CPUBalance: improve PC responsiveness

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 24, 2016
Updated • Dec 13, 2016

CPUBalance is a program for Microsoft Windows devices that is designed to retain system responsiveness during high load times.

It is designed by the creators of Process Lasso, a popular application that does that as well, and a lot more.

CPUBalance is powered by ProBalance, the process optimization technology that improves the responsiveness of the Windows PC.

What makes CPUBalance unique is the fact that it ships with a more advanced version of ProBalance. While that functionality may find its way into Process Lasso eventually, CPUBalance will always feature the latest algorithm while Process Lasso may not.

Another interesting thing about CPUBalance is that it runs as a standalone application but also in cooperation with Process Lasso. If you have installed Process Lasso on your system, it will extend Process Lasso by adding the latest controls and engine updates to the application.


Note: CPUBalance is offered as a free software without nags, restrictions or time limits.

CPUBalance adds an icon to the Windows System Tray on launch. It will run an update check as well which you cannot disable right now. While there is an option under "check for updates" when you right-click on the system tray, selecting it won't change the setting in the latest beta version.

The main program settings list quite an array of options to tweak the ProBalance configuration. The following options are provided right now:

  • Set the minimum CPU usage when you want the program to start making automatic adjustments to improve responsiveness.
  • Set per-process CPU usage when adjustments should start or stop.
  • Set the allowed time over CPU quota before adjustments begin.
  • Set the maximum and minimum time for adjustments.
  • Lower processes to idle priority instead of below normal (not selected by default).
  • Ignore all foreground processes, and all processes not running at normal priority.
  • Exclude system services from restraint.
  • Change affinity during restrained (only change CPU affinity, round robin CPU affinity selection, reduce CPU affinity by one randomly selected processors) (not selected by default)
  • Disable ProBalance functionality when the PC is idle. (not selected by default).
  • Lower I/O priority during restrating.
  • Disable CPU Core Parking during ProBalance restraint.
  • Set excluded processes.

CPUBalance Insights

cpubalance insights

CPUBalance Insights, which you can start from the system tray menu, is a log of sorts that lists the processes on the system that had to be retrained the most.

Each process is listed with its name, count, frequency of action and the last restraint time and date.

There is little else to do there other than opening the logs which displays additional information and options to filter the listing.

Closing Words

It is difficult to test programs that improve PC responsiveness. Some say that these programs are mostly snake oil, while others swear on them.

CPUBalance is a professionally designed program for Windows but it is quite difficult to come up with a target audience for the program. Process Lasso users may be interested in it as it extends the application, but is it worth the extra money? If Process Lasso works fine, there is little need to pay extra.

Non Process Lasso users on the other hand may prefer free solutions such as the recently reviewed Project Mercury which offer similar functionality.

Nothing is keeping you from giving CPUBalance a try. You can download the program from the developer site currently and install it just fine without need for activation right away. This should give you enough time to find out if it is beneficial on your system.

Now Read: Project Mercury is a free alternative to CPUBalance

CPUBalance: improve PC responsiveness
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CPUBalance: improve PC responsiveness
CPUBalance is a program for Microsoft Windows devices that is designed to retain system responsiveness during high load times.
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  1. unyk said on December 16, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I’ve been using this since the day you mentioned it here. I use all three browsers & Firefox has 306 restraints, Opera 24 & Google chrome dosent even show up in the list!.

    1. Jeremy Collake said on December 16, 2016 at 10:57 am

      There is a reason for that ;). Chrome already uses it’s own ProBalance-Like algorithm to manage it’s background instances! So, it has taken action on *itself* and thus Process Lasso does not have to.

  2. Zero3K said on November 26, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Which ProcessGovernor.exe should be running when both it and Process Lasso are installed? The one provided by it or Process Lasso? If its supposed to be the one it provides, then please add a check to make sure that one is the one that is running (since right now the one that Process Lasso uses is running after they both load at startup).

    1. Jeremy Collake said on December 7, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      @Zero3k: During testing I believe I determined the cause of what you are seeing. The next version of v8 Process Lasso will have a fix. Only one of the two instances you saw was truly active (due to the aforementioned mutex), but indeed two governor instances could have technically existed in the same session with CPUBalance *beta* and Process Lasso installed. Again, that’s why I still have the beta label on it. With so much shared code and interdependence, I have to check things carefully. Thanks!

    2. Jeremy Collake said on November 26, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      I designed for that. Only one instance of the silent background core engine (processgovernor.exe) is ever running in a given user session.

      So which Governor? The newest you have installed. Now, its possible to also run the older one, if you did manually for instance, and that is also OK. I have back-ported everything necessary to make all our projects compatible.

      For instance, Lasso v8 will launch CPUBalance’s ProcessGovernor.exe, if installed, over it’s own.

