What Is CPU Throttling And How To Enable Or Disable It On Windows

What Is CPU Throttling And How To Enable Or Disable It On WindowsWhat Is CPU Throttling And How To Enable Or Disable It On Windows

Key Points

  • CPU Throttling limits CPU consumption by lowering the clock rate to extend battery life and reduce heat dissipation but compromises performance.
  • CPU throttling can be enabled or disabled by choosing a power plan, from the Group Policy editor, and Window Registry.
  • You can enable or disable the Efficiency Mode in the Task Manager for per-process CPU throttling.

The term “throttling” is derived from the word “throttle,” which is how the power of an engine is controlled. The more the throttle is opened, the more power an engine can make. The same concept applies to system components.

Throttling refers to controlling the power consumption of an element. CPU throttling, also known as “Dynamic frequency scaling” and “power throttling,” is the process of controlling the power consumption of the processor, or CPU.

The Windows operating system can automatically manage the power consumed by the CPU by dropping its clock frequency when it is possible. This, in turn, consumes less power, benefiting laptop users with battery-operated computers, and prolonging the battery life. However, its downside is that the computer then lacks in performance.

On Windows 10 and Windows 11, CPU throttling is disabled by default, except for a few apps and programs that automatically enable it for themselves, like Google Chrome. However, there are multiple ways of managing CPU throttling that are discussed in this post.

What is CPU throttling?

CPU throttling is the automatic management of CPU processing and clock cycles. When talking about processors, you may come across a listed frequency, like 3.2 gigahertz (GHz). This means that the processor has a clock speed of 3.2 GHz. But when CPU throttling is enabled, the clock speed may drop to 2.8 GHz, or 2.6 GHz, as per need.

When the clock speed drops, so does the number of tasks performed each second, therefore reducing the system’s performance. However, on a positive note, the power consumption is also reduced, which can make your notebook’s battery last longer.

Enable or disable CPU throttling

There are several methods to enable or disable CPU throttling. Choose the one that works for you and allows you to manage this setting conveniently.

Note: The methods and the images below are directed toward Windows 11, but also work for Windows 10.

Manage CPU throttling from Settings app

On Windows, the Settings app gives centralized controls over the OS, including CPU throttling. Note that in the Settings app, the setting does not directly mention “CPU throttling,” but other power-management settings indirectly manage it.

Use the following steps to enable or disable CPU throttling from the Settings app:

  1. Press the Windows Key + i to open the Settings app.

  2. Click System.

  3. Click “Power & battery.”

    Open the Power battery settings page
    Open the Power battery settings page
  4. Click on the drop-down menu in front of “Power mode” to expand the options.

  5. Choose from one of the following options:

    • Best power efficiency – Enables Power throttling
    • Best Performance – Disables power throttling
    • Balanced – Enables Power throttling
    Enable or disable CPU throttling from Settings
    Enable or disable CPU throttling from Settings

Enable or disable CPU throttling from Control Panel

The legacy Control Panel still exists in Windows 11, which can also be used to enable or disable CPU throttling. Here is how you can control CPU throttling from the Control Panel:

  1. Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run Command box.

  2. Type in “control” and press Enter to open the Control Panel.

  3. Click “System and Security.”

    Open System and Security settings
    Open System and Security settings
  4. Click “Power options.”

    Open Power Options
    Open Power Options
  5. Select one of the following power plans:

    • Balanced (recommended) – Enables CPU throttling
    • High performance – Disables CPU throttling

    Note: If one of the power plans is not available, you can create your own power plan and configure it accordingly.

    Select a Power Plan
    Select a Power Plan
  6. [Optional] Click “Change plan settings” in front of the selected power plan.

    Change plan settings
    Change plan settings
  7. Click “Change advanced power settings.”

    Manage advanced power settings
    Manage advanced power settings
  8. In the “Power options” window, click “Processor power management” to expand it, and then click “Maximum processor state.”

    Open processor power management settings
    Open processor power management settings
  9. Change the maximum processor power percentage.

    Set its value depending on whether you are disabling CPU throttling, in which case it should be 100%, or 80% or lower if you are enabling CPU throttling. You may also adjust different processor states depending on whether the AC power is plugged in or not.

    Adjust maximum CPU processor state
    Adjust maximum CPU processor state
  10. Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Enable or disable CPU throttling from Group Policy

Windows also has a Group Policy that activates or deactivates CPU throttling. To enable or disable the feature using the Group Policy, use these steps:

  1. Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run Command box.

  2. Type in “gpedit.msc” and press Enter to launch the Group Policy editor.

  3. Navigate to the following path from the left pane:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Power Management > Power Throttling Settings
  4. Double-click the policy “Turn off Power Throttling” on the right.

