Windows XP Services Tweak Guide

Windows XP, just like 2000 & NT before it runs many background Services for a wide variety of tasks, e.g. Plug & Play support, Print Spooler & even Task Manager. Using these Services it is possible to configure your machine for improved performance & even security by modifying their respective Startup types, & in some cases disabling them altogether. This guide will taking you through a multitude of difference Services, although with backup & recovery procedures.

Special thanks to Azzo Computers and Microsoft themselves for supplying us with copies of Windows XP so we can continue with the development of our OS related guides.

Login, Backup & Restoring

Before doing anything else ensure you are logged in as a User with Administrative privileges. If you aren’t the re-logon as such a User otherwise you most likely won’t be able to change anything.

Before making any changes to your Services it would be a good idea to backup the current environment. You can do this by using the Backup utility in Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Backup.

Another alternative would be to simply backup you current Services & their settings. Click on Start, Run type in regedit & hit Enter. Expand to the following [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services]. Now select File then Export & save that registry branch with a specified name. Simply Double clicking on this file will prompt you as to whether or not you wish this information to be added to the registry in wish case select Yes & your previously saved settings will be restored.

Services Utility

Now that you’ve backed up your Service settings/Operating System we can move onto adjusting the Services themselves. Click on Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools then Services.

Before adjusting any of these you’ll need to consider 2 things – Startup type & Dependencies. To cover these 2 just double click on any of the listed Services & select the General tab.

Startup type

3 options are available for the Startup type of any particular Service, selectable using the drop-down menu, each having it’s own particular advantages or disadvantages.

  • Automatic. When this is selected the Service in question will automatically be started when loading Windows XP. This can increase booting time slightly, although some Services must be set to this to ensure correct running of XP, e.g. Remote Procedure Call (RPC). Some Services will also get started due to dependencies (Or because they are required) & it’s best to set these to Automatic as well – this can improve overall performance as well slightly given that once loaded during startup they will not be required to do so again.

  • Manual. This option allows the Service in question to load upon request. This works well for most Services – saving resources & reducing boot time as they aren’t loaded until required, although not all Services function well like this, e.g. Print Spooler or Protected Storage. System performance may be slightly reduced while a Service is being initiated also.

  • Disabled. With this option selected the Service in question cannot be loaded, even if requested. This option is most useful for Security purposes only & for most Services where you would have the option of selecting Manual or Disabled it would be best to go with Manual.

Dependencies

A Dependency is a relationship of reliance between 2 or more resources that makes it necessary for them to run in the same group on the same node. In the case of Services this translate into some Services cannot function correctly (If at all) without another (One of the reasons why it’s never a good idea to just set a Service to Disabled, but Manual instead). To determine any dependencies select a Service & Double click on it, then choose the Dependencies tab, e.g. Shown below is the Telephony service dependencies.

Be sure to bear these in mind, particularly if you are considering disabling a Service altogether, although not all Services will have dependencies, e.g. Themes.

Services listing & Recommendations

While this listing is fairly extensive, it is worth noting that the Services which you may have available will be determined by the Applications, Drivers & Network components, etc. you have installed (Or don’t). As such if you are “missing” a Service here don’t worry about it. This guide will be updated in the future with further Services as appropriate.

Application Layer Gateway Service. Provides support for 3rd party protocol plug-ins for Internet Connection Sharing & the Internet Connection Firewall. If you have Internet Connection Sharing & the Windows XP built-in firewall enabled set this to Automatic, otherwise leave this set to Manual.

Application Management. Provides software installation services such as Assign, Publish, & Remove. Set this to Manual to enable Application installation/Uninstallation as normal, although the more wary system administrators may want to Disable this lest Users add/remove something they shouldn’t.

Automatic Updates. Enables the download & installation of critical Windows updates. For those who’d rather not take the time to visit Windowsupdate this feature enables Windows XP to automatically check for & download any updates available. Before deciding on a Startup setting for this Right click on My Computer & select Properties. Now select the Automatic Updates tab.

Should you select either of the top 2 options then set this Service to Automatic to ensure it works correctly, but if you instead selected Turn off automatic updating then set this to Manual.