      1. Jeremy Collake said on November 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        As I thought about this more, and us not seeing it, it would be impossible for multiple governors to be active in the same user session. Why? For over 10 years we have used the *same* MuteEx to prevent multiple execution of the processgovernor.exe component in the same session, regardless of version. Therefore, I think that your case is some exceptional one, and one of those instances is just sitting idle OR is running as a service or in another session (those possibilities still exist, as I said we are in beta). I would love more info and a screenshot, but not here, at an appropriate venue or emailing us at [email protected] . Thank you Zero3K!

      2. Jeremy Collake said on November 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        Make sure Lasso is and CPUBalance latest – some server troubles delayed updates for a bit and they resumed only a few hours ago (updates off for about a day). Assuming versions are latest, there may be a case not yet handled, which is why CPUBalance is still in BETA. I carefully mark releases in accordance to my confidence in them, so I hope users adhere by there.

        And you know my email, we can fix this w/o public forum. I am under immense pressure to finish final repair of our server infrastructure and release all these projects. Additional public pressure doesn’t help.

        FWIW, I am not seeing this internally, so I think we’ll either identify the cause or it is already fixed and just not pushed out yet.

      3. Zero3K said on November 29, 2016 at 2:56 am

        The ProcessGovernor.exe loaded twice during the startup process of the reboot I just did. Both CPUBalance and Process Lasso are at the latest version.

      4. Zero3K said on November 27, 2016 at 12:02 am

        Yeah, Process Lasso doesn’t use the one provided by CPUBalance when its upgraded/started. I have to manually stop and start the core engine via the context menu of its system tray icon in order for it to use the one provided by CPUBalance.

      5. Jeremy Collake said on November 26, 2016 at 11:16 pm

        The current Lasso beta series is literally FOR this purpose, so give me time to finish everything ;). We’ll get there.

      6. Zero3K said on November 26, 2016 at 10:50 pm

        Well, the old one was running at the end of the startup procedure of my Windows 10 installation.

  3. Jozsef said on November 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    The only time my Windows systems grind to a halt is when 100% hard drive activity is indicated. This is an odd situation in which little data seems to be written but quad core and hyperthreading become irrelevant and patience is the only option. Is there a remedy for this very common occurrence?

    1. Jeremy Collake said on November 26, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      *corrected answer*

      For I/O issues there is sadly not a lot to be done. You have to improve the speed of the I/O. You can do a few marginal tweaks, but nothing that will help you a lot. An SSD is of course best and a miracle compared to HDDs ;). FWIW, you can lower the I/O priority, but not raise it (that is only for paging operations). So, no, that is one problem I can not help with.

      However, there will be times where you *do* have high CPU utilization, and I like to think of CPUBalance as the ultimate safety, if nothing else.

    2. Jeremy Collake said on November 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Misread – You said you had an I/O issue where the hard drive is pegged at 100%. See below.

      If the CPU is pegged at 100%, then it is ‘CPU Bound’, meaning the block is in the CPU. So, the answer then is: Why is the CPU at 100%? Is it doing some on-the-fly compression, encryption, or even just indexing by chance? In any case, YES, this tool absolutely is designed to address situations similar to this – whether this exact scenario or not (since I don’t know the cause of your particular case for sure).

      It really is amazing, that is why we have a live demo and video. And real-world examples to point you to. It is striking, even on a brand-new Ultrabook. BUT that does NOT mean it solves ALL CPU related issues (some are inherent), but it does improve most scenarios.

  4. Jeremy Collake said on November 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you for the review ghacks.net!

    Note that this software is still an inch from final, so is still technically beta. I want to warn all users of this. Maybe 1 week remains.

    When will Lasso catch up? It is literally right behind it, and has some really cool changes of it’s own.

    I have been working extremely hard, perhaps harder than I have in years (and I always work hard!), to bring us to the next level. Just compare our web site and products from one year ago and I think you will see the progress ;).

    Thanks to all that use our software – free or not. And, yes, most of it, even the freemium stuff, is still free-er than not.

    p.s. No other software does what ProBalance (CPUBalance or Process Lasso) do. They may do something similar, but I’ve got 20 years of real-world playtime, so learned a few things.

    1. Jeremy Collake said on November 25, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Oh, and as for testing our tools, we have a benchmarking utility right here – https://bitsum.com/how-probalance-works/

      If you don’t trust our ‘CPUEater’, we mention third party and real-world scenarios to show the efficacy.

      ProBalance is one of the FEW algorithms that can be so amazingly demonstrated in efficacy.

      Lastly, CPUBalance is 99% FREE. It is at least as FREE as any competitor you mention. Right now it never expires and has no feature restrictions.

  5. jojo said on November 24, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Unsure why most would need software like this. Maybe if doing heavy gaming or multi-tasking with CPU loading apps?

