How to Disable Windows XP Services



the Services panel in Windows XP

Microsoft is well-known for bloating it’s operating systems with a bunch of, well, crap that noone seems to need. Then there are all those functions that someone needs, only not you!

Called services, these little programs are often set to ‘automatic’, running in the background, slowing down your PC. For most of us, even power users, about half these services can be either ‘disabled’, else set to ‘manual’, which means they will run only when needed, greatly improving performance.

The purpose of this tutorial isn’t to show you which services to turn on or off. For that information, this guy has done a great job already. But I will show you how to turn them on and off, which is dead simple.

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  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Click on Run
  3. Into the Run dialogue box, type “services.msc”
  4. The Services dialogue box will now be open. Right-click a service
  5. In the dropdown menu, click on Properties
  6. In the Properties box General tab, click on the Startup Type dropdown menu, and select either ‘Automatic’, ‘Manual’ or ‘Disabled’.

Here’s a quick example. You have installed ZoneAlarm, the superb firewall. So you don’t need the inferior Windows Firewall now, and want to disable the service.

Very simple. Follow the steps above to open the Services dialogue box. In the list of services you see “Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS).” Right click on that service and, in the dropdown menu, opt for ‘Disabled’. Now the Windows Firewall will cease until you change the setting back.

…You won’t though, because ZoneAlarm is better. :)

Any questions, maybe about specific services, drop me a comment below and I’ll help as best I can.

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Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at guvnr.com, polices WordPress security at wpCop.com and helps noobs build web servers at vpsBible.com, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.

Discussion

  1. the_guv  January 23, 2009

    @helen, there’s been so much written about this, and I recommend you take time to read it carefully…try http://www.theeldergeek.com/ for the ultimate guide or, for a starter guide, try http://www.jasonn.com/turning_off_unnecessary_services_on_windows_xp. Hope that helps.

  2. roberto  January 23, 2009

    Gracias, Guv, muy útil

  3. helen  January 22, 2009

    my pc is crawling. What services should I definitely turn off?

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