Tweaking Windows XP Services
Most Windows XP computers run close to 80 services. You’ll be amazed how many extraneous services are running on a typical Windows XP computer that aren’t necessarily required for day-to-day operations. The list of services required on a Windows XP corporate client will differ from the services required on a home PC. On an average Windows XP computer you may only need to run about 20 services. Running fewer services will conserve memory and other system resources which will result in better performance, faster speeds, and more reliable operating system.
Here’s a list of various services running on a typical Windows XP computer and some advice on how you can tweak your system by properly configuring the services. For simplicity, we will only discuss Windows XP Professional (and not the Home edition of Windows XP). If you have a choice between running the Home edition or Professional, always choose the Professional edition.
There are lots of articles on the Web that document the type of Windows XP services tweaks listed in this article. Be cautious when you start implementing suggestions listed in any article, including the one you are reading. What works for me and for someone else may not work for you. If you are unsure, leave the service to its default setting. I’ve seen several articles on tweaking XP services but I do not agree with several of the recommendations listed elsewhere, so I came up with my own recommendations. One Web site called blkviper.com has devoted a lot of material to this topic and the information is much more accurate than the other Web sites. Even though his suggested actions may not totally agree with mine, you’ll find lots of additional useful information on his Web site, including XP Home Edition and gaming configurations.
Before we look at the services and discuss any details, you should document the status of all your current services. If you get unexpected results after tweaking your system, you should set the settings back to the original configuration. If you don’t feel comfortable with the description and the purpose of a service, consider modifying one service at a time and observe the system behavior before making massive changes to your operating system. You can access the Services Console either by typing services.msc at Start, Run or through the Administrative Tools folder.
You should be aware that when you disable certain services you may get errors in the Event Viewer. If the errors bother you, consider either setting the service to Manual or to Automatic until the error disappears. Along with the name of the service, the description, and the recommended action, you will also notice the short name for the service. This can be useful if you decide to script to disable or stop certain services. For example, create a script that disables all the unnecessary services on your corporate Windows XP clients. You may also stop, start, pause, or continue a service using the “net” command at the command prompt.
Caution! You should always backup your Windows XP computer before making any changes to the services.
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