Background Intelligent Transfer Service. Uses idle network bandwidth to transfer data. For the majority of Users this feature should be of little use & as such I’d recommend setting it to Manual. Those on highly active Networks may benefit from having this set to Automatic, although it may be worth testing out to see if it does.

ClipBook. Enables ClipBook Viewer to store information & share it with remote computers. If the service is stopped, ClipBook Viewer will not be able to share information with remote computers. Should you wish to enable Users on other PCs to view data stored in the ClipBook Server then set this to Manual or Automatic (Although this setting isn’t necessary, Manual will suffice). Setting this to Disabled will disable others from viewing this data which is a useful security feature & recommended for standalone systems, similarly you can set this to Disabled should you have Network DDE & Network DDM DSDM inactive.

COM+ Event System. Supports SENS (System Event Notification Service), which provides automatic distribution of events to subscribing COM (Component Object Model) components. Set this to Automatic.

COM+ System Application. Manages the configuration & tracking of COM+ (Component Object Model) based components. Similar to the previous service you should also leave this set to Automatic to ensure proper running of the PC, or at least any COM+ components.

Cryptographic Services. Provides three management services: Catalog Database Service, which confirms the signatures of Windows files; Protected Root Service, which adds & removes Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates from this computer; & Key Service, which helps enroll this computer for certificates. For best system security/integrity I’d recommend setting this to Automatic at all times.

Creative Service for CDROM Access. This service is added during installation of Creative’s Disc Detector (Which is installed as part of Creative PlayCenter for Live! & Audigy Soundcards). Set this to Automatic if you have Disc Detector enabled, otherwise set this to Manual.

DHCP Client. Manages network configuration by registering & updating IP addresses & DNS names. If you on a network or have a permanent internet connection, connected to a specified DHCP server set this to Automatic. Those who are not connected to a Network (or specific DHCP server) set this to Manual. Should you have problems connecting to websites & such after setting DHCP Client to Manual then take the following steps.

1.       Click on Start, Control Panel then Network Connections.

2.       Select your connection, Right click on it & select Properties. Now select the Networking tab.

3.       Select the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) item followed by the Properties button, then the Advanced button. Finally, select the DNS tab.

4.       Untick Append parent suffixes of the primary DNS suffix & Register this connection’s addresses in DNS.

  1. Click Ok (several times) as necessary to apply the changes to your Network/Internet connection. You’ll need to re-connection to that affected connection for after the changes have been made.

Distributed Link Tracking Client. Maintains links between NTFS files within a computer or across computers in a network domain. Those on a Windows 2000/XP Network using shared NTFS 5.0 formatted drives may find this service of some benefit, with the Distributed Link Tracking Client being able to update/fix links & shortcuts to files on such volumes. Set this to Automatic in such instances. On non-NTFS 5.0 Networks, or stand-alone systems you can set this to Manual.

Distributed Transaction Coordinator. Coordinates transactions that span multiple resource managers, such as databases, message queues, & file systems. Initially you should try setting this to Manual although should you experience problems with such transactional components (e.g. Message Queuing) set this to Automatic instead. Stand-alone systems should be able to set this to Manual without any issues at all.

DNS Client. Resolves & caches Domain Name System (DNS) names for this computer. If this service is stopped, this computer will not be able to resolve DNS names & locate Active Directory domain controllers. Should your Network &/or Internet connection require the ability to resolve DNS addresses set this to Automatic. This can be verified be checking the Properties for any connections in Network Connections. If no DNS Server is specified then you can set this to Manual. Although should you experience Connection problems as a result of this set it to Automatic instead.

Error Reporting Service. Allows error reporting for services & applications running in non-standard environments. This can be set to Manual without issue, although should you wish to further customize Error Reporting then Right click on My Computer & select Properties then the Advanced tab, followed by the Error Reporting button.

Adjust the settings here as you feel necessary. Those of you with XP systems not connected to the Internet would be best to Disable error reporting altogether, although those paranoid Users out there may wish to do this as well.

