BOINC lets you specify "preferences" for how your computer is used. These are divided into two groups:

  • Computing preferences, which apply to all projects.
  • Project preferences, which apply to a single project.

Computing preferences

These determine when and how BOINC uses your computer; for example, whether BOINC should compute while you're using the computer. They apply to all projects. A list of preferences is given below.

You can set computing preferences in several ways:

Setting prefs with the BOINC Manager

You can edit computing preferences using a dialog in the BOINC Manager. Open BOINC Manager, select the "Options" menu item, then select "Computing preferences...".

Using this approach:

  • Changes will take effect immediately.
  • Changes will affect only this computer.
  • Settings will override the preferences set through projects or account managers.

The Manager's Simple view let you control only some of the computing preferences. To get the full list, use the Advanced view.

Setting prefs at a project web site

You can edit preferences on the web site of any of the projects in which you participate. Go to your Account page and click on "Computing preferences".

Computing preferences

To change preferences, click the "Edit preferences" link at the bottom. Using this approach:

  • The changes will affect all computers attached to that account; this is handy if you have a lot of computers.
  • The changes will take effect on a given computer the next time that computer contacts the project's server. This typically happens automatically every day or so. You can do it manually by selecting the project in the BOINC Manager and clicking "Update".

If a computer is attached to several projects, the most recently edited preferences are used.

The web interface is similar to the BOINC Manager except that it doesn't offer day-of-week settings.

Setting prefs with an account manager

Some Account managers, such as BAM!, allow you to set computing preferences. If you do this, these preferences are used rather than those from project web sites.

Setting prefs on Android

On Android devices you can set computing preferences using a dialog in the app. This is the only way to set computing preferences on Android; project and account manager prefs are not used.

Setting prefs in XML

If you need total control and don't mind XML, you can set computing preferences by creating an XML document on the computer.

Project preferences

These only apply to the project you set them at. Example: should BOINC use GPUs when computing for this project?

To edit project preferences, log in to the project web site. Go to your Account page and click on the link next to "Preferences for this project". (Note: the wording and links may be different on some projects.)

This will show you the Project Preferences page

Project preferences

If you want to change anything, click Edit preferences at the bottom of the page

When you change your preferences on the web, the changes won't take effect immediately on your computer; they'll take effect the next time your computer connects to the project's server.
If you want this to happen immediately, bring up the BOINC Manager on your computer, select the project, and click Update.
If you're running BOINC on several computers, preference changes will eventually propagate to all of them.

Location-specific preferences

The BOINC preferences system lets you create separate sets of preferences for different "locations": home, work, and school. Computers can be assigned to any of these locations, and the associated preferences are used for it. If a computer is not assigned a location, it uses the "default" preference set.

To view or set computer locations:

  • Go to the project's web site, go to your Account page, and click 'Computers on this account: View'.
  • Click on the "Details" link of a computer.
  • At the bottom of the page there's a drop-down menu that lets you see or change the location.
  • The default location is '---' or 'default'.

A change to a computer's location will take effect only when that computer contacts the server; you can make this happen immediately using the BOINC Manager's Update command.

Your account has a 'default location' (home, work, or school). New computers attaching to your account will be given the default location. The default location is part of your project preferences.

List of computing preferences

The complete list of computing preferences. The Manager Advanced view and XML config file support all the prefs. Project web sites support all except daily schedules. The Manager Simple view and Android support a simple subset.

