Scott Hanselman

Productivity Tip: Make Outlook's Priority "Above Normal"

December 27, 2005 Comment on this post [6] Posted in Musings
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I'm back at work this morning and it's all about email. I like to keep ZERO emails in my Inbox, since it's my "IN-BOX" and not my "Hold a bunch of crap for an indefinite period of time BOX." However, there's like a million background things running since my laptop hasn't been hooked up to the wired corporate network in a few weeks. Outlook just wasn't getting the cycles it needed.

Solution: I set Outlook's priority by right-clicking within Task Manager to "Above Normal." Suddenly I'm back banging through emails faster than ever. I wonder if this is a good idea for everyday work? Wasn't the foreground application supposed to get more respect?

Now playing: MaryMary - In The Morning

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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December 27, 2005 4:46
I think the problem is that most things that are 'background' taks are not actually background tasks. They run as task tray operations which are just regular Win apps for the most part. Background tasks only apply to tasks that are running in another Windows Context like the System/Services logon.
December 28, 2005 2:45
You dirty rat. You have sucked all of the virtual universe dry of its Outlook energy. Put that thing back were Bill intended it to be and stay away from those switches before you destroy the world.

God Bless

PS Hmm, am I repeating this post or really failing to enter the robot prevention code?
December 28, 2005 12:40
I just performed a similar trick earlier today on the User Experience process in Windows Vista (which manages the new desktop graphics compositing engine), resulting in a more responsive user interface across all running applications. I think custom priority tuning is an under-used tool that can be very useful in certain situations, as you demonstrated. I'll bet the side-effects are hard to nail down, however, so I try to be cautious.
December 28, 2005 21:21
I am wondering if there is a way to setup Outlook to run with the Above Normal priority permanently whenever I launch it?
January 04, 2006 0:07
Create a shortcut that uses "start" to execute Outlook.
Example using Notepad:
cmd /c start /ABOVENORMAL notepad

Open cmd and type "start /?" (without quotes) to view different priorities and other options for starting applications with "start".
January 04, 2006 2:49
Thanks Jonathan!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.