Event Log. Enables event log messages issued by Windows-based programs & components to be viewed in Event Viewer. Leave this set to Automatic, it will be started regardless & don’t attempt to use Disabled either or you may face problems.

Fast User Switching Compatibility. Provides management for applications that require assistance in a multiple user environment. Fast User Switching is a feature of Windows XP which allows for much faster switching of Users on a PC unconnected to a Domain. Should this ability be of use to you then set this to Automatic, although if of little use (Which it will be if you only have a single User account) you can disable this feature by setting it to Manual, but before doing this be sure to disable this in User Accounts also.

Click on Start, Control Panel then User Accounts. Select the Change the way users log on or off option.

Untick Use Fast User Switching & hit Apply Options to disable its use. Now you can also set the Service to Manual.

Fax. Enables you to send & receive faxes, utilizing fax resources available on this computer or on the network. This Service is usually installed in the event fax capable hardware is detected, e.g. Fax modem. Should you intend to use Fax features available on your system set this to Automatic, otherwise you may set this to Manual instead (The Fax service can be uninstalled using Add or Remove Programs).

Help and Support. Enables Help & Support Center to run on this computer. This Service can, in my experience be set to Manual without adversely affecting Help & Support.

Human Interface Device Access. Enables generic input access to Human Interface Devices (HID), which activates & maintains the use of predefined hot buttons on keyboards, remote controls, & other multimedia devices. With some HIDs you may be required to set this to Automatic for them to function correctly (To use certain buttons/keys or other mappings anyway). Those without such devices installed, & perhaps which have their own installation software can set this to Manual without issue.

IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service. Manages CD recording using Image Mastering Applications Programming Interface (IMAPI). Should you have a CD-RW installed in your system set this to Automatic to enable CD burning, although if you use a CD Burning application other than the built-in XP one (Or have no CD-RW installed) you may be able to set this to Manual without effecting burning capability.

Indexing Service. Indexes contents & properties of files on local & remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language. Indexing enables the creating of a catalog to help make searches for certain document types easier, e.g. .doc files. Should you wish to enable this querying set this to Automatic. You can configure this in Computer Management – Click on Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, then Computer Management. Expand Services & Applications, Indexing Service then System.

In the 3 sub-menus you can further adjust options, e.g. in the Directories folder you can set which directories are to be catalogued. Should you wish not to use the Indexing service you can Delete or disable the cataloguing of the listed Directories & set the Service to Manual, which I’d highly recommend.

Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution &/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network. Should you use either Windows XP’s built-in Connection Sharing &/or Firewall feature then set this to Automatic. If you use neither feature then you can set this to Manual instead.

IPSEC Services. Manages IP security policy & starts the ISAKMP/Oakley (IKE) & the IP security driver. If you are connected to an IPSec enabled Internet/Network connection set this to Automatic, otherwise you may set this to Manual instead. Most ISPs don’t support this & shouldn’t be of too much concern to most of you.

Logical Disk Manager. Detects & monitors new hard disk drives & sends disk volume information to Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service for configuration. Leave this set to Automatic, certainly do not set it to Disabled if you have a Dynamic disk installed.

Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service. Configures hard disk drives & volumes. You can set this Service to Manual without issue, it will only be run when required by disk management requests.

MS Software Shadow Copy Provider. Manages software-based volume shadow copies taken by the Volume Shadow Copy service. Should you intend to use the Windows XP Backup utility set this to Manual to enable software shadow copy backups to be created. Similarly however if you don’t require this you can also leave it set to Manual.

NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing. Enables an authorized user to access this computer remotely by using NetMeeting over a corporate intranet. For security reasons it would be best to set this to Disabled, particularly if other less wary Users will have access to the PC & are likely to use NetMeeting. If setting this to Manual you should be careful with whom you allow remotely access your Desktop during NetMeeting sessions.

Network Connections. Manages objects in the Network & Dial-Up Connections folder, in which you can view both local area network & remote connections. Should the PC have any Internet or Network connection setup set this to Automatic. Those on truly stand-alone systems (Not even Internet connectable)  may be able to set this to Manual as it shouldn’t be required, or automatically startup.

