Windows XP: List of Services to Disable to Increase Speed

Posted October 26, 2005 by AlexTheBeast in Windows

XP has numerous services enabled by default.  If you know the function of these services, you can really speed up your system by disabling the ones you do not need.

Many services can be modified to increase the speed of your system. Take for instance a CPU = air conditioner analogy. If you use your A/C during the summer, it is helpful. If you use it during the winter, it is a waste. Here are my suggestions for the settings of the services:

If you ever find something not working correctly, you should reset it. However, these are the services that I disable. This guide is very conservative. Many of these services are activated even though only a minority of users will need them. I describe the use of these services so you can make a decision if you should have them enabled or not.

How to Access Your Microsoft Services:

1. Click Start.
2. Click Settings.
3. Select Control Panel.
4. Double click Administrative Tools.
5. Double click Services.
6. Scroll down, and highlight the service you want to adjust. 
7. Right-click on it, and choose Properties.
8. Click the stop button.
9. Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar.

Services to Disable:

  1. Smart Card / Smart Card Helper – If you do not have a smart card system, you do not need this service. As smart cards have really never taken off, I doubt you need this.
  2. TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper service – Unless you run NetBIOS on your system, you do not need this service.
  3. Uninterruptible Power Supply – Although I should have a UPS, I do not. If you do not, then disable this service.
  4. Remote Registry service – This service allows one to remotely edit the registry through a network connection. If you are editing your registry remotely, then you are too advanced for the information provided in this guide. The rest of us should have this off for security alone.
  5. Error Reporting Service – A program crashes and Microsoft wants to know about it. Give up your extra CPU cycles to help Gates polish his OS, or you can just disable it.
  6. Wireless Zero Configuration – Unless you use wi-fi, you can safely stop this service. If you use wi-fi, this is actually a useful service.
  7. Alerter – The Alerter is so useless SP2 turns this off for you. For the rest of you folks, you should turn it off, too.
  8. Clipbook – This service allows you to cut and paste across your private network. Most programs that actually allow you to do this have their own methods for it. Thus you do not need it.
  9. Computer Browser – If you are on a LAN, keep it enabled. If not, stop it. It allows you to see the other computers on your network.
  10. FastUser Switching Compatibility – If you keep multiple users/logins on your current computer, you should leave this enabled. If you always log-in the same way as the same person, you should disable this.
  11. Messenger Service – Disable this. As in the past, we continue to suggest that you disable this.
  12. NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing Service – If you do not use NetMeeting, you should stop this service.
  13. Network DDE/Network DDE DSDM – DDE DSDM was an excellent idea by Microsoft that flopped. Disable both of these.
  14. Remote Desktop Help Session Manager Service – I use remote desktop all the time. However, you should not have it enabled unless you use it.
  15. Telnet Service – This allows you to use Telnet to log in to your system from a remote location. It is a security risk, so do not keep it enabled unless you use it. SP2 disables it by default now.

Editor’s Note: If you want to be able to enable and disable numerous services rapidly (before and after a gaming session, for instance), you can easily design a batch file to do it for you.

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