Disabling useless services for speeding up your computer - Modifications for the corporate computers

I was perusing through the various articles on tips to increase the speed/response of your personal computer, that is Windows XP based in the net. Came across a ton of articles that allow you to speed up your computer in very many ways. However, all of them had one common trait, which rendered them useless for me - a corporate computer user, they were ideal for a home PC environment! However, there are some brilliant articles out there for tweaking your services for the Home PC environment!

You have - Tweaking Windows XP - a fairly good overview on Windows Tweaking - TweakHound's Super XP Tweaking Guide - Nice article giving various tweaking levels from minor system improvements to gamer level optimizations - Qwerty Maniac's guide to disabling useless services and speeding up your computer - Nice, short, concise, works!! - 3D Spotlight | Windows XP Services Tweak Guide - Tweak XP [dot] com - Performance Tweaks [you have an amazing array of tweaking options here, for the person who searches for the start button to the guy who plays around with the registry(and knows what he's doing ;-) )] - Beginners Guides: Understanding and Tweaking WindowsXP Services - decent explanations and insights into the various tweaking processes and description of services - Tweak Hound - Windows XP [kinda just about k, not recommended too much] - Windows XP Tweaking - Startup and General Performance Tweaks - nice!!

Things aren't so peachy and rarely dandy when you ARE connected to a DHCP based network, when you DO have a proxy situation, when you HAVE TO USE [or at least forced to use] a firewall, when you have a framework running that takes up a humongous chunk of your memory! When at times of dire need, and memory management, your office anti-virus suddenly decides to scan and crashes your whole system :-D!

So, what do you do to make your computer more responsive in this case? I personally run in a corporate network, running a framework that eats humongous chunks of memory - about a gig, when you just start up the application. ;-)! So, things get on to a rough state, the closer it gets to the virtual memory limit!

Nevertheless, let me try and stop the basic minimum of services that does not screw up your connectivity and usability in office, and give some more tips to increase the speed in your computer.

Before you start up with any of this - here's a disclaimer stating that it worked for me, chances are that it will work for you! However, in case it doesn't or in the worst scenario, crap your system, don't call/blame me. The ideal person to call would be your system administrator and tell him what you tried to do exactly! You can always give him this link and tell him to block the site forever from your corporate n/w! Hopefully, you don't go to that extreme, but just leave me a comment with the exact steps you did, and I will try and find out as to why the tip failed ;-)!!

So, first up tweaking the Windows XP Services. Now, if you are wondering what the hell am I doing talking about services, stop reading this right here, right now, as far as the technical things go! You can of course, continue down to see if I have more interspersed subtle humor in them :-D!! Of course, as I am typing this in, right now I can't promise or deny any!

Since, so many people have spent a tremendous amount of effort to explain in detail, the various services present in the Windows XP and what they do, and why to disable them, I have decided to forego that much. Instead, I will use one of the many of these service explanations and work from there!

Ok, here we go! Note: Whatever, I have stricken through, you will need it being in a corporate n/wed environment! Leave 'em alone, unless of course, you wanna have an interesting conversation with your sys admins like I have had!

