Sometimes your system hangs because some process enters a busy-loop that does evil things, like allocating huge amounts of memory and causing the swapfile manager to make Windows crawl. In those cases it would be nice to have something that runs in high priority that can kill the offending process. Microsoft addressed this by running winlogon.exe and taskmgr.exe in “High” priority, but that’s just not enough…
RealtimeCmd is a simple program that runs in “Realtime” process priority, idle thread priority (thus lower than any other realtime process, but higher than any non-realtime process) and waits for the hotkey Ctrl-Shift-Alt-WinKey-C (*) (use both hands!). When the hotkey happens, it spawns cmd.exe, in realtime process priority.
Important note: Due to the behavior of the CreateProcess function, programs you run in cmd normally will have Normal priority class. To get them to have Realtime priority class, use the “start” command, i.e.: “start /realtime pskill iexplore” instead of just “pskill iexplore”.
Now I’ll explain how to install it as a Windows service, using the Windows Resource Kit tools instsrv.exe and srvany.exe. (These don’t come with Windows – you have to install the resource kit tools from the Windows CD or from the web.)
C:\Misc>instsrv RealtimeCmd [...] [...] "C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe" The service was successfuly added! Make sure that you go into the Control Panel and use the Services applet to change the Account Name and Password that this newly installed service will use for its Security Context. C:\Misc>reg add [...] [...] HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd\Parameters [...] [...] /v Application /d C:\Misc\Tools\RealtimeCmd.exe The operation completed successfully. C:\Misc>reg add HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd [...] [...] /v Type /t REG_DWORD /d 0x110 Value Type exists, overwrite(Yes/No)? y The operation completed successfully. C:\Misc>reg query [...] [...] HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd Type REG_DWORD 0x110 Start REG_DWORD 0x2 ErrorControl REG_DWORD 0x1 ImagePath REG_EXPAND_SZ C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe DisplayName REG_SZ RealtimeCmd ObjectName REG_SZ LocalSystem HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd\Parameters HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd\Security C:\Misc>reg query [...] [...] HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd\Parameters HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RealtimeCmd\Parameters Application REG_SZ C:\Misc\Tools\RealtimeCmd.exe
(*) I was going to use Esc+Ctrl+Tab+Alt+Both Shifts+Num Lock+~, but it was already taken.