Network DDE. Provides network transport & security for Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) for programs running on the same computer or on different computers. Set this to Automatic if you require the use of DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) network connections (More than likely you won't need this unless using certain legacy applications). DDE is a type of IPC (InterProcess Communication). If you need this you generally should know it (One such thing which does is the Clipbook). Otherwise, set this to Manual.

Network DDE DSDM. Manages Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) network shares. If this service is stopped, DDE network shares will be unavailable. Set this to Automatic if you have previously set the Network DDE Service to Automatic. Otherwise you may set this to Manual instead.

Network Location Awareness (NLA). Collects & stores network configuration & location information, & notifies applications when this information changes. On systems connected to a Network, or if you have previously set to Automatic the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) Service then also set this to Automatic. Stand-alone systems may set this to Manual without issue.

NVIDIA Driver Helper Service. This service is added during installation of NVIDIA Detonator Drivers, although can be set to Manual without issue.

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. Should you have configured XP to monitor & record certain activities on your PC via the Performance utility in Administrative Tools, e.g. Page file usage as described here in our Windows XP Memory Tweak guide, then set this to Automatic. If set to Manual no Performance logs/alerts will be recorded, which is the ideal setting should you not have configured any to be recorded.

Plug and Play. Enables a computer to recognize & adapt to hardware changes with little or no user input. Leave this set to Automatic.

Portable Media Serial Number. Retrieves the serial number of any portable music player connected to your computer. This Service should be set to Manual on most systems without issue, even if you do connected external Media players to the system to transfer song to/from it. Although should your device not function correctly with this set to Manual try setting this to Automatic instead.

Print Spooler. Loads files to memory for later printing. If you don't have a Printer installed (Network, or local) you can set this to Manual. If you do however have a Printer installed, or intend to install a printer then set this to Automatic.

Protected Storage. Provides protected storage for sensitive data, such as private keys, to prevent access by unauthorized services, processes, or users. This should be set to Automatic on all systems. Not only is the Crypto subsystem a good thing to have enabled but it also avoids some problems that can be caused by having the Protected Storage set to Manual or Disabled, e.g. Internet Explorer & possibly Task Manager may have reduced functionality as a result, such as Auto-Complete not working normally or inability to add Scheduled tasks.

QoS RSVP. Provides network signalling & local traffic control setup functionality for QoS-aware programs & control applets. QoS RSVP (Quality of Service Resource ReServation Protocol) is used to reserve network/internet connection bandwidth when QoS aware processes are active, providing them with more bandwidth as necessary. Should you use such applications then leave this set to Automatic, otherwise set this to Disabled. The amount of bandwidth reserved defaults to 20%, although this can easily be modified (High recommended). Thanks for the reminder Vincent Poy.

Click on Start, Run, type in gpedit.msc & hit Enter. Expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Network then select QoS Packet Scheduler. In the right hand pane Double click on the Limit reservable bandwidth setting.

Select the Enabled option (Do not select Disabled or Not configured) & adjust the Bandwidth limit value as you see fit, giving increased bandwidth if the QoS aware applications would benefit from it or vice versa. If you are unsure about whether or not you have QoS aware Applications, or merely want to ensure maximum connection bandwidth available at all time set this to 0 & select the Ok button.

Remote Access Auto Connection Manager. Creates a connection to a remote network whenever a program references a remote DNS or NetBIOS name or address. If your system has Dial-up Internet access set this to Automatic, on those with a Network connection (With or without Internet connectivity) you may set this to Manual.

Remote Access Connection Manager. Creates a network connection. Should you have setup any Internet or Network connection set this Service to Automatic (It will be run anyway, even if set to Manual). Those with stand-alone systems with no Internet or Network connections installed can set this to Manual.

Remote Desktop Help Session Manager. Manages & controls Remote Assistance. Before changing this Service Right click on My Computer & select Properties, then the Remote tab.

In this tab you can modify how Remote Assistance & Desktop work (Or don’t as the case may be). As regards the Remote Assistance feature you’d best off Unticking (disabling) Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer, or if you choose to Tick (enable) this, then be careful with who you request assistance from (This should be less of a concern on a business Network where you’ll probably have some full-time Tech support guy available to send requests to), particularly if it to someone online (I know I wouldn’t like someone else being able to do something more to the PC than I would have wanted them to).

