CNET Editors' note: This installer is meant for 32-bit Windows systems. For 64-bit Windows PCs, download Process Lasso (64-bit).
CNET Editors' review
At Download.com, we've long recommended the excellent Mark Russinovich-created and Microsoft-supplied Process Explorer freeware, which provides scads of info on all of your Windows PC processes and options for managing them. Well, Process Lasso is like the peanut butter for Process Explorer's chocolate. It lets users set default priorities and CPU affinities for specific processes, establish rules for how processes behave, and also create alerts and automatic events for when processes misbehave or use too much memory. The interface is outdated and not beginner friendly, but Process Lasso offers very useful features in a powerful little package.
In some ways, Process Lasso is great for newbies -- install it, run it, forget about it, and Process Lasso will moderate the process activity on your computer in order to maintain optimal performance (based on the default configuration settings that make up Process Lasso's ProBalance algorithm). Everyone's computer is different, and to make the most of Process Lasso, I recommend (gasp!) reading the included documentation in order to avoid user-unfriendly messages like "If you don't know what this message means, STOP NOW."
Process Lasso exists as two basic applications -- the core engine (ProcessGovernor.exe), which can be run all by itself; and the graphical interface (ProcessLasso.exe), which allows users to configure Process Lasso, manage processes, and monitor activity. You can use the GUI to configure your rules and settings and then close the interface to let the engine run in the background. (You also have the option to kill the engine when you quit the GUI.)
The main window of the interface includes a list of all PC processes, plus a processor use/responsiveness graph, and meters for CPU and RAM usage. All actions taken by the users or automatically by the ProBalance algorithm are recorded in a running list at the bottom of the screen. When spikes in processor or RAM use occur, Process Lasso highlights the events on the graph in green. One very nice touch is the ability to automatically terminate any process. You might not be able to delete it, but you can stop it from ever running!
The documentation is a bit outdated in parts (a few mentions of "New in v4"), yet comprehensive, and almost required to use Process Lasso effectively. The amount of available settings are overwhelming, which is nice for the power user, but a bit intimidating to normal folks. Once you take the time to learn how the program works, however, I think you'll find it to be an excellent little weapon to add to your Windows freeware arsenal.
Process Lasso will make your PC operate more smoothly by automatically re-prioritizing running programs. When a process starts to monopolize the CPU(s), it is temporarily reduced in priority so that it does not bring your system to a stall. We call this feature Process Balance. Process Lasso also offers an assortment of ways to take full control of processes running on your computer. You can choose what priority and what CPUs any process should be given each time it is launched. You can also have overly active processes automatically moved to the CPUs of your choice until they calm down.
It also offers a number of features to automatically apply various settings to running processes. For instance, you can chose to automatically disallow certain processes, set default (sticky) CPU and I/O priorities, default affinities, default power schemes, and enter no sleep mode. The core engine of Process Lasso is isolated into its own process for minimal resource consumption and maximum configuration.
What's new in this version: Version 126.96.36.199 has fixed an issue launching some external tools when silent updates are enabled and improved memory load bar graph painting.
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All versions:4.0 stars
out of 53 votes
Current version:0 stars Be the first to review this product
My rating:Write review
"Not For Everyone"
Version: Process Lasso 188.8.131.52
I really could use this software. I thought it would be very helpful in making my computer run a little more smoothly.
I downloaded Lasso 3 times and each time I get a message stating it can not run on my system. It was disappointing. I could not figure out what was the problem. This has never happened before since I have the latest computer with Windows 7.
Does not work for me!
"Better at handling cores than Windows 7"
Version: Process Lasso 184.108.40.206
Works seamlessly in the background. If you run multiple programs at the same time, Process Lasso allocates CPU/Memory so that no one program slows the system. Easy to set up and adjust settings with help of a very detailed GUI. For those who want plug and play ease, it does that well too.
Gets better with each update.
None so far.
If you have 3 or more cores, this program will benefit performance.
"Slowed my PC after a while"
Version: Process Lasso 220.127.116.11
At first it did seem to make a small positive difference.
It started hanging up my pc. I removed it and performance improved
I guess it is worth a try, but for me it was just more snake oil. It took me a while to figure that out though.
"Makes computer responsive when overloaded."
Version: Process Lasso 18.104.22.168
It only takes a little CPU and makes my computer responsive in any type of overload, no matter how many programs I'm running.
None that I know.
Makes computer responsive when overloaded.
"Overpriced, overhyped and underpowered"
Version: Process Lasso 22.214.171.124
It's easier to for a newbie to use than Process Explorer by Sysinternals
It's unstable-- it crashed multiple times. It isn't worth the money they want for it.
At any given point, there are between 30-120 different processes running on your computer. Some of them are system processes generated by Windows, but many are the applications you install.The developer's response points to a universal problem: the software works well when they test it, but some users simply can't get it to run consistently.
To keep this unruly crowd in check-- to keep them from hogging your memory of the CPU time-- Windows has a process manager which assigns each one a priority. To do that, it tries to identify what application it is, what its purpose is and what it's trying to do. A simple example: usually the antivirus program gets priority over everything else, because the the process manager assumes it is trying to protect you, and that's more important.
