mode is engaged. Finally, Performance Mode creates a more simplified user experience. Certainly you can ignore Performance Mode and use the ‘application power profiles’.

How does Process Lasso's Keep Awake work?

Process Lasso’s Keep Awake works by issuing a power subsystem API call to inform the system that activity is still occurring. It does NOT do any ‘dirty hack’ like emulate keyboard input, as such is not necessary. It will issue this call once a minute at minimum, more if required.

How can I make an application use more CPU cores?

The number of CPU cores an application uses is limited by how multi-threaded it is (or isn’t). This is not something that can be fixed by Process Lasso, or any other external actor. Increasing parallelism (multi-threadedness) requires a change to the programming of applications, and even then it is not always possible.

Is ParkControl Pro included in Process Lasso? Can I use both together?

No, it is not included, and yes, they are designed to run together.

Basically, ParkControl Pro has features not present in Process Lasso, such as a dynamically changing system tray icon that reflects core parking status. Going forward, there will be more differences.

They are designed to work along-side each other, so when ParkControl Pro is installed, Process Lasso’s ‘Core parking’ tool will actually just open ParkControl Pro’s window. This can lead to the perception that it is ‘within’ Process Lasso, but the only thing within Process Lasso is a more limited rendition of ParkControl (no Pro).

Should I micro-manage CPU core assignments (CPU affinities)?

In some cases, yes, but it depends on your reason, and you need to be smart about it.

If your goal is increased performance, remember that the Windows OS CPU Scheduler tries to manage which threads are on what cores itself, and it’s not dumb. So, when you micro-manage CPU affinities, you are second-guessing it. This can only be appropriate when you are certain of what the loads are going to be and know what you’re doing.

If your goal is to limit CPU use, then you can do so by giving a problematic process access to only a limited subset of available cores. However, you must be sure that this process isn’t ‘blocking’, meaning slowing it doesn’t slow something else, or even everything else. Similarly, you obviously must be willing to tolerate the proportional decrease in that application’s performance.

We do not recommend limiting the CPU affinities of ALL processes with a broad all-inclusive rule. We also don’t recommend limiting the CPU affinity of system or security software since their components may be I/O blocking (halting execution of other apps or services until scans are complete).

In short, try to be conservative and precise when creating rules so that there are fewer unintended consequences.

Should I change the CPU affinity of all other processes?

We do not recommend imprecise rules. Rules should be targeted so they don’t inadvertently impact other processes or subsystems. 

Generally, system services and processes should have maximum latitude to be scheduled (no constraints). While some adjustments could be beneficial, I discourage haphazard tweaking of system processes, and warn that there could be unintended consequences that aren’t immediately apparent. 

In practice, it probably rarely matters unless you have particularly constraining CPU affinity rules. If you’ve discovered a set of rules that work for you, then you should keep using them.

What is the best setup for real-time uses like audio?

There is no special setup, just install and go. I will note that we now have CPUBalance as well – which is ProBalance isolated from the other features. For many audio users, especially those who already have optimized PCs and don’t need all that Lasso offers, this may be the preferred solution. Read at https://bitsum.com/cpubalance/ .

Should I raise the priority of my application?

Probably not. The best practice is to approach it from the other direction – lowering priority classes of anything that might interfere with your application(s).

Generally, you should simply let Process Lasso’s ProBalance dynamically lower the priority class of problematic background processes. You can also manually lower the priorities of processes that could interfere with your application.

This approach of lowering priorities is much more effective than raising the priority class of your desired application. In fact, setting a ‘High’ priority class normally doesn’t yield any advantage in performance.

It is also best to let ProBalance do it’s thing rather than make too many custom tweaks to prioity classes. Too many custom tweaks may cause complications.

Keep this in mind as well:

  1. No change is going to substantially reduce the execution time of your application.
  2. ProBalance’s goal is to simply maintain system responsiveness during high loads and/or prevent background processes from interfering with your primary application.

