Windows Vista Service Guide

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Windows Vista Service Guide

Post by Rahul on Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:52 pm

Windows Vista has several new services and features that we do not all need. I have gone through the list of services that are running in Windows Vista and compiled a list of services that you can safely disable. Before I get started, it is necessary to understand how to disable services in Windows Vista. Similar to other version of Windows, you will be using the Services MMC. Follow the steps below to get started with the Services applet.



  • Click the Start Button, key in services.msc and hit Enter.


  • To stop and disable a service, just right click on a service and select Properties.

  • Then, in the properties box change the Startup type to Disabled and hit OK. The next time that you restart your computer the service will no longer be able to start.


Now that you know the basics of disabling a service, I can begin going over the services that I have found that can be disabled to increase your system performance. Below is a list of services that can be disabled. Some provide value added features, so if you use a feature associated with the service consider if it is really worth the slight performance gain compared to the usefulness of the feature.

Apple Mobile Device - Provides the interface to Apple mobile devices. If you don’t have any apple hardware but use iTunes, then disable this service.

Diagnostic Policy Service - The Diagnostic Policy Service enables problem detection, troubleshooting and resolution for Windows components. If this service is stopped, diagnostics will no longer function. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Diagnostic System Host - The Diagnostic System Host service enables problem detection, troubleshooting and resolution for Windows components. If this service is stopped, some diagnostics will no longer function. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Base Filtering Engine - The Base Filtering Engine (BFE) is a service that manages firewall and Internet Protocol security (IPsec) policies and implements user mode filtering. Stopping or disabling the BFE service will significantly reduce the security of the system. It will also result in unpredictable behavior in IPsec management and firewall applications.

Certificate Propagation - Propagates certificates from smart cards.

Computer Browser - Maintains an updated list of computers on the network and supplies this list to computers designated as browsers. If this service is stopped, this list will not be updated or maintained. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Desktop Window Manager Session Manager - Provides Desktop Window Manager startup and maintenance services. Disabling this will kill aero glass.

Function Discovery Provider Host - Host process for Function Discovery providers. Detects devices such as Windows Media Center Extenders on your local network.

Function Discovery Resource Publication - Publishes this computer and resources attached to this computer so they can be discovered over the network. If this service is stopped, network resources will no longer be published and they will not be discovered by other computers on the network.

Group Policy Client - The service is responsible for applying settings configured by administrators for the computer and users through the Group Policy component. If the service is stopped or disabled, the settings will not be applied and applications and components will not be manageable through Group Policy. Any components or applications that depend on the Group Policy component might not be functional if the service is stopped or disabled.

IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules - The IKEEXT service hosts the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) and Authenticated Internet Protocol (AuthIP) keying modules. These keying modules are used for authentication and key exchange in Internet Protocol security (IPsec). Stopping or disabling the IKEEXT service will disable IKE and AuthIP key exchange with peer computers. IPsec is typically configured to use IKE or AuthIP; therefore, stopping or disabling the IKEEXT service might result in an IPsec failure and might compromise the security of the system. It is strongly recommended that you have the IKEEXT service running.

IP Helper - Provides automatic IPv6 connectivity over an IPv4 network. If this service is stopped, the machine will only have IPv6 connectivity if it is connected to a native IPv6 network.



iPod Service - iPod hardware management services.

IPsec Policy Agent - Internet Protocol security (IPsec) supports network-level peer authentication, data origin authentication, data integrity, data confidentiality (encryption), and replay protection. This service enforces IPsec policies created through the IP Security Policies snap-in or the command-line tool "netsh ipsec". If you stop this service, you may experience network connectivity issues if your policy requires that connections use IPsec. Also,remote management of Windows Firewall is not available when this service is stopped.

Messenger Sharing Folders USN Journal Reader service - Service installed by Messenger to enable sharing scenarios.

Network Location Awareness - Collects and stores configuration information for the network and notifies programs when this information is modified. If this service is stopped, configuration information might be unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

NMIndexingService – A component of the Nero CD/DVD burning software that is not needed for burning.

Offline Files - The Offline Files service performs maintenance activities on the Offline Files cache, responds to user logon and logoff events, implements the internals of the public API, and dispatches interesting events to those interested in Offline Files activities and changes in cache state.

ReadyBoost - Provides support for improving system performance using ReadyBoost. If you do not use ReadyBoost, disable this.

Tablet PC Input Service - Enables Tablet PC pen and ink functionality.

Telephony - Provides Telephony API (TAPI) support for programs that control telephony devices on the local computer and, through the LAN, on servers that are also running the service.

Terminal Services – Allows users to connect interactively to a remote computer. Remote Desktop and Terminal Server depend on this service. To prevent remote use of this computer, clear the checkboxes on the Remote tab of the System properties control panel item.

Terminal Services Configuration - Terminal Services Configuration service (TSCS) is responsible for all Terminal Services and Remote Desktop related configuration and session maintenance activities that require SYSTEM context. These include per-session temporary folders, TS themes, and TS certificates.

Terminal Services UserMode Port Redirector - Allows the redirection of Printers/Drives/Ports for RDP connections
You have now finished part 2 of my service guide for Microsoft Windows Vista! If you have not already done so, take a look at Part 1 of the service guide



Themes - Provides user experience theme management.

UPnP Device Host - Allows UPnP devices to be hosted on this computer. If this service is stopped, any hosted UPnP devices will stop functioning and no additional hosted devices can be added. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

WebClient - Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files. If this service is stopped, these functions will not be available. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Windows Audio – Manages audio for Windows-based programs. If this service is stopped, audio devices and effects will not function properly. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start

Windows Audio Endpoint Builder - Manages audio devices for the Windows Audio service. If this service is stopped, audio devices and effects will not function properly. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Windows Defender - Scan your computer for unwanted software, schedule scans, and get the latest unwanted software definitions.

Windows Error Reporting Service - Allows errors to be reported when programs stop working or responding and allows existing solutions to be delivered. Also allows logs to be generated for diagnostic and repair services. If this service is stopped, error reporting might not work correctly and results of diagnostic services and repairs might not be displayed. This service has always been a favorite for power users to disable. I'm not going to lie, it will give you a slight performance gain if you disable it since less overhead = more resources for your apps. However, Windows Vista is in Beta! Why wouldn't you want Microsoft to hear about the problems you are having. Don't you want them to be aware of issues you are having?

Windows Firewall - Windows Firewall helps protect your computer by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network.

Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) - Provides image acquisition services for scanners and cameras.

Windows Management Instrumentation - Provides a common interface and object model to access management information about operating system, devices, applications and services. If this service is stopped, most Windows-based software will not function properly. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start. This service is used a lot in the enterprise environment in scripting events on computers. In the home area, there is no use for it and can be disabled. If in the future you ever have any problems with installing programs, try re-enabling this service again since some, not all, tend to use it.

Windows Search - Provides content indexing and property caching for file, email and other content (via extensibility APIs). The service responds to file and email notifications to index modified content. If the service is stopped or disabled, the Explorer will not be able to display virtual folder views of items, and search in the Explorer will fall back to item-by-item slow search.

Windows Time - Maintains date and time synchronization on all clients and servers in the network. If this service is stopped, date and time synchronization will be unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Windows Update - Enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows and other programs. If this service is disabled, users of this computer will not be able to use Windows Update or its automatic updating feature, and programs will not be able to use the Windows Update Agent (WUA) API. While many disable this service, I think you are crazy if you do these days.
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