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Thread: A guide to services in Vista

  1. #1
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    A guide to services in Vista

    I just thought Id post this up, as alot of people will want every last scrap of memory they can in Vista. Its mainly for those with less than 2Gb of RAM.

    Be sure to read whats written before deciding on what do!

    To disable or stop a service:
    Go to Start , Run and type in services.msc to open up the Windows Services console.
    Double click on a service to view its properties
    Under Startup type, either select it to “Automatic” to start on startup, “Manual” to start when you need it or “Disabled” to never use it.
    Click on either the Start or Stop buttons to either stop or start the service, depending on what you want to do.
    If you have problems with a service or you get an error message stating that “the service cannot be started”, simply open back up the Services console, and start the relevant service again to sort the problem out.

    Application Layer Gateway Service - Manual, Stopped
    This service doesn’t need to be running unless you have Internet Connection Sharing actually running from that computer which enables other people to share the connection directly from that machine. I don’t have it running, it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

    Block Level Backup Engine Service - Manual, Stopped
    This service is for backing up and recovery of data - although it’s not very important if you definitely won’t be using the Backup and Restore function in Windows. Remember to back up your files every few weeks though!

    Certificate Propagation - Disabled, Stopped
    This service is there to propagate certificates from smart cards. If you don’t use smart cards to gain access to the system, just disable this one.

    CNG Key Isolation - Manual, Stopped
    Basically to do with public/private key isolation and keeping keys that last a while in the memory. It’s not really needed to be honest.

    DFS Replication - Disabled, Stopped
    If you do not have a server running Distributed File System as a server role, there is no point in having this service running because you need a server as well as a client to replicate from and between.

    External Memory Devices Management Service - Manual, Stopped
    This is for users who have flash USB drives. I have this set to Manual so that if I plug one in, the service will start. Other than that (and I only use it to transport things from college to home, not even things from other computers in the house), then leave it stopped. If you have no USB hard drives, disable this service. However, this will cause ReadyBoost to fail.

    Fax - Disabled, Stopped
    Who uses faxes anymore attached to their computer? I certainly don’t, so unless you do, then stop this service and disable it completely.

    Human Interface Device Access - Manual, Stopped
    For keyboards and mice and other hardware devices which have hot buttons on them - usually for mail, your web browser and sound controlling ones. If you have no hot buttons, disable this service and save a little bit of memory.

    Infrared monitor service - Disabled, Stopped
    Again, who has infrared devices? I have my phones yes, but my computer has Bluetooth so for me, this service can be disabled.

    Interactive Services Detection - Manual, Stopped
    This displays interactive service dialogs. As their aren’t many in Vista Beta 2, you can keep this set to manual and shouldn’t cause you any problems if you keep this set this way.

    Internet Connection Sharing - Disabled, Stopped
    Only if the machine you are using does not control the Internet on any other machines. This should not be disabled or turned off on a machine which the Internet passes through for other machines on a network.

    Intersite Messaging - Disabled, Stopped
    This is the new “Messenger” service that we have previously seen on Windows XP. You can still disable this so you won’t get people spamming you from over the Internet, but the downside is is that you won’t get any administrative popup’s sent from the server… but most people don’t use it anyway.

    Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper - Disabled, Stopped
    If you’re not bothered about seeing a Network Map in the Network Center, you can disable this as this is the service which collects together about PC and device topology within a network.

    Media Center (Extender Service, Receiver, Scheduler and Launcher Service) - Disabled, Stopped
    There are 4 services here that relate to Windows Media Center (not Media Player), and if you have no interest in using Media Center or the TV tuner abilities, then you can safely disable these. However, you can still set these to Manual if you do want to use them however, but it’s recommended that you set the Media Center Service Launcher to Automatic if you are.

    Offline Files - Disabled, Stopped
    Only on a standalone machine that is not connected to a server, this can be disabled and stopped, as there is no real need to use Offline Files because you won’t be synchronising your work with a central server.

    Parental Controls - Manual, Stopped
    If you have only one user or no need to set controls on younger ones who might be using the Internet for example, you may as well set this to Manual just in case. Disabling it can sometimes have an adverse effect on the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service; not sure why but it doesn’t half complain about it on my machine!