What is the 'cache' field in the RAM status bar partition?

It is the amount of free RAM that contains system cache data. The Task Manager also shows this.

That RAM can be discarded and used whenever an app needs it, so it isn’t decreasing available RAM. It is just the system taking full advantage of unused RAM.
 
The OS tries to keep it populated with recently and frequently accessed files, among other things.
 
Users want their RAM to be fully utilized since it is the fastest storage on your machine.
 
That said, SmartTrim now has some capabilities to periodically clear the cache, but it isn’t generally advisable.

My 'System' process is consuming a lot of CPU. Can Process Lasso help?

No, it won’t be able to directly impact the System process. That is a special process for critical system operations, mostly involving memory management. 

It is not normal for the System process to consistently consume a large amount of CPU. 

Users will discover that the CPU load seen there is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.

How is your RAM load? Do you have a lot of paging activity? Have you reset your Windows installation to eliminate the possibility of persistent malware?

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

Some processes 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 causes Process Lasso to continuously re-apply process rules. Without this setting, Process Lasso defers to whatever else is acting on the application.

Process Lasso Forced Mode Screenshot

Is there a CPU throttling feature like BES (Battle Encoder Shirase)?

Yes. Process Lasso has a ‘hard throttling’ feature buried in (Options / CPU / More), but we don’t recommend using it. Instead, Process Lasso’s CPU Limiter or constrained CPU affinities are a superior solution whenever possible.

If you do use hard throttling, the feature periodically suspends threads of target processes to forcibly limit their CPU consumption.

Process Lasso can't see or act on my anti-malware application. Why?

Security (anti-malware) applications protect their processes from modification so that malware can’t impact them. This limits Process Lasso’s visibility into them.

Further, adjustments to real-time scanning components can have undesired effects on performance since they block calls from other applications until scans are complete.

Will Windows 10 Game Mode conflict with Process Lasso?

No, they won’t conflict. You can use them together without complications since they do different things.

Text and controls in Process Lasso are not crisp on my high DPI display, like many other desktop apps. What gives?

High DPI support was hacked onto Windows after-the-fact. Thus not all applications, including Process Lasso, are designed to take advantage of it. That means these apps must be scaled up to the higher DPI by the system. If they weren’t scaled, they would appear super tiny.

Normally the default system scaling is perfectly fine for Process Lasso. If your text is noticeably blurry, something is set wrong. You should experiment with various scaling options, either for the system (‘Change the size of text, apps and other items’) or per-application by right-clicking on the Process Lasso shortcut, selecting ‘Properties’, compatibility tab, then clicking the ‘Change high DPI settings’ button.

Why don’t all apps just become High DPI aware? Because it is a ton of work, depending on the application. Process Lasso has graphs and a lot of custom drawing that all would need refactored. And Process Lasso, as a utility, isn’t something most people interact with so frequently that high DPI awareness is mission critical.

Will Process Lasso increase my FPS?

While Performance Mode (BHP power plan) may improve FPS in games, it will likely not matter if your system is already well-tuned.

However, the ProBalance feature will help to prevent background processes from interfering with your game performance. Since this can happen intermittently, it can’t be easily quantified in simple FPS benchmarks, but you definitely want it active to protect you when background processes do interfere.

How to create a keyboard shortcut that opens Process Lasso?

You can create one by:

1. Find the Process Lasso shortcut by typing ‘Process Lasso’ in the Start menu, then right-clicking it and selecting ‘Open file location’. It is normally in “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Process Lasso”

2. Right-click on the shortcut file and select ‘Properties’, then ‘Shortcut’ tab. There you can assign any key combination to it via the ‘Shortcut key’ field.

Process Lasso Keyboard Shortcut

Process Lasso Keyboard Shortcut

 

What happens if I have conflicting power plan automation rules?

In the case of conflicting power rules (two or more running processes with distinct power plan settings), the most recent launched will generally take precedence, but that behavior is not guaranteed. Such rules should be avoided.

