Speed XP By Disable Unwanted Services

Security and performance are the two main concerns, that Windows XP users (similar to Windows Vista and Windows 2000) need to seriously understanding these 72 Windows services.

Windows service is essentially a Windows program which is running in background. As such, Windows service taking up system resources throughout its execution. While Windows security is not hardened, some of these Windows services might easily expose security vulnerability (such as Alerter, Remote Registry, etc).
This guide covers 72 Windows services, to assist Windows XP users (as well as Windows 2000 or Windows Vista users) to determine which Windows XP services that can be safely disabled.

Note, not all Windows services could be disabled. Some of these Windows services are critical to Windows XP, and should not be disabled. Although, you may re-enable them by booting Windows XP into Recovery Console mode.


  1. Alerter



    Function
    Notify system users or programs about any administrative alerts that raised in Windows XP.
    Status
    Can be safely disabled at all time.


  2. Application Layer Gateway



    Function
    Provides support for application-level protocol plug-ins for Internet Connection Sharing and Windows Firewall.
    Status
    Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, etc, rely on this service to operate. If there is a firewall enabled to safeguard Windows XP, it is safe to enable.

  3. Application Management



    Function
    Provides program installation related services.
    Status
    Disable this service will disallow non-administrator users to perform program installation related activities.


  4. Automatic Updates



    Function
    Enables the download and installation of critical Windows updates.
    Status
    You can safely disable it, and manually trigger the process by using Windows Update online service.


  5. Background Intelligent Transfer


    Function
    Transfers files between clients and servers in the background using idle network bandwidth.
    Status
    If Automatic Updates service has been disabled, you may want to disable this service as well. However, you may not able to download some of the programs from Windows Live, if this service is disabled.


  6. ClipBook



    Function
    Enables ClipBook Viewer to store information and share it with remote computers.
    Status
    This service can be safely disabled, as most users dont utilize this feature.


  7. COM+ Event System
    COM+ System Application


    Function
    Supports System Event Notification Service by providing automatic distribution of events to subscribing COM components.
    Status
    These two services can not be disabled!


  8. Computer Browser



    Function
    Maintain an up-to-date list of networked resources, such as network shared drive and printer, and supply the list to programs that request it.
    Status
    You may safely disable this service if youre not going to share any resources to the network.


  9. Cryptographic services


    Function
    Provides three management services

    1. Catalog Database Service, which confirms the signatures of Windows files
    2. Protected Root Service, which adds and removes Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates from this computer
    3. Key Service, which helps enroll this computer for certificates.

    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time. Automatic Updates and Task Manager rely on this service to function properly.


  10. DHCP Client



    Function
    Allow Windows XP to automatically obtain IP address, WINS server information, routing information, etc.
    Status
    There is no reason to enable it, if youre using fix IP, or no DHCP server available in the network.

  11. Distributed Link Tracking Client



    Function
    Ensures shortcuts and OLE links to work properly when the target file is renamed or moved, by automatically maintain links in NTFS file system.
    Status
    Depending on your wish, this service is safe to disable at all time.


  12. Distributed Transaction Coordinator



    Function
    Coordinates transactions that span over multiple resource managers, such as databases, message queues, and file systems.
    Status
    For most home users, this service is safe to disable at all time.


  13. DNS Client


    Function
    Allows Windows XP to communicate with canonical names rather than numeric-based IP address, by resolving and caching DNS names.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time, to facilitate Windows XP communicate over the network, especially on a network environment with domain controller.


  14. Error Reporting



    Function
    Allow error reporting (to Microsoft) for services and programs running in non-standard environments.
    Status
    You may enable this service only when you are frequently encounter system or program crash.


  15. Event Log


    Function
    Enable event log messages raised by Windows-based programs to be viewed in Event Viewer.
    Status
    Unlike Error Reporting service, this service should be enabled at all time to assist you resolving system failures, audit system security logs, etc.


  16. Fast User Switching Compatibility



    Function
    Enable fast user switching feature that introduced in Windows XP.
    Status
    Although fast user switching is good, but it consumes huge system resources, both memory and CPU. So, it is better to disable this service for performance reason.


  17. Help and Support



    Function

    Enables Windows XP Help and Support Center to run on this computer.
    Status
    Depending on your wish, if you feel comfortable without consulting Windows XP help, then you may safely disable it.


  18. Human Interface Device Access



    Function
    Enables generic input access to Human Interface Devices, which activates and maintains the use of predefined hot buttons on keyboards, remote controls, and other multimedia devices.
    Status
    This service can be safely disabled to free up more system resources to critical services.


  19. IMAPI CD-Burning COM



    Function
    Manages CD recording using Image Mastering Applications Programming Interface (IMAPI).

    Status
    This service can be safely disabled, as most Windows XP users are using Nero burning software for CD/DVD burning.


  20. Indexing Service



    Function
    Indexes contents and properties of files on local and remote computers and provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language.
    Status
    If you dont frequently searching files using Windows search function, or you can tolerate with slow searching function, then you can disable this service to free up some system resources.