The process manager that comes with Windows (Task Manager) isn't very smart (it basically tries to please everyone by favoring no one) and it's not easy to configure. A number of people have written programs that do a better job.
The one I have always used is PROCESS EXPLORER, by a company named Sysinternals. Their products were so good-- so powerful and efficient-- that Microsoft bought the company. The two programmers now work for Microsoft and continue to release this and other products.
The catch with PROCESS EXPLORER is that it's not easy for new users to understand and it won't automatically assign priorities. It's not tough to do (right click on a process and use SET PRIORITY), but you have to know which program is your antivirus, which is your media player and so forth. Grandma can't do that; my Uncle Ray causes more problems than he solves. One time he killed all the instances of SVCHOST.EXE, (the program that runs all the Windows Services) thinking it was a virus and then wondered why his computer wouldn't work.
I wish I could report that PROCESS LASSO is the solution I was hoping for. But it isn't.
It's a good idea... When you install it. PROCESS LASSO loads itself into memory, checks everything in memory. Using a proprietary database of (in theory) every different application out there, it assigns priorities to everything you have installed.
These priorities are saved, so they don't need to be reset every time you start an application. The assessments are good... it knows that your role-playing game or media player should get a higher priority than the Java Updater, so your content doesn't slow down to a crawl.
The catch? It crashed six times in 15 days, and I had to restart my system. It choked about 50% of the time I tried to install new programs (which I do a lot because I provide services for business and are always looking for new tools they can use).
It didn't like Vista and it didn't seem happy on a system that had a virtual machine. There were far too many times that PROCESS LASSO caused slowdowns because it was having trouble directing traffic. There might have been other issues, but at that point, I'd seen enough.
I can believe the reviews saying this is a great product-- it did a good job when it was up and running. But I also can't help thinking that many of them are people who've never has something running instead of TASK MANAGER, and they'd be equally thrilled with any other product that did the same thing.
All I know is that I can't, in good conscience, recommend a product that doesn't work when I put stress on it. I'm not going to use anything that SLOWS DOWN my system. You might have better luck with it than I did, if you only do a few things and don't have anything "weird" in your setup.
But I can't say that it's a good idea to install a product and pay for it, if it blows up even occasionally. There are other products that work line bricks-- NOTHING goes wrong-- and I'd suggest using one of those instead.
Updated on Mar 27, 2012
I should note that I didn't try it on Windows 7, because my target users are still on Vista and XP. And I don't doubt that it works fine for a lot of folks. I'm sure I have some ill-behaved stuff running that might blow it up.
But that's why writing stuff that loads on startup and lives in the system tray is so tough. Very few people run vanilla setups, but they all expect it to work, regardless.
As his response shows, the developer is a nice guy-- and he pumps out new versions about every other week. I'll try a later version and see what happens.
"Useful program! It is always on and I refer to it often"
Version: Process Lasso 126.96.36.199
'out of the box' it made my computer useful again. I have skimmed through some of the configurable parts and resolved to learn more about Process Lasso, but left it alone so far.
The many options and settings are overwhelming and daunting for me so far. I have not yet tried to 'fiddle' with most of this program.
I use an old dual processor server machine and run Windows 7 and frequently stress the system with graphics programs and large uploads. Process Lasso cuts back on processes that are not immediately needed, giving memory and processor power to what I am doing right now. I am sold on this program and have recommended it to friends; I recommend it to you also.
"Keeps my Servers and Desktops responsive in overload."
Version: Process Lasso 188.8.131.52
When my i386 single-processor fail-over server needs to be used during maintenence, Process Lasso keeps it humming along with not problems.
The mouse and keyboard always respond, even when the CPU is overloaded. Before I installed Process Lasso, the screen would freeze sometimes and I could not use the keyboard and mouse.
Needs to use a bit less memory, if possible.
Perhaps more optimization will help.
Helps over-loaded systems stay responsive. You can pick the processes you want to run with higher than normal priority, and those you want to run at a lower priority. (Like on Unix systems).
"I can't tell the difference"
Version: Process Lasso 184.108.40.206
It usually works pretty well to keep the processes, etc. moving.
When you change the options for how it starts, at least for keeping the console minimized, it doesn't stick. It stays as a popup after a reboot.
"This new version is better!!"
Version: Process Lasso 220.127.116.11
GOOD PROGRAM very usefull, easy installs easy works!
It's really good at preventing my computer from bogging down when I get too many programs all competing for CPU at the same time.
None at this time
This software let see all programs in executions and tell us how many CPU they are using.
It is usefull to see what is in execution at any time.
I advise this software to all users.
"Lite and functional, but popups on reboot after trial"
Version: Process Lasso 18.104.22.168
Easy on resources. Functional.
After trial period, it popped up a box every time I rebooted, asking me to register. Although you could say no each time, the popup was annoying and bad-practice programming.
The popups were a deal breaker. I uninstalled. Probably will install only when I need it then remove it when I'm done. It's shame they use sleazy practices like this.