AdobeLM Service – Not all have this service, still its useless, just disable it if you have it. • Alerter – Disable this if you aren’t on a network because you wont receive an alert thus. -Required by your corporate computer! • Application Management – Set this to manual. Let it be... [as the Beatles sang] • Automatic Updates – Disable it if you don’t require auto updating and patching of windows. Pretty useless if you use auto-patcher by neowin for updating your windows. Saves bandwidth. Completely determined by how your corporate sys admin decides to patch Windows updates. If it's left for each individual computer, then disable it, else live and let live policy! • ClipBook – Disable this if you aren’t on a network since you don’t need to share anything then. You do need this!! • Computer Browser – Disable this too if you aren’t on a network as then you don’t have to browse and monitor connected computers. - Hell yeah you need this if you have to browse through the computers in your n/w! I am not sure, if you have to keep it enabled to allow other computers to browse through your computer as well • Cryptographic Services – Set this to manual if you aren’t sure you require this. - Hmm, depends if you really need it. I know some units that have highly sensitive data and tend to use this feature. Don't disable it unless you know ya ain't gonna use it! • Distributed Transaction Service – Set this to manual. - You might need this for your development environment! • DNS Client – Set this to manual if you aren’t on a network.As Qwerty explains it, you definitely need it!! So, don't disable!! • Error Reporting Service – Disable this damn useless service for reporting errors to Microsoft because they will hardly even reply to you for any error you get. Also saves lots of bandwidth. - I wouldn't suggest this for a corporate computer for obvious reasons. Furthermore, I am also worried if it will hinder the error logging process that is very very important for the debugging developer!! • Fast User Switching Compatibility – Disable this if you have only a single user on your computer, or if you don’t use fast user switching feature much. That is, if you completely log-off and then allow other users to sit on your computer, then you don’t need this. Useless and saves time and memory disabling. Note that this process is completely useless for low memory computers. • FTP Publishing – Disable this if you don’t use an FTP. • Help and Support – Set it to manual or turn it off if you don’t use the help feature often. You can turn it on again when you want help. • HTTP SSL – Set it to manual. • Human Interface Device Access – turn this off if you don’t use hot-keys or remote systems on your computer, if you use them sometimes, better turn it to manual. • IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service – set this to manual to save memory and time. Don’t turn it off if you have a CD Writer or a DVD Writer attached to your computer. • Indexing Service – Turn it off, it uses lots of CPU. If you are an avid searcher, like a maniac, on your computer, leave it on since it will help you. If you know where your files are and don’t use search that often, then disable it for good. • InstallDriver Table Manager – Disable this, does no harm in doing so.Do not disable this!! You/your sys admin mite be using it • IPSEC Services – Set this to manual. Don't touch unless you want trouble with your sys admin • Messenger – Disable this if you aren’t on a network, it uses too much memory and is a hog. Also it does no good and is a known security threat sometimes. Let it be, you are on a corporate domain. So no security breaches, unless of course, it's huge and bypasses your corporate firewall, then anyhoo, your computer is at risk! More so the reason because the messenger services might be used by other programs installed by the sys admin! • MS Software Shadow Copy Provider – Set this to manual. • Net Logon – disable if you aren’t on a network. Don't touch! • NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing – Disable this if you don’t use Remote desktop feature, pretty useless feature according to me. One of the most important and most used piece of software in the corporate n/w. Disable it when you don't want your sys admin to access your PC, however, beware you can't access it either!! • Network Provisioning Service – disable this, its useless if you aren’t on a network. Don't do no touching business here • NT LM Security Support Provider – Disable this, its useless too. Required by my framework at least • NVIDIA Display Driver Service – If you don’t use the features of nVidia Desktop, this must be disabled, big hog of memory.Not required if don't have an nVidia graphics card [Crap, you won't have it, if you don't have an nVidia graphics card] • Office Source Engine – Disable it if you have a MS Office CD handy always, its helpful if your installation goes corrupt. If you have done an install over the n/w and don't wanna bother the sys admin [read: sys admin don't always respond fast enough] let it be! • Portable Media Serial Number Service – Set it to manual if you connect portable media to your computer, else disable it. • Print Spooler – Disable it if you don’t have a printer. Don't touch this unless you don't wanna print over your corporate printer • Protected Storage – Disable it if you don’t allow strangers to sit on your encrypted storage computer. • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager – Disable it if you don’t use Remote Desktop feature for help and support from Microsoft which most probably is a Yes. Ya never know!! • Remote Procedure Call Locator – Set it to manual. Do NOT TOUCH!! • Remote Registry – Serious security threat if turned on, disable it no matter what. Do not disable especially if you have installations over the n/w • Removable Storage – disable it if you don’t use removable storage drives, else turn it manual. • Routing and Remote Access – Set it to manual. • Secondary Logon – Useless feature for most, disable it or turn it manual. [But warning, it mite be used by ur sys admin to get you and him logged on at the same time, has happened to me] • Security Accounts Manager – Disable it, pretty useless unless you use NTFS Encryption. • Security Center – Damn useless and irritating feature. Disable it. No use at all. I have found it useful to block the sys admin tho :-D • Server – set it to manual or disable it if not on network.let it be! • Smart Card – Disable it if you don’t use smart cards on your computer. • SSDP Discovery Service – Disable it of not on network or don’t have UPnP devices on home networks. • Task Scheduler – Disable it if you don’t schedule tasks like defragmentation, error scans etc… and plan to do it your self instead. Invariably, your office virus scan would be scheduled using this. Furthermore, if your virus scan does not go as per the plan, the sys admin is notified :-D! Let it be • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper – Set it to manual if on network else disable it for good. • Telnet – Set it to manual if you use this feature, else disable it, especially home users. • Terminal Services – Since you aren’t using Remote Desktop etc… disable it for good. And if you are, please let it remain • Uninterrupted Power Supply – Disable it if you don’t have an UPS attached to the serial port of your computer. • Universal Plug and Play Device Host – Set it to manual. • User Privilege Service – Set it to manual. • Volume Shadow Copy – disable it if you don’t backup using System Restore or Windows Backup. • Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) – Disable this if you have another firewall such as Norton or Zone Alarm installed, Else let it remain ON for better security. • Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) – If you don’t connect/use a camera/scanner with your computer, disable this service, else set it to manual. • Windows Media Connect – Disable this if you don’t use a gadget such as an iPod etc… for your Windows Media Player. • Windows Media Connect (WMC) Helper – Disable this if you disabled the above one or if you don’t need help. • Windows Time – Disable if not on a synchronized network. Touch it in my n/w and get your admin rights revoked :-D • Wireless Zero Configuration – Disable if not on a wireless network. • WMI Performance Adapters – Disable it, useless service for basic usage. • Workstation – Disable if you aren’t on a network. Or simply, if you are a games, just shut this one.