    Open the Power Throttling Group Policy
    Open the Power Throttling Group Policy
  5. Select one of the following options:

    • Enabled – Disables CPU throttling
    • Disabled – Enables CPU throttling
  6. Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

    Enable or disable CPu throttling from the Group Policy editor
    Enable or disable CPU throttling from the Group Policy editor
  7. Now run the following command in an elevated Command Prompt to enforce the new Group Policy changes:

    GPUpdate /Force
    gpupdate force latest
    Enforce the Group Policy changes

Enable or disable CPU Throttling from Windows Registry

If you didn’t already know, the Registry is the heart and soul of the Windows OS and a database for the OS to look up the information it needs for proper functioning. If the methods to enable or disable CPU throttling did not work for you, then you can use the following steps to get the job done directly from the Windows Registry. Here is how:

Note: Misconfiguration of critical values in the system’s registry could be fatal for your operating system. Therefore, we insist that you create a system restore point or a complete system image backup before proceeding forward with the process.

You can also use our top selection of disk imaging and backup software so you never lose your data or operating system again.

  1. Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run Command box.

  2. Type in “regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry editor.

  3. Navigate to the following path from the left pane:

    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power
    
  4. Right-click the “Power” key, expand New, and then click Key. Name this key “PowerThrottling.”

    Create the PowerThrottling key under Power
    Create the PowerThrottling key under Power
  5. Now right-click the “PowerThrottling” key, expand New, and click “DWORD (32-bit) Value.” Name this DWORDPowerThrottlingOff.”

    Create the PowerThrottlingOff DWORD
    Create the PowerThrottlingOff DWORD
  6. Double-click the “PowerThrottlingOff” DWORD and set its value data to one of the following options:

    • 1 – Disable CPU throttling
    • 0 – Enables CPU throttling
    Enable or disable CPU throttling from Windows Registry
    Enable or disable CPU throttling from Windows Registry
  7. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

Enable or disable CPU Throttling using .REG files

If you want to avoid performing all of the steps in the last section above, you can use the registry files provided below that will enable or disable CPU throttling from the Windows Registry as well.

Simply click on the provided link to download the package, and extract the respective .REG file, and execute it. Provide confirmation when asked.

What Is CPU Throttling And How To Enable Or Disable It On Windows 3  Enable CPU throttling (321 bytes, 43 hits)

What Is CPU Throttling And How To Enable Or Disable It On Windows 3  Disable CPU throttling (325 bytes, 42 hits)

Manage pre-app CPU throttling from Task Manager

The Task Manager provides information on running apps and processes. While you may not know, Windows 11 also introduced an “Efficiency Mode” a while back which lowers the priority of a process and executes it when the higher-priority tasks have been performed. It turns out, that it also enables CPU-throttling for individual processes when Efficiency Mode is enabled.

Additionally, you can also see the CPU throttling status for individual processes in the Task Manager. The respective column that shows the status is hidden by default. Use the steps below to show the CPU throttling status in the Task Manager and enable or disable the feature for individual processes.

  1. Press the CTRL + Shift + Esc combination keys to launch the Task Manager.

  2. Shift to the Details tab.

    Open the Details tab in the Task Manager
    Open the Details tab in the Task Manager
  3. Right-click any of the column headings and click “Select columns.”

    Select the columns to show
    Select the columns to show
  4. Scroll down, select “Power Throttling,” and click OK.

    Show the Power Throttling column
    Show the Power Throttling column

    You will now see a column at the end of the Task Manager showing whether “Power Throttling” is enabled or disabled from individual processes.

  5. To enable or disable CPU/power throttling for a process, right-click on the process and toggle the “Efficiency Mode” option.

    Toggle the Efficiency Mode
    Toggle the Efficiency Mode

After performing the steps above, you will notice that if the process already had the Power Throttling status as “Enabled,” it would now be disabled, and vice versa. Here is my example where I enabled the Efficiency Mode on the process “Acrotray.exe,” and now its status has changed to “Enabled”.

Efficiency Mode in the Task Manager toggles per app CPU throttling
Efficiency Mode in the Task Manager toggles per-app CPU throttling

Should CPU throttling be enabled or disabled?

As mentioned above, enabling CPU throttling affects the system performance as well as the battery life. When performing CPU-intensive tasks, your system may seem sluggish and the tasks may take longer to complete if CPU throttling is enabled. On the other hand, if you are running low on battery, then CPU throttling could be a lifesaver.

Moreover, when CPU throttling is enabled, the computer may reduce the power supplied to the CPU to maintain its temperature, in the case they are going above the normal values.

In the end, it all comes down to the user’s preferences. The rule is that if you want performance, CPU throttling should be disabled, and if you prefer a longer battery time, then CPU throttling should be enabled.

If you liked this post, Share it on:

Get Updates in Your Inbox

Sign up for the regular updates and be the first to know about the latest tech information

Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

Leave the first comment