Windows Services
(Windows XP Home, Media and Professional)

To disable or enable Windows Services, first you must know what they are. For our purposes, services are programs that run in the background and do not display an icon in the system tray. Therefore you might be totally unaware they're running. But they are, and all running programs (including services) use system resources. If you don't need something, a program or a service, you should turn it off to save system resources.

You can disable or enable services by clicking "Start" "Run" and typing in "services.msc" (without the quotes) or clicking "Start" "Control Panel" "Administrative Tools" "Services". Do you you want a description of each service? While in the Services dialog, click "File" "Export" and save the file with whatever name you want - to your desktop or other folder where you can easily find it.

When you find a service you want to disable, right-click the service and choose "Properties". In the Properties dialog select "Manual" from the Startup Type drop-down list. From now on the service won't startup with Windows, but you have the option to start it manually via the Services dialog. If you to completely disable the service so it will not run at all - every - choose "Disabled". To see what would happen if you turned off a service before you actually "disable" it, you turn off any service immediately by clicking :Stop The Service" in the left pane, or by right-clicking on the service and choosing "Stop". You can then restart it by right-clicking it and choosing "Start". Using the "Stop" feature is a good way to test the affects of stopping a service before completely disabling it or preventing it from auto-starting with Windows. If stopping the service has an adverse affect on your computer, all you need to do is right-click the service and choose "Start".

The following is a list of Services found in Windows XP. To increase system performance by increasing the amount of system resources you have available, you can disable some of  the services running in the background that you don't nee. The items marked in BLUE should not be disabled unless you have a particular reason to do so.

Read the description of each and if you don't need it, you can disable that particular service. Any service you disable can be re-enabled as well. So if you disable a service you should not have :-) you can "turn it back on" by re-enabling it.

Descriptions of each service were provided from Microsoft (Windows Services in "Computer Management/Services/Export")

  • Alerter - Sends alert messages to users that are connected to the server computer.

  • Automatic Updates - Enables the download and installation of Windows updates. If this service is disabled, this computer will not be able to use the Automatic Updates feature or the Windows Update Web site..

  • Application Management - Permits applications to tap directly into the Add/Remove Programs feature via the Windows Installer technology.

  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service - The Background Intelligent Transfer service is used by Windows Auto Update and should not be disabled.

  • Clipbook - Enables ClipBook Viewer to store information and share it with remote computers. If the service is stopped, ClipBook Viewer will not be able to share information with remote computers. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

  • Computer Browser - Maintains an updated list of computers on the network and supplies this list to computers designated as browsers. If this service is stopped, this list will not be updated or maintained. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

  • DHCP Client - Manages network configuration by registering and updating IP addresses and DNS names. Started Automatic Local System

  • Error Reporting Service - Allows error reporting for services and applications running in non-standard environments. Started Automatic Local System

  • Fast User Switching - Windows XP allows users to switch between users without rebooting.

  • Help and Support - Allows Windows XP's Built-in Help and Support Center to function.

  • IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service - Not needed if you have other software to you use to burn CDs. In other words if you have a program like Nero Burning ROM you can disable this service.

  • Indexing Service - Allows indexing of and displays the contents and properties of files on local and remote computers

  • IP SEC - Manages IP security policy and starts the IP security driver. If you are not on a domain you probably don't need this.

  • Logical Disk Manager - Detects and monitors new hard disk drives and sends disk volume information to Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service for configuration. If this service is stopped, dynamic disk status and configuration information may become out of date. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

  • Messenger - Transmits net send and Alerter service messages between clients and servers. This service is not related to Windows Messenger. If this service is stopped, Alerter messages will not be transmitted. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

  • Net Logon - If you are not on a domain, you don't need this.

  • Network DDE - Provides network transport and security for Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) for programs running on the same computer or on different computers. If this service is stopped, DDE transport and security will be unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start. 

  • NT LM Security Support Provider - Provides security to remote procedure call (RPC) programs that use transports other than named pipes.

  • Performance Logs and Alerts - Collects performance data from local or remote computers based on preconfigured schedule parameters, then writes the data to a log or triggers an alert.  If you don't' monitor your performance logs, you don't need this.

  • Portable Media Serial Number - Gets the the serial number of any portable music device that is connected to your system.

  • QOS RSVP - Provides setup functionality for network signaling and local traffic control QoS-aware applications and applets.

  • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager - Manages and controls Remote Assistance. If you don't use Remote Desktop you don't need this.

  • Remote Registry - Enables users on other computers on the network to modify registry settings on your computer.

  • Routing & Remote Access - Offers routing services on local area and wide area networks. Also allows access by dial-in.

  • Secondary Login - Allows you to run applications as another user.

  • Security Center - Checks status of Firewall, Anti-Virus, and Anti-Spyware apps.

  • Smart Card - Manages smart card access by the computer.

  • Smart Card Helper - Enables support for non-plug and play smart-card readers.

  • System Event Notification - (Used by numerous applications)

  • System Restore Service - (Required by Windows XP System Restore)

  • SSDP Discovery Service - Provides for discovery of UPnP devices on your network.

  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Enables support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) service and NetBIOS

  • Telnet - Enables a user on the network to log on to your computer and run programs, and supportsTelnet clients. If you don't use Telnet and don't even know what it is - you don't need this service.

  • Uninterruptible Power Supply Service - Manages an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to the computer. If you don't have one of these, you don't need this service.

  • Universal Plug and Play Device Host - Provides support Universal Plug and Play devices

  • Upload Manager - Manages file transfers between clients and servers on a network.

  • Volume Shadow Copy Service - Manages and implements Volume Shadow Copies used for backups, etc..
    Web Client - Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files. If this service is stopped, these functions will not be available.

  • Windows Audio - Manages audio devices for Windows-based programs. If this service is stopped, audio devices and effects will not function properly. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

  • Windows Installer - Adds, modifies, and removes applications provided as a Windows Installer (*.msi) package. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

  • Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) - Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network. If you share a connection or use Windows Firewall do not disable this service.

  • Windows Time - Maintains date and time synchronization on all clients and servers in the network. If this service is stopped, date and time synchronization will be unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start

  • Wireless Zero Configuration - Allows automatic configuration for wireless 802.11 adapters

  • WMI Performance Adapter - Provides information about the performance library from WMI HiPerf providers.

Don't forget! Items in BLUE should not be disabled unless you have a really good reason for disabling them or you're an advanced user and know exactly what you're doing. But, if you make a mistake you can go back to the Services dialog and "Restart" any service that you need in order for your computer to run properly.

Also please note your anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and other applications you've installed which are specific to your computer might show as services. If so they are necessary services and should not be disabled.

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All content is copyright ©2006 Cloudeight Internet LLC. Descriptions of individual Windows Services provided by Microsoft (copyright ©Micrsoft) and are accessible by all Windows XP users from Computer Management/Services/Export.