The Remote Desktop represents something less of a security risk & should you use this feature then Tick it & use the Select Remote Users button to determine who can access the PC (But any User with Administrative privileges will be able to connect regardless of selections here). Click the Apply then Ok button after making any changes you deem necessary.

Should you have Ticked either of the Remote Desktop/Assistance options, enabling them then set this Service to Automatic. If you have disabled both of these you can set this to Manual.

Remote Procedure Call (RPC). Provides the endpoint mapper & other miscellaneous RPC services. This should be set to Automatic, a lot of Services are dependant on this Service & in no way should it ever not be running.

Remote Registry. Enables remote users to modify registry settings on this computer. Setting this to Automatic allows certain other non-locally logged on Users (i.e. Those other than the person at the PC, e.g. Administrator) to be able to modify entries in specified Registry paths. As such those not connected to a business Network of some sort would be best advised to set this to Disabled. To configure which Registry paths can be accessible click on Start, Run, type in gpedit.msc & hit Enter. Expand Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Local Policies & select the Security Options folder. In the right hand pane scroll down to the Network access: Remotely accessible registry paths option & Double click on it. After specifying the paths accessible click Ok for the changes to take effect.

Removable Storage. Manages removable media, drives, & libraries. If you have such external devices, e.g. Tape drives (not CD\DVD\ & Floppy Drives), then this set to Automatic. Otherwise you may set it on Manual.

Routing and Remote Access. Offers routing services to businesses in local area & wide area network environments. For best system security you should set this to Disabled. If you require the system to be used in various Network configurations for Routing purposes or to be remotely accessible, or use Internet Connection Sharing on the system then it would be best to set this to Automatic.

Secondary Logon. Enables starting processes under alternate credentials. This is the Windows XP equivalent of the RunAs Service. This allows Applications to be started with the privileges of another User by Right clicking on the appropriate shortcut & selecting Run as…, then entering in the desired Username & password. This can be fairly useful in a lot of cases, e.g. it gives any XP system to ability to use WindowsUpdate regardless of who is logged on.

However this also poses a great security risk for many systems (Those on Networks & those with shared access), where you may only want to allow Users access/privileges to what their Use profile allows them, e.g. While in college one of my friends figured out the Administrative password required & was able to use that to enable certain things which he wouldn’t otherwise have been allowed use (Tsk tsk). Set this to Manual should you wish to enable this feature, while selecting Disabled will disable this feature (Which I’d personally highly recommend) & result in a window like this appearing should a User attempt to use the Run As… option.

Security Accounts Manager. Stores security information for local user accounts. If you have modified any Security setting using the Local Security Policy utility (Or gpedit.msc) then set this to Automatic, otherwise you should be able to safely set this to Manual.

Shell Hardware Detection. This is best left set to Manual, although should you have problems with connecting certain external devices, e.g. Docking a laptop then set this to Automatic instead.

Smart Card. Manages access to smart cards read by this computer. If you require the use/support of Smart cards on your PC then set this to Automatic. In all other instances you can set this to Manual without issue.

Smart Card Helper. Enables support for legacy non-plug & play smart-card readers used by this computer. If this service is stopped, this computer will not support legacy reader. Similar to the previous Service, although in this case  for non-Plug & Play compatible Smart card readers. Set this to Automatic to enable support & use of such legacy devices otherwise set this to Manual.

SSDP Discovery Service. Enables discovery of UPnP devices on your home network. Should your PC/Network be connected (Or will be) to such UPnP enabled devices set this to Automatic, otherwise you can set this to Manual instead. You can read more about UPnP in this Microsoft article.

System Event Notification. Tracks system events such as Windows logon, network, & power events. Notifies COM+ Event System subscribers of these events. Although on most systems this can be set to Manual, it is best to set this to Automatic (particularly with Laptops) so as to avoid some functionality problems that may occur with it not active.