How can I prevent processes from using certain CPU cores?

To accomplish this, a Persistent (Always) CPU Affinity rule can be set in ‘Options / CPU / Configure Persistent CPU Affinities‘. While you can match to a large set of processes using a broad wildcard or Regular Expression, we recommend being as selective as possible since system processes should generally have unrestricted choice of CPUs. Thus, one would want to set rules matching specifically to target application(s).

How can I spread a single CPU core's load to the rest of the cores?

Artificially spreading a software thread across multiple CPU cores would substantially slow down execution, due to the context switches. Seeing individual CPU cores spike is appropriate, and why single-threaded performance is a critical CPU performance metric.

How can I assign distinct CPU affinities to individual instances of a process?

Process Lasso’s Instance Balancer does exactly that. See ‘Options / CPU / Configure Instance Balancer‘ and this post for more info.

If I have installed Process Lasso, do I also need ParkControl?

You generally don’t need ParkControl when you have Process Lasso. The only exception is if you want to use ParkControl to tweak your power plan settings, but in such a case can install (or open) it as-needed. The Bitsum Highest Performance power plan is in both products and fully disables CPU core parking and below-base frequency scaling.

Do you have optimizations specific to the AMD Threadripper 3990x?

The Processor Group Extender may be of utility on the AMD Threadripper 3990x, but should only be used in specific situations where an application needs additional CPU cores, but is not processor group aware. Otherwise, general features of Process Lasso such as ProBalance, Performance Mode, and process rules still apply to the 3990x. CorePrio does NOT apply to the 3990x, it is specific to the 2990wx.

Why does my screen brightness change when Process Lasso enters Performance Mode?

A change to your display brightness is caused by the switch of the active power profile.

To fix it, you need to adjust the brightness for the power profile ‘Bitsum Highest Performance’, and any others you may use, to match your desired settings. To do this, go to the Windows ‘Power and sleep settings’, then click ‘Additional power settings’, then change the power profile settings as desired (you may have to click ‘show additional plans’).

Does Process Lasso report user or process data to Bitsum?

No! We value your privacy and data. Process Lasso doesn’t report any user or process data back to Bitsum. There is not even any application telemetry. The only connection to Bitsum servers occurs to activate or verify a license, and to check for updates.

How can I reduce CPU utilization of the Process Lasso GUI when it is visible?

The Process Lasso GUI consumes negligible resources when it is minimized. When visible, it does consume a small amount of CPU resources to keep the display updated. Users can reduce this CPU use by decreasing the refresh rate of the GUI via ‘Options / General settings / Refresh interval (GUI)’. For example, changing it to 2 seconds from the default of 1 second would reduce CPU consumption by half.

Remember, the Process Lasso GUI (ProcessLasso.exe) can also be closed entirely and the core engine (ProcessGovernor.exe) will continue to enforce process rules non-interactively in the background.

Process Lasso GUI refresh rate adjustment

Process Lasso GUI refresh rate adjustment

Users may wish to also check View / Effects / Disable progress bar themes‘. However, again, this only matters when the GUI main window is visible.

My application does not use of all CPU cores. Can Process Lasso fix this?

Except for special situations such as a CPU with more than 64 threads, this particular scenario isn’t something that can be addressed externally. It is a limitation in how multi-threaded an application is. Many tasks are inherently single-threaded, so the application developer is not always able to make full use of available CPU cores.

Process Lasso can still be beneficial though. Its ProBalance algorithm can help preserve system responsiveness during high loads and prevent interference in game play. Other features, such as power profile automation, may also be useful.

That said, the Instance Balancer can help distribute the CPU load resulting from multiple instances of an application, and the Group Extender can help group unaware applications make full use of the CPU (for use when there are more than 64 logical CPU cores, resulting in more than one processor group).

 

Still no answer? You should contact us, but there is also a legacy FAQ if you want to keep searching.