Improving performance and security by disabling unneeded services

How disabling unneeded services can help improve performance and security.

I recently ran across a Web site that described a procedure to remove numerous unneeded services from Windows XP

in order to produce a more reliable, faster and more secure operating system. At first I was skeptical, but after trying out the recommendations, I have to say that I am more than impressed.

The site is: http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm

Here you'll find a fairly detailed discussion of the various services that are installed and operational by default on Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional. There are approximately 89 services installed on Windows XP right out of the box. Of these about 36 are configured to install and run by default. However, depending on what you do with your systems, you may only really need 8 of these services. EIGHT! By following the recommendations from this site, you can free 12 to 90 MB of RAM for other uses. And remember, the less RAM the system itself uses to keep a stable environment, the faster it will function.

I was able to cut my services down to about 12 for my specific uses. And the speed and performance improvement I've reaped has been phenomenal. Plus, with fewer services running I also have fewer vulnerabilities due to services I never use. Talk about a win-win situation!

I do have to issue a warning. This site is maintained by a person who reveals himself only by his online handle: Black Viper. I know little to nothing about this individual. So, take his recommendations with caution. Test the changes on a non-production system before you choose to make sweeping changes in your environment. But I'm sure you'll find that most (if not all) of his insights into managing unnecessary services are well worth the effort.

BTW, in addition to his hints on managing unnecessary services, he also has a great page on containing numerous other performance enhancing tips -- he calls them Super Tweaks.


James Michael Stewart is a researcher and writer for Lanwrights, Inc.


This was first published in November 2002

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