We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Cycle Stealing?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cycle stealing is an action in which a computer process directly accesses the central processing unit (CPU) to get resources needed to complete the process. This normally occurs when a computer is not being used; the CPU will take advantage of the downtime to run needed processes. When a process needs resources, it generally takes quite a bit of time to get them, but this system considerably shortens the search. While this system has proven useful in some ways, it generally leads to system degradation that causes parts of the computer to become incapable of reaching the CPU. These errors, and the fact that CPUs typically can perform a similar task without these problems, mean cycle stealing is not commonly used.

Desktop computers and sometimes laptops often are kept on during the day, even when people are not directly using them. While many people use their computers often while they are on, there are very few who use a computer 24 hours straight. This results in downtime during which the system is on but not being used, and this is when cycle stealing will occur in computers that have the ability. This is because the stealing process often takes up much of a computer’s resources, and this would lead to very poor speeds if a person were accessing programs at the same time.

When a process needs the CPU, it often goes through a somewhat long chain of events. The process begins by getting a bus protocol, which is held until the last process gets resources. After the CPU goes through a clock cycle, it releases the memory, which goes back through the bus and to the process. In cycle stealing, the process skips most of that and goes directly for the clock cycle from the CPU.

Completing long processes when users are away has many benefits, but cycle stealing system has proved too ineffective for widespread usage. This is because, constant use of the CPU leads to system degradation. Slower processing is one of the smaller problems, while the inability of certain memory channels to connect with the CPU is a larger problem.

Beyond these failures with cycle stealing, there is another reason why this system is not commonly used. Some CPUs are able to divide their power to different buses, so there is little reason for cycle-stealing function with newer computers available in 2011. Computers also are used more during the workday, and businesses usually want the computers off when the day is over to save electricity, so there is not as much time for processes to directly take resources from a CPU.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.