Gaming Tips and Tricks #1: Process Affinity

Hey all. I've decided to start writing "Gaming Tips and Tricks" articles every so often that may help some of you gamers out there in troubleshooting problems.

Today's lesson is about multi-core processors and older Windows games. You may notice that on older Windows games such as The Sims 2 or System Shock 2, that the game may become unstable, have intermittent drops in framerate or even freeze your computer. If you have a processor with multiple cores, this may be the culprit. The manual fix for this is everytime you run a game you'll need to change the "process affinity". How do you do this? Read ahead:

Note that the instructions here are for Windows Vista. The process is similar for Windows XP although it doesn't have the UAC/security prompts.

1. Boot up your game
2. Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc)
3. Click the Processes Tab.
4. Click on the Show Processes from all users button
5. Click Continue button for UAC Prompt
6. Right-click the process you want to change the process affinity on (it should have a name similar to the name of the game).
7. Click on Set Affinity.
8. Check the CPUs that you want the process to run on. Usually you'll need to disable all cores except one in order to get older games to work.
9. Click OK
10. Close Task Manager when done. Note that the changes you make only last while the process is running. i.e. the usage of one core will only apply to your current gaming session. Once you close the game, all cores will be used again.