Manage Processor Usage for Optimum Power Management in Windows 7 | 8

Many of you may have noticed that your Windows laptop becomes hot when you use it extensively to perform resource-intensive tasks. Gamers too may have noticed this. This is because, in such cases, your processor in most cases runs at its maximum efficiency, viz 100%. The result is that such extensive intensive usage could cause wear-and-tear to your processor, and consequently, possible reduce its life-span.

Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft has updated support for ACPI processor power management (PPM) features, including support for processor performance states and processor idle sleep states on multiprocessor systems.

To reduce the over-heating, and extend battery life, you can control the state of your processor, by controlling its maximum usage. But you may have to compromise a bit on performance.

Processor Power Management

While in most cases, leaving the options at Processor Power Management at their default values is the best, for most Windows users, some of you may want to tweak them a bit.

To do so, open Control Panel > Power Options > Advanced Settings.

Here under Processor Power Management, you will see three settings: Minimum Processor State, Maximum Processor State and System Cooling Policy.

The Minimum Processor State and Maximum Processor State settings can be used to lock the system processors into a specific processor throttle state. The default values vary from 5% (minimum) to 100% (minimum or maximum) depending on the Power Option used.

Minimum Processor state

It specifies the minimum processor performance state. The performance state is specified as a percentage of maximum processor frequency. You may keep any value between 5% and 100% depending on your Power Option in use.

Maximum Processor state

It specifies the maximum processor performance state. The performance state is specified as a percentage of maximum processor frequency.  If you find that your laptop is over-heating, you may want to consider setting its maximum value to 90%.

System Cooling Policy

This policy setting configures how Windows responds to high thermal conditions on systems that support active cooling features, such as fans. You have two options. Active and Passive.

  1. Active: It increases fan speed before slowing down the processor. The system enables active cooling features such as fans before it reduces the processor performance.
  2. Passive: It slows the processor before increasing fan speed. The system reduces the processor performance before it enables active cooling features such as fans.

If you are looking to learn more about Processor Power Management, you can download this technical paper from Microsoft. This paper provides details of the support in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, describes how PPM functions with the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 power policy store, and provides guidelines for firmware developers and system designers.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.