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Disabling Unnecessary Windows Services

This article provides specific recommendations about which services in Windows can be safely turned off with one caveat: if you are dealing with your personal computer that is not included in any tricky computer network or is specially configured for highly specialized tasks.

Disabling unnecessary services leads to increased performance – and, of course, saving RAM. The system will not be distracted by unnecessary tasks. In addition, security will increase – if some services that allow you to connect to the computer from the outside simply do not work, then connection is also impossible. Explanations will be given on the example of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Seven – the services on all systems are similar and differ mainly in names. The differences between the names will be indicated separately, for Windows XP I will also give the English names of the services (apparently, there are very few users of English Vista / Seven in Russia – and the services, again, are called approximately the same).

To manage services, you need to go to the Control panel – Administrative Tools – Services (Control panel – Administrative tools – Services). A list of services will open, right-clicking on each one you can manage properties, incl. and type of download. If you don’t understand what it’s about, you better not read further and take no action, since you put the operating system at significant risk. Also, I take off all responsibility – act only at your own peril and risk; I write only about what I know and what I tried myself (highlighting exceptions).

Automatic updates
Vista / Seven: Windows Update

If you do not need updates and unnecessary problems associated with them, you can disable this service. Stable builds of systems, as a rule, are free from serious errors and can be used for an arbitrarily long time without any updates. Most often, updates include bug fixes in security systems that are not needed at all by a home computer that is not connected to any network. In Vista / Seven, I often came across the fact that after the updates the system can not boot for a long time (or even precipitates) – so, for my clients, most often, I immediately turn off this service.

In some cases, disabling the update service in Vista / Seven makes it impossible to install some system things – for example, .Net framework 3.5. To install, you must enable the service, and then it can be turned off again. In XP, I don’t remember such problems in the entire history of use.

Wireless zero configuration
Vista / Seven: WLAN Auto-Tuning Service

If the computer does not have wireless adapters (and in most cases it is, if we are talking about a stationary home machine), you can turn off the service.

Windows Firewall / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
The firewall itself is absolutely useless and, in fact, doesn’t particularly protect against anything (unless it creates unnecessary problems – for example, with IPTV multicast streams). It’s better to install a third-party firewall, or simply turn off the firewall, because for most providers, the Windows network still does not work, and the remaining dangerous things such as remote access can simply be turned off. If your computer is used as a gateway to the Internet for another home machine, you cannot disable the firewall, because It is he who is engaged in a general connection to the Internet.

Web Client (WebClient)
The description says that “this service allows you to manipulate files on the Internet.” What and how – I have no idea; for 10+ years, the service was never useful.

Print spooler
Vista / Seven: Print Manager

If there are no printers in the system, turn it off.

Vista / Seven only: Windows Defender
It is not clear why it is needed if there is a normal antivirus. In fact, it monitors mainly the source components of Windows (Internet Explorer, Windows add-ons, etc.). For example, I do not use them in any of the systems. With the release of Microsoft Security Essentials comprehensive protection, it was announced that the “defender” could be abandoned. There is no “protector” in XP, but you can install it for free. Again, it’s not clear why …

NetBIOS support module over TCP / IP (TCP / IP NetBIOS helper)
If your computer is not connected to the network with others communicating on the Windows Network, feel free to disconnect.

XP / Vista only: Computer Browser
If the computer, as in the previous case, is not included in the Windows network with others, the service is not needed.

Shell hardware detection
Disabling this service significantly increases the security of the system – after that flash drives, CDs, etc. no longer open automatically. This means that autorun of malicious code from an infected medium is excluded. An experienced user himself is able to access a removable device without any “helpful” startups.

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