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Boost speeds on busy PCs with Project Mercury

19 September 2016, Mike Williams

Project MercuryModern CPUs are powerful devices which can run most applications without difficulty, but run enough processes at the same time and your performance will soon fall away.

Project Mercury (64-bit version) is a freeware tool which automatically optimises process priorities and RAM usage to ensure your active application always has the maximum system resources.

Setup is easy, because there isn’t any. Download the tiny executable, run it and Project Mercury immediately goes to work.

Start using any application and its priority gets boosted to “Above Normal”. If you’re running lots of processes and they’re fighting over core time, your active program will now get a greater share.

Minimize that program later and Project Mercury reduces its priority, which means it won’t grab quite as many resources while running in the background.

Project Mercury

There are several advanced settings, but you’ll a lot of low-level Windows expertise to understand what they all do

An optional memory cleaning-type feature can also reduce the RAM usage of a process when it’s minimized. That could be a very bad idea, as Windows may have to dump pages to disk and reload them when you switch back, but if you’re interested it’s easy to turn on and off.

A Settings dialog gives access to various other tweaks. Some are reasonably straightforward – you can set the “increased priority level” to AboveNormal, High or RealTime, but others are more complex (Disable Core Parking, Windows FastReact), and as most are entirely undocumented you’re left guessing what might work for you.

Project Mercury won’t work in every situation. Boosting process priorities is only useful when you’ve lots of active threads– if you’re only running one or two applications it’ll probably make no difference at all.

There’s no per-process filter, either. You can’t tell the program to optimise these apps but leave those alone– it’s all or nothing.

Is Project Mercury still worth the download? If you’ve nothing similar, we’d say yes. The default settings really might help improve speeds during heavy multi-tasking, there are lots of advanced tweaks for experts to explore, and the program doesn’t make persistent changes to your system. If it doesn’t work for you, close it down and you’ll be back to normal.

Project Mercury (64-bit version) is a freeware application for Windows Vista and later.

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