[source: QwertyManiac's Guide to Disabling Useless Services and Speeding up your computer] Please note: the article above is a modified version of the original article!!

So, now that you have played around with Windows XP services and oozed as much as you can without seriously limiting your n/wing and corporate communication capabilities, here are some more tips and tricks to increase the responsiveness of your system!

Wallpapers, Desktop themes, animated cursors etc... But first, [at the expense of sounding like a cliched The Mask dialogue] some philosophy!!

There are two kinds of office working people, who demand excellent, top notch performance from their system. [We are not talking about the other kind who give a hoot to the system memory reading at startup]

People who want to get the maximum out of their system, not worrying about the look of their PC. All they care about is that the system performance is running peak! Ba**s to how the computer looks. They don't care if Windows need a curved edge or what color they are. They despise animated icons, cursors etc. They don't care about the transparency of their Windows.

The other kind of people, which includes me, demand an optimized system performance, but demand a balance from the look factor as well. It's not all about the system memory reading if enabling themes will increase it by a minute factor [The factor of course is subjective]!

For the first kinda people - disable the Themes service! For the second kinda people - install Style XP.

Wallpapers, themes etc do take up some memory! So, if you wanna save even that much memory space, disable them! Have a desktop background color [if you need it], disable all menu animation, effects, etc. You can do this by goin to Display Properties->Appearance(tab)->Effects You can disable

  • Show Shadows Under Menus
  • Show Window Contents While Dragging

Furthermore, install Tweak UI Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP. Once you are done, you can run Tweak UI. Go to General option on the left and click there. Disable all the checks there for the "eye candy" features of Windows XP!

Warning: After this, your Windows will look like crap, but it will be definitely faster!!

More tweaking...

So, you have done all that, you still think some more tweaking is required. Go for the safe way. Get TweakXP Pro, these guys are good. The optimizations do work.

Important Stuff

One of the most important things is to strike a balance between your looks [if you really want it] and your performance. Extra browsers, messengers, widgets, will definitely eat up more RAM as your system boots up. There is always a tradeoff to performance and increased functionality. Anyway, some tips on which of the applications really eat up space, and which don't!

  • Winamp 5.x series: The best MP3 player out there. It has all the necessary functionality that you need to play songs, videos and what not :-)! The best part about the player tho - 4-11MB [Mem usage] and 7-13 MB [Virtual memory size], depending on your playlist size, and the skins. Something that is way far better than Windows Media Player or iTunes. [If you want a 4MB/2MB combo, use the Winamp 2.9x. It has video playback capability as well, without the presence of extra memory hogging new skins
  • Firefox 1.5x: One of the best browsers out there, albeit its stand-alone nature as compared to Internet Explorer 7 beta. Uses some memory, but well worth the performance, extensibility and functionality. IE7 does a good job, but is still not bug free.
  • Style XP 3.x: The best theming software for the newbies. The best theming software with some tradeoff for the memory size. Although it minimizes its memory usage, if you'd like to theme and customize your Windows desktop/look and feel, I'd say go for this!
  • Google GTalk: The lightest instant messenger ever built to date. Does not feature even emoticons, but boy o boy it's fast, almost runs like a charm in your environment without denting[read: peaking] your memory graph!
  • Microsoft Outlook 2003: Consumes more memory [virtual memory] than your previous Outlook versions, but well worth it. However, if you are NOT based on the Exchange server and based on the POP3/IMAP protocol for office mails, stick to Mozilla Thunderbird! That one is light, and it doubles up as a news reader and RSS aggregator!

Unnecessary drivers, registry entries

These days, with the plethora of USB based devices, you may have a number of device drivers in your system. Furthermore, you may also have a lotta junk entries in your registry. Use a registry cleaning software to dump out the unwanted stuff

Warning: Please do this if and only if you are aware of the entries that can be deleted. Speaking from experience, always backup, then tweak. In case you think there are some problems, restore your registry!