    My system with 16GB RAM and I7/4790K loafs along at 4% usage most of the time.

    1. Jeremy Collake said on November 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      1. Worst-case scenario of an out-of-control process that would otherwise force a hard reset!
      2. Improve responsiveness when one or more background processes temporarily interferes with whatever you are doing (e.g. playing a game).

  6. Tom Hawack said on November 24, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    The guy needs cash. Who doesn’t? After ‘Process Lasso’ which I run, registered, and its modules of which ‘ParkControl’ and now ‘CPUBalance’ made available provided a few bucks the scenario is becoming obvious and, IMO, slightly grotesque.

    ‘Process Lasso’ is just fine. The sell-off of its components is pathetic. ParkControl as a seperate module does include more features than its integration in ProcessLasso does… if you pay. This means that anyone who bought a license for ProcessLasso which includes the ParkControl component needs to pay extra to take advantage of ParkControl’s development, when it should be developed as well in ProcessLasso itself.

    Concerning this CPUBalance, no idea if it offers more than what it does integrated in ProcessLasso. If it does that would repeat the scenario of above mentioned ParkControl.

    ProcessLasso has many features. Which will be the next to be updated as a separate module? SartTrim maybe, who knows?

    1. Jeremy Collake said on November 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you sir (for your later reply) and for your use of my software. I understand not liking the ParkControl change. It was a bit of a ‘jolt’ and maybe I could have done it better.

      (Feeling defensive in some way) Honestly, I am a poor man and it is surprisingly expensive to develop Windows apps (digital sigining, MSDN, maintain your own storefront, etc..). Thus, the money I collect from my Free/Freemium projects is just to sustain everything, and help pay my family’s (me and my wife) basic bills – though she also has a full time job. Believe me, if I was living large, I’d have some fancy PR guy over here responding for me, lol. It is always tempting to go to a larger corporation, where presumably my skillset would pay well and life be easy, but after 20 years of independence, I don’t want to call it quits anytime soon!

      Anyway, yea, ‘dirty tricks to collect money’ – I can’t blame you for suspecting the worst in this world, but Bitsum doesn’t do that crap, and have a history to show such ;). Maybe that is why I am poor, lol.

      1. Tom Hawack said on November 25, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        Far from me the obsession of a free world, I mean in terms of business and commerce, of course!
        I was annoyed by the fact that a Process Lasso (PL) Pro PAID user would have to pay a second time if he wanted to take advantage of the latest developments of some of PL’s modules, enhanced from now on as separate apps. You explained that this was not the case and from there on there is no problem, believe me.

        No problem, only a regret, that to consider that ParkControl will be developed/enhanced from now on only within its independent application. As I said, I do acknowledge that you you “just can’t maintain ‘apps within an app’, and these apps outgrew their ‘container’.” Of course I acknowledge as well that, be it ParkControl, be it CPUBalance, both remain in the core of PL, CPUBalance of course because it is the basis of PL, and ParkControl as well even if the ParkControl (paid version especially) independent app brings more than the PL integrated one.

        Anyway, this is now factual. Thanks for having clarified the context.

    2. Jeremy Collake said on November 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      No features have been or will be removed from Process Lasso. This is not a ploy to milk money from our user base, else these tools wouldn’t be so free to start with. I have written a lot about these decisions, and will write more, but NONE are being made for fiscal reasons. I just can’t maintain ‘apps within an app’, and these apps outgrew their ‘container’. Process Lasso will still do everything and more, version 9 is great – coming up after this.

      ANY Process Lasso Pro PAID user (not free promotional licenses) is eligible for free Pro licenses for this or ParkControl Pro. All you have to do is ask.

      p.s. No other software does what ProBalance (Process Lasso or CPUBalance) do. They may do something different, but I’ve got 20 years of real-world playtime, so learned a few things ;).

      1. Tom Hawack said on November 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        Hello Jeremy,

        As I understand it you are the developer, in which case pardon my rather straightforward wording above.

        I had no idea that, to quote you, “ANY Process Lasso Pro PAID user (not free promotional licenses) is eligible for free Pro licenses for this or ParkControl Pro. All you have to do is ask.” This invalidates my above argument. Nevertheless I dislike having to run ProcessLasso built-in modules within their external “emancipated”/enhanced external sister app. I acknowledge that you “just can’t maintain ‘apps within an app’, and these apps outgrew their ‘container’.”, but I admit this bothers me. I’ve always appreciated the all-in-one construction of Process Lasso.

        Need to say Process Lasso itself (the “mother”!) is a fantastic tool which integrates far more than simple (even if highly skilled) cpu balance. It’s a wonderful tool and the license is not expensive at all.

        Hence, please forget my first post.

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