System Restore Service. Performs system restore functions. Before selecting the Startup type Right click on My Computer & select Properties, then the System Restore tab.

Select the Drive(s) you have available as appropriate & then the Settings button to configure the system restore feature per Drive. If you don’t wish to use System Restore at all then Tick Turn off System Restore on all drives, this will both improve overall system performance & save Hard Drive space (Though there are the obvious drawbacks that go hand in hand with disabling it). Click Apply then the Ok button to apply your changes. Should you have disabled System Restore then you may set the Service to Manual, otherwise leave this set to Automatic.

Task Scheduler. Enables a user to configure & schedule automated tasks on this computer. I’d recommend setting this to Automatic, regardless of whether or not you actually have any scheduled tasks. The Task scheduler is used in the Prefetching process - Prefetching is the process of bringing data & code pages into memory from disk before it's demanded, which should help improve overall system & application startup time. You can read further details about this in this Microsoft Windows XP Kernel Article (Scroll down to the Prefetch section). Certainly do not set this to Disabled anyway.

TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper. Enables support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) service & NetBIOS name resolution. For best Internet security it would be best not to use NetBIOS & as a result you should set this to Manual or Disabled. Should your Internet (Or more likely Network) connection require NetBIOS/WINS support set this to Automatic. If not then set this to Manual & take the following steps;

1.       Click on Start, Control Panel then Network Connections.

2.       Select your connection, Right click on it & select Properties. Now select the Networking tab.

3.       Select the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) item followed by the Properties button, then the Advanced button. Finally, select the WINS tab.

  1. Untick Enable LMHOSTS lookup & select Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.

  2. Click Ok (several times) as necessary to apply the changes to your Network/Internet connection. You’ll need to re-connection to that affected connection for after the changes have been made.

Should you experience problems connecting to your Network/Internet connection after applying these settings, then try restoring the original settings instead.

Telephony. Provides Telephony API (TAPI) support for programs that control telephony devices & IP based voice connections on the local computer &, through the LAN, on servers that are also running the service. This Service should be set to Manual or Automatic (If this Service has any dependencies then it will automatically be initiated). Attempting to Stop this Service will have the following effect if any dependency exists;

Telnet. Enables a remote user to log on to this computer & run programs, & supports various TCP/IP Telnet clients, including UNIX-based & Windows-based computers. Should you require other Users to be able to remotely access the PC using the Command Prompt/Telnet set this to Automatic. For improved security I’d recommend setting this to Disabled.

Terminal Services. Allows multiple users to be connected interactively to a machine as well as the display of desktops & applications to remote computers. The underpinning of Remote Desktop (including RD for Administrators), Fast User Switching, Remote Assistance, & Terminal Server. Should you require the use of any of the features listed here set this to Manual or Automatic, if these aren’t required it would be best to set this to Disabled for security reasons.

Themes. Provides user experience theme management. Should you use any of the Themes available in Windows XP then set this to Automatic otherwise the Theme will not display/function correctly. For improved system performance (& less visual pleasantries) you should set this to Manual or Disabled, which is probably more worth noting on XP systems which are intended to be used to work on.

Uninterruptible Power Supply. Manages an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to the computer. If your system is connected to a UPS system then set this to Automatic, otherwise you can set this to Manual instead.

Universal Plug and Play Device Host. Provides support to host Universal Plug & Play devices. If you have set the SSDP Discovery Service to Automatic then set this to Automatic also, similarly if you have set it to Manual you may set this to Manual also.

Upload Manager. Manages synchronous & asynchronous file transfers between clients & servers on the network. Leave this set to Manual.

Volume Shadow Copy. Manages & implements Volume Shadow Copies used for backup & other purposes. Similar to the MS Software Shadow Copy Provider Service you can set this to Manual should you be using the Backup utility to perform such a backup procedure & equally you can set it to Manual if you won’t be.

WebClient. Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, & modify Internet-based files. For best functionality you should set this to Manual, although for improved security it would be best to set this Disabled – particularly on systems which are likely to have multiple less experienced Users logged on & have Internet access (This shouldn’t impede Internet access whatsoever).

