A wrong assumption:

For a while now, I have been making a wrong assumption about the ‘number of processors’ setting in MSCONFIG. I honestly believed that it was a throwback or compatibility issue with multi-socket motherboards which used to be more freely available than they are now.

In the old days before multi-core CPUs, not so far back to the days when there was one primary CPU socket and another for a co-processor, if you had a motherboard which had two processor sockets, 1 and 2, the setting in MSCONFIG would allow the user to inform Windows that there would be two CPUs available.

It sounded good but in the case of Windows 9x, one CPU or one core in the case of multi-core CPUs, was all that would ever be recognised, This isn’t to say that Windows 9x wouldn’t run on a multi-CPU/core PC because it would, but only ever use one of them.

Windows 2000 would recognise more than one CPU but only if it was installed on a system where both CPUs were in place. It would take a little bit of work with the OS to get it to recognise another CPU if one was added.

So, the question is:

Does it make a difference if I manually select the maximum number of processors in the MSCONFIG advanced boot options?

And the answer is:

No, it shouldn’t because since Windows 2000, Windows operating systems will automatically use all CPUs and/ or cores by default.

However, if you really do want to constrict your CPU, the MSCONFIG setting gives you the option to close down the cores to just one, but I don’t know why anybody would want to do that.

A formal apology of sorts..

Ok, I apologise for putting forth misinformation regarding the MSCONFIG CPU settings only applying to physical CPUs, and not cores. I was wrong..