Saturday, June 21, 2008

How To Disable Background Processes In Windows XP


Disabling background processes in Windows XP is one of the steps necessary to improve the performance of your computer. Many of the programs which run behind the scenes are important system applications. On the other hand, many of them are not needed at all but still run whenever the computer is on. They can waste memory which could be used for other things and pose security risks. This article explains how to get to your list of services and disable the ones which most people rarely use. Included are explanations of the needless Windows XP background processes and why they are probably not useful.

How To Get To The List of Services

1) Click 'Start'

2) Click 'Run'

3) In the box that says 'Open:' type the following: services.msc

4) Hit 'Enter'

This will open up the list of background processes.

How To Disable An Item From The List

1) Click the item once to highlight it.

2) Right-click the item to pull down a small menu with some options.

3) When the menu comes down, click 'Properties'. This will bring you to the settings for that particular item.

4) Where it says 'Startup tpe:' use the pulldown menu to select a setting. The options are 'Automatic' (which makes the program start with the computer starts), 'Manual' (to make it only stat when it is needed) or 'Disabled' (to prevent it from running at all).

Most Commonly Unused Background Processes

Name Description Recommeded Setting
Clipbook This is for using your clipboard over a network. It allows a user to copy and paste text from one computer to another over a network. Insecure and hardly anyone uses it. Might be disable already if you have SP2 installed. Disable
Error Reporting Service When a program crashes, this will send information to Microsoft's research team. It is a waste to run all the time just for a