Windows Audio. Manages audio devices for Windows-based programs. If this service is stopped, audio devices & effects will not function properly. If you have a Soundcard installed set this to Automatic otherwise it will not playback any audio. Setting this to Manual will, as a result be of most use to system administrators in a work environment where you don’t want Users of your systems to get distracted by listening to MP3s/CDs, etc. while supposedly being productive.

Windows Image Acquisition (WIA). Provides image acquisition services for scanners & cameras. This can be set to Manual regardless of Imaging Applications/Hardware installed to ensure their proper functionality & only is initiated when required. One such Application that uses this is Windows Movie Maker.

Windows Installer. Installs, repairs & removes software according to instructions contained in .MSI files. Leave this set to Manual. This will allow you to Install/Uninstall/Repair programs listed in the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel. You should set this to Disable this if you don't wish others to have the ability to change any Software installation, or to install Programs/Hardware which use the Windows Installer.

Windows Management Instrumentation. Provides a common interface & object model to access management information about operating system, devices, applications & services. WMI is a management infrastructure that supports monitoring & controlling system resources through a common set of interfaces & provides a logically organized, consistent model of Windows operation, configuration, & status. To ensure your PC runs as normal set this to Automatic only.

Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions. Provides systems management information to & from drivers. An extension of the Windows Management Instrumentation service this is not as critical to normal operation of the system & in most cases you will be able to set this to Manual without adversely affecting the PC.

Windows Time. Maintains date & time synchronization on all clients & servers in the network. By default Windows XP will attempt synchronisation with a Network/Internet server weekly in order to maintain a consistent & accurate time on the PC. Should you wish to use this feature set this to Automatic, although most of you may not require this time checking in which case set this to Manual & disable automatic synchronisation. Double click on the time on the Taskbar & select the Internet Time tab.

Untick Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server to disable synchronisation & click Ok for the changes to take effect.

Wireless Zero Configuration. Provides automatic configuration for the 802.11 adapters. Should your system require support for 802.11 devices set this to Automatic, otherwise you may leave it set to Manual instead.

WMDM PMSP Service. WMDM (Windows Media Device Manager) PMSP (Pre-Message Security Protocol) is a feature of the Windows Media Format SDK, which supports the SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) for packaging copyrighted music. Applications developed with WMDM will enable users to copy their music compact disc (CD) collection, as well as protected music downloaded from the Web, to SDMI-compliant portable music players & SDMI-compliant portable storage devices (such as flash memory cards). If you are intending to transfers music to SDMI-compliant portable devices then set this to Automatic, otherwise you may safely leave this set to Manual. Thanks to Patrick Gagnon, Seth Hanford & Chanur Silvarian for their help with information about this Service.

WMI Performance Adapter. Provides performance library information from WMI HiPerf providers. You can leave this set to Manual.

 

Restoring a Service

Should you need to restore the Startup type for one Service, but can’t load the Services utility, click on Start, Run, type in regedit hit Enter & expand the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services] key. Expanding the Services folder will list all Services on the system. Simply scroll down to the affected Service (Check the DisplayName entry in the Right pane to verify the Service name).

Right click on the Start entry & select Modify. Select the Value data field.

Changing the number displayed here will change the Startup type of the Service.

  • A value of 2 sets the Startup type to Automatic.

  • A value of 3 sets the Startup type to Manual.

  • A value of 4 sets the Startup type to Disabled.

After making any change select Ok & reboot your PC for the change to take effect.

 

Recovery Options

For most of you the Recovery options available for a Service will be of little use (& as such are covered at the end), although system/network admins will probably find them to be of more use. Double click on a Service & select the Recovery tab.

Here you can specify the actions to be taken in the event a Service fails, e.g. (Attempting to) Restart the Service or launching a program. Configure this options at your own discretion – but like I said, for most of you these will be of no use.

 

Conclusion

By now you’ll have configured your system Services optimally to your configuration, or Network. Overall you may well have reduced overall Services Memory requirements, kept bootup time to a minimum & plugged up a few potential security hazards. Should you have any Problems please post them in our Software /OS Forum. This guide should be updated in the future with further Services & other information as appropriate.


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