    PNRP Machine Name Publication - Manual, Stopped
    This translates your computer’s IP into a Peer Name customised by yourself for Peer to Peer clients such as Windows Meeting Space (previously codenamed “Collaboration”. If you’re not bothered about using this software, then keep it set to Manual just to be sure.

    Peer Name Resolution Protocol (includes Peer Networking Grouping and Peer Networking Identity Manager - Manual, Stopped
    This service should be disabled if you do not use Windows Meeting Space otherwise it’s just wasting precious memory.

    Print Spooler - Disable, Stopped
    A real memory taker! I don’t have a printer attached to my Vista machine, nor do I have one on the same subnet on my network so there’s no need to have this enabled. Sometimes it’s been noted to take up to 12,000K for no apparent reason, so I just totally get rid of it.

    Remote Registry - Manual, Stopped
    If you are on a standard home network, or a standalone machine, this service is pretty much useless.

    Secondary Logon - Manual, Stopped
    Only fully disable this if you are the administrator - other users may need this, especially if you have UAP activated and running, as you may need to run things under different and higher credentials to get things to install or run.

    Smart Card - Disable, Stopped
    See below - if you don’t have smart cards, disable this service and stop it.

    Smart Card (Removal Policy) - Disable, Stopped
    These two services control what happens with a smart card when it enters the computer and when it gets taken out. Many people don’t use smart cards, so you can disable this. If you do have smart cards, set this to Automatic.

    Tablet PC Input Service - Disable, Stopped
    Unless you have a Tablet PC or a touch-screen computer, you may as well disable this because you can’t use the Tablet input system very well with a mouse. Do not disable if you use the “snipping” tool.

    Task Scheduler - Disable, Stopped
    I’ve never used this, not even to automatically start a disk cleanup. Not many other people use it, but if you do then leave this to Manual so it can start itself. If you don’t use it and have no use for it, go ahead and disable it.

    Volume Shadow Copy - Manual, Stopped
    This service is for back-end backing up entire hard disks. Backing up is important, but this service is only really necessary if a fully-pledged system or network administrator runs your network.

    World Wide Web Publishing Service - Manual, Stopped
    If your computer doesn’t host a website which is accessible internally or from the Internet, this can be turned off as it can munch memory when it’s not even being used.

    Taken from:
    Last edited by s_kinton; 23-02-2007 at 02:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Not a bad guide at all - just one point.

    DFS (other than a furniture store with annoying adverts) is the Distributed File System, not Domain File Server.

  3. #3
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    Useful list cheers, seems a few have been renamed in x64 though.

  4. #4
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    Nice that you put the recommendation to read the description before making changes

    However, one comment on the Task Scheduler - a service can't "start itself" if set to Manual, it means that it is an on-demand service and will be started either because another service depends upon it, or the Start event was triggered manually.

    Also, the system uses the scheduled tasks engine for more than just time-based events, there are also event-driven triggers like logons & logoffs - plus Windows Defender uses the scheduling engine instead of having to reinvent the wheel.
    You may not use scheduled tasks, but the OS does.

    Volume Shadow Copy keeps your "previous versions" of files on the system, so disable that and you'd better make sure you have regular, working backups.

    Also, in terms of "saving memory" this is often a misunderstood concept, perpetuated by the placebo effect - virtual memory memory is not really "used" until it is committed, so it really doesn't matter what is reported as the memory used by a process, it will be something less than that amount.

    In terms of physical memory, if there is contention then memory pages not recently touched, or belonging to apps that are minimized, is flagged to page to the disk by the housekeeping thread - so after a period of uptime, or contention, the physical memory taken by these processes can be measured in kB (each process & thread has a tiny bit of kernel resource allocated to keep track of it).

    As always with these kinds of system changes, if you do alter something then note the original settings before you do anything - "Last Known Good" can't help you if you made the changes 2 (clean) reboots ago.

    The only improvement I would expect from setting various services to Disabled or Manual would be a marginal decrease in time-to-desktop as the Service Control Manager will have less to initialize - but once the disk I/O is done, I would be surprised if there was a significant system performance difference.
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