Windows is a terrific operating system – no doubt about it (although, some will argue otherwise). Windows meets most of my computing needs, as it does yours, I expect. The chances of my computing needs and your computing needs being the same however, are remote.
Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t differentiate between your needs and my needs. On installation, the OS generally assumes we both have the same needs (including security needs), and configures Windows Services accordingly.
Running with fewer services though, especially a service that you don’t use, or need, puts less strain on both the CPU and system memory. In some cases, reducing the number of running services can turn a sluggish PC around. So, if you want to get the best out of your machine, tweaking services is good practice.
Examples of services I’ve tweaked on this machine:
I don’t have a printer attached to this particular machine I’m using this morning, so I don’t need the spooler service running.
I don’t run a Tablet PC so I don’t need the Tablet PC Input service running.
The Fax service is disabled since I don’t use Fax.
I don’t allow any remote access to this machine so any services dealing with remote access are disabled. For example – I can’t imaging allowing remote access to my registry so, “allowing remote users to change my registry settings” (on this machine), is disabled.
Tweaking services however, is not without its hazards. For example, if a particular service is disabled, any other service/services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.
Adjusting a service setting incorrectly, has the potential to leave a computer in an unbootable condition. I know – I’ve managed to do just that, a time or two, over the years.
Recently, an open source (free), application that promises to allow a user to tweak Windows services in a safe and easy way, caught my attention. Vista Services Optimizer, a Windows tweaking utility, which despite its name, has been optimized to run in Windows 7 as well, makes good on this promise.
Even a casual user, with a few mouse clicks, can easily optimize Windows services to increase performance and security, automatically.
A more experienced user gets a little more leeway, and can manually tweak using a more in-depth feature list.
Very experienced users can tweak to their heart’s content, with the built-in Services Manager.
Here’s an example – I recently made some changes to the playlist on my IPod, which meant running ITunes; a bloated, cannibalistic piece of crapware that eats resources through various (usually unwanted), added services. Adjusting these parasitic services was a snap using Services Manager.
In case your tweaking goes a step too far, recovery is just a mouse click away by simply using the built-in Smart Rescue Center.
Since many games are processor, system memory, and graphic intensive, setting up Gaming Mode will give your system an immediate performance boost when needed. Keep in mind that the best solution to improved gaming (all other components being up to the task), is the installation of a high-end graphic card.
Additionally, this module can be used to temporarily turn off unneeded Windows features, and free up computer resources, when running applications that benefit from a “lean” system profile – e.g., Photoshop.
System analysis highlights services that can be turned off
Automatic tune-up based on user’s system requirements
Restore function to restore to system defaults
Automatic service state snapshots
I don’t think it could be any easier to tweak Windows services than this. All the user needs to do is tick the appropriate check boxes, and the Services Optimizer takes care of the rest.
System requirements: Windows Vista – SP1 or higher (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit), Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Service Pack 1
Last updated: July 15, 2010
Download at: Smart PC Utilities
For those who need a portable version, you’re in luck – a portable version is available. However, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 with Service Pack 1, must be resident on the host machine.
Note: During the install, you will have the option of installing a toolbar – don’t!
XP users – Optimizer XP 3.5 is available for download at Softpedia. I have not tested this application.
If you’re a real “hands-on” techie, then visit Charles “Black Viper” Sparks Website, (the best tweaking site on the Internet), where you’ll find complete explanations of each service, and advice on which services you can safely disable – plus, a lot more.
If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.