The preferences are divided into four groups:


  • Usage limits
    • Use at most N % of the CPUs: Keeps some CPUs free for other applications. Example: 75% means use 6 cores on an 8-core CPU.
    • Use at most N % CPU time: Suspend/resume computing every few seconds to reduce CPU temperature and energy usage. Example: 75% means compute for 3 seconds, wait for 1 second, and repeat.
  • When to suspend
    • Suspend when computer is on battery: Check this to suspend computing when running on battery power.
    • Suspend when computer is in use: Check this to suspend computing and file transfers when you're using the computer.
    • Suspend GPU computing when computer is in use: Check this to suspend GPU computing when you're using the computer.
    • 'In use' means mouse/keyboard input in last N minutes: This determines when the computer is considered 'in use'.
    • Suspend when non-BOINC CPU usage is above N %: Suspend computing when your computer is busy running other programs.
    • Compute only between HH:MM and HH:MM: Specify time-of-day range.
    • Suspend when no mouse or keyboard input in last X minutes: use this if you want (for example) to compute for an hour when the computer is idle, then stop computing so the system can enter a low-power state or sleep.
  • Other
    • Store at least N days of work: Store at least enough tasks to keep the computer busy for this long.
    • Store up to an additional N days of work: Store additional tasks above the minimum level. Determines how much work is requested when contacting a project.
    • Switch between tasks every N minutes: If you run several projects, BOINC may switch between them this often.
    • Request tasks to checkpoint at most every N seconds: This controls how often tasks save their state to disk, so they can be restarted later.


  • Use no more than N GB: Limit the total amount of disk space used by BOINC.
  • Leave at least N GB free: Limit disk usage to leave this much free space on the volume where BOINC stores data.
  • Use no more than N% of total: Limit the percentage of disk space used by BOINC on the volume where BOINC stores data.
  • When computer is in use, use at most N %: Limit the memory used by BOINC when you're using the computer.
  • When computer is not in use, use at most N%: Limit the memory used by BOINC when you're not using the computer.
  • Leave non-GPU tasks in memory while suspended: If checked, suspended tasks stay in memory, and resume with no work lost. If unchecked, suspended tasks are removed from memory, and resume from their last checkpoint.
  • Page/swap file: use at most N %: Limit the swap space (page file) used by BOINC.


  • Usage limits
    • Limit download rate to N KB/second: Limit the download rate of file transfers.
    • Limit upload rate to N KB/second: Limit the upload rate of file transfers.
    • Limit usage to X MB every Y days: Example: BOINC should transfer at most 2000 MB of data every 30 days.
  • When to suspend
    • Specify a range of times during which BOINC can transfer files.
  • Other
    • Skip data verification for image files: Check this ONLY if your Internet provider modifies image files (UMTS does this, for example). Skipping verification reduces the security of BOINC.
    • Confirm before connecting to Internet: Useful only if you have a modem, ISDN or VPN connection.
    • Disconnect when done: Useful only if you have a modem, ISDN or VPN connection.

Daily schedules

  • Specify day and time ranges when BOINC can compute and transfer files.

List of project preferences

Project preferences include:

  • Resource share
The amount of computing resources (CPU time, disk space) allocated to a project is proportional to this number. The default is 100.
Note: this is not a percentage. If a computer has 2 projects added, each with resource share 100, each project will get half the resources.
If a project is given a resource share of 0 it will not receive any resources unless other projects are unable to provide tasks. Using the value 0 is known as 'setting a backup project': you are advised always to leave at least one project with a non-zero resource share, otherwise the backup project system cannot function normally.
  • Use CPU
Run jobs that use only the CPU.
  • Use ATI GPU
Run jobs that use ATI GPUs.
  • Use Nvidia GPU
Run jobs that use NvidiaGPUs.
  • Use Intel GPU
Run jobs that use Intel GPUs.
  • Is it OK for {project name} and your team (if any) to email you?
Whether the project should send you newsletters, or notifications from the forums by email.
  • Should {project name} show your computers on its web site?
Whether the project should show information about your computers (their CPU and OS type, benchmark ratings etc.; not their names or IP addresses) on its web site.
  • Default computer location
The location assigned to computers that attach to this account.
  • Project-specific preferences
Defined by the project; e.g., to specify color schemes for the graphics.
  • Run only the selected applications
Choose which applications you want to run.
Note: Not all projects give this option.
  • If no work for selected applications is available, accept work from other applications?
When there is no work for an application as chosen in the previous preference, can the project else send you work for another application that does have work?