  21. IPSEC services



    Function
    Provides end-to-end security between clients and servers on TCP/IP networks.
    Status

    Dont disable this service, if youre connecting over an IPSec secured connection.


  22. Logical Disk Manager
    Logical Disk Manager Administrative



    Function
    Detects and monitors new hard disk drives added to Windows XP, and sends disk volume information to Logical Disk Manager Administrative service for configuration.
    Status
    You may enable these two service only when you are going to add new hard disk drives to Windows XP, rather than turning it on at all time.


  23. Machine Debug Manager



    Function
    Supports local and remote debugging for Visual Studio and script debuggers.
    Status

    Disable this service if you dont perform program debugging processes.


  24. Messenger



    Function
    Transmits net send and Alerter service messages between clients and servers. Note, this service is not related to Windows Messenger or MSN Messenger.
    Status
    This service is safe to disable, if you disable Alerter service.


  25. Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider



    Function
    Manages software-based volume shadow copies taken by the Volume Shadow Copy service.
    Status
    Disable this service if you dont perform Windows Backup.

  26. NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing



    Function
    Enables an authorized user to access you computer remotely by using NetMeeting over a corporate intranet.
    Status
    You should able to justify the reason of enabling this service, that allow remote users access to your Windows XP.


  27. Network Connections



    Function
    Manages the network and dial-up connections, such as network status notification and configuration.
    Status
    This service should be turned on at all time, if your Windows XP is connected to network or Internet.


  28. Network DDE


    Function
    Provides network transport and security for Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) for programs running on the same computer or on different computers.
    Status
    This service is safe to disable, if there is no such need for your Windows XP.


  29. Network DDE DSDM



    Function
    Manages Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) network shares.
    Status
    Disable this service, if you dont use DDE network shares.


  30. Network Location Awareness (NLA)


    Function
    Collects and stores network configuration and location information and notifies applications when this information changes.
    Status
    Enable if this service, if your Windows XP has Internet Connection Sharing or Internet Connection Firewall enabled.


  31. NT LM Security Support Provider



    Function
    Provides security to remote procedure call (RPC) programs that use transports other than named pipes.
    Status
    You may enable this service, if your Windows XP needs to log on to pre-Windows 2000 computers or domains


  32. Performance Logs and Alerts



    Function

    Collects performance data from local or remote computers, based on pre-configured schedule parameters, then writes the data to a log or triggers an alert.
    Status
    Unless you are in the midst of fine tuning Windows XP, you may safely disable this service to free up system resources. This service has potential to impact Windows XP performance after running for some times.


  33. Plug and Play



    Function
    Enables a computer to recognize and adapt to hardware changes with little or no user input.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time. Disable it will cause Windows XP becomes unstable.


  34. Portable Media Serial Number



    Function
    Retrieves serial number of any portable media player connected to Windows XP.

    Status
    Disable this service will cause protected content unable to download to the device.


  35. Print Spooler



    Function
    Manages print queues and load files to memory for later printing.
    Status
    You may safely disable it, if you dont have a printer attached to Windows XP.


  36. Protected Storage



    Function
    Provides protected storage for sensitive data, such as private keys, to prevent access by unauthorized services, processes, or users.
    Status

    This service should be enabled at all time.


  37. QoS RSVP



    Function
    Provides network signaling and local traffic-control setup functionality for QoS-aware programs (Quality of Service) and control applets.
    Status
    You may enable this service, if youre using QoS aware applications.


  38. Remote Access Auto Connection Manager



    Function
    Creates a connection to a remote network whenever a program references a remote DNS or NetBIOS name or address.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time, in order Windows XP to communicate successfully over the network.

  39. Remote Access Connection Manager



    Function
    Manages dial-up and virtual private network (VPN) connections from your Windows XP to the Internet or other remote networks.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time.


  40. Remote Desktop Help Session Manager



    Function
    Manages and controls Remote Assistance.
    Status
    You may safely disable this service, if you dont want remote users to access to your Windows XP via Remote Desktop.


  41. Remote Procedure Call (RPC)


    Function
    Allows processes to communicate internally and across the network with each other.
    Status
    Dont ever disable this service! Disable this service will cause Windows XP fail to boot up.


  42. Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator



    Function
    Manages the RPC name service database, which is similar to DNS service for TCP/IP.
    Status
    This is also a critical service, which should be turned on at all time.


  43. Remote Registry


    Function
    Enables remote users to modify your Windows XP registry settings.
    Status
    Editing Windows Registry is dangerous! Unless you could justify the reason of enabling this service, Remote Registry service should be disabled whenever possible.


  44. Removable Storage



    Function
    Manages and catalogs removable storage media (such as USB mass storage drive) and operates automated removable media devices.
    Status
    This service should be enabled if you frequently attaching removable storage media to Windows XP.


