Today I wanted to talk about an item of software that’s hit and miss with a lot of fans, a tool called “Timer Resolution” by Lucas Hale. This is a tool that changes the Windows Timer Resolution, how often Windows checks to see if any pending timers need to be triggered, and one of the side effects of this is that the current task is temporarily halted and the context switcher checks to see which task is the next one that should run. By default the smallest timer accuracy you can get in Windows is about 15 milliseconds, but Windows is capable of much better, around 0.5 milliseconds in Vista and above, and this tool lets you control that directly. Of course usually you’ll get a slightly better value since many items of software request a 1 millisecond resolution for themselves and because this affects the Windows process directly, the lowest value will always apply system wide.
Also, you know those settings in Control Panel that can give priority to foreground or background processes? They allocate time based on a undefined unit called a quanta, the reason that this is unit is undefined is that it depends… on the system timer resolution.