  45. Routing and Remote Access



    Function

    Enables multiprotocol LAN-to-LAN, LAN-to-WAN, virtual private network (VPN), and network address translation (NAT) routing services for clients and servers on the network.
    Status
    Unless youre running Windows XP as server, this service is safe to disabled at most of time, for most Windows XP users.


  46. Secondary Logon



    Function
    Enables starting processes under alternate credentials.
    Status
    Disable this service will disable Run As features.


  47. Security Accounts Manager



    Function
    Stores security information for local user accounts.

    Status
    Disable this service will cause Group Policy objects, DHCP, etc, to fail functioning.


  48. Server



    Function
    Allows the sharing of Windows XP resources, such as files and printers, as well as named pipe communication.
    Status
    If you dont want remote users access to Windows XP resources, or attack via Windows XP hidden share (such as C$, D$, IPC$, etc), you may want to disable this service at all time.


  49. Shell Hardware Detection



    Function
    Provides notifications for AutoPlay hardware events.
    Status

    If you dont want Windows XP automatically pop up auto-play dialog box, you could safely disable this service.


  50. Smart Card



    Function
    Manages access to smart cards read by Windows XP.
    Status
    There is no reason to enable this service, if you dont have smart card reader attached to Windows XP.


  51. SSDP Discovery



    Function
    Used to detect UPnP devices found on the network.
    Status
    Disable this service, if you dont have UPNP devices attached to the network.

  52. System Event Notification



    Function
    Tracks system events such as Windows logon, network, and power events. Notifies COM+ Event System subscribers of these events.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time, especially Windows XP powered laptop (to receive battery related events).


  53. System Restore



    Function
    Performs system restore functions, such as saving periodic checkpoints.
    Status
    This is one of the system resouce sucker. Although, it is useful in the case of system failure. If you can tolerate with system failure or you could restore Windows XP to functioning state via Norton Ghost image, then you may safe to disable this service.


  54. Task Scheduler


    Function
    Configure and schedule automated tasks on Windows XP.
    Status
    Disable this service will disable scheduled tasks from running automatically.


  55. TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper



    Function
    Provides support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP and NetBIOS name lookups.
    Status
    This service could be safely disabled, if you dont share Windows XP resources.


  56. Telephony


    Function
    Provides Telephony API (TAPI) support for programs that control telephony devices and IP-based voice connections.
    Status
    If you dont have a modem attached, or connect to Internet via modem, you may safely disable this service.


  57. Telnet



    Function
    Enables remote users to log on to Windows XP and run programs, via various TCP/IP Telnet clients
    Status
    There is no obvious reason to enable this service, especially if you dont want remote users access to Windows XP.


  58. Terminal Services



    Function

    Allows multiple users to connect interactively to a Windows XP.
    Status
    You may safely disable this service, if you dont allow remote users access to Windows XP.


  59. Themes



    Function
    Provides user experience theme management.
    Status
    If you are using Windows Classic theme, you can safely disable this service to boost Windows XP performance.


  60. Uninterruptible Power Supply



    Function
    Manages uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to the Windows XP.

    Status
    No reason to turn on this services, if there is no UPS attached to Windows XP.


  61. Universal Plug and Play Device Host



    Function
    Provides support to host Universal Plug and Play devices.
    Status
    If you disable SSDP Discovery service, you may safely disable this service as well.


  62. Volume Shadow Copy



    Function
    Manages and implements volume shadow copies used for backup and other purposes.
    Status

    You may safely disable this service, if you dont rely on Windows Backup.


  63. WebClient



    Function
    Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files.
    Status
    This service can be safely disabled, if there is no such need.


  64. Windows Audio



    Function
    Manages audio devices for Windows-based programs.
    Status
    Disable this service, if you dont want your Windows XP to speak at all!

  65. Windows Image Acquisition



    Function
    Provides image acquisition services for scanners and cameras.
    Status
    No harm to disable this service, if there is no such need.


  66. Windows Installer



    Function
    Adds, modifies, and removes applications provided as a Windows Installer (*.msi) package.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time, in order to perform Windows update.


  67. Windows Management Instrumentation


    Function
    Provides a common interface and object model to access management information about operating system, devices, applications and services.
    Status
    This service is critical to Windows XP, and should be enabled at all time.


  68. Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions



    Function
    Monitors all drivers and event trace providers that are configured to publish Windows Management Instrumentation or event trace information.
    Status
    This service is not as critical as the Windows Management Instrumentation service, but is worth to enable at all time.


  69. Windows Time


    Function
    Uses NTP protocol to synchronize Windows XP local time with NTP server.
    Status
    Enable this service, if you want to synchronize Windows XP time with a NTP server.


  70. Wireless Zero Configuration



    Function
    Automatically configured WIFI (802.11) network adapters.
    Status
    This service should be enabled on laptop that supports WIFI connection.


  71. WMI Performance Adapter



    Function

    Provides performance library information from Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) providers to clients on the network.
    Status
    This service should be enabled at all time.


  72. Workstation



    Function
    Creates and maintains client network connections to remote servers.
    Status
    This service should be enabled, when running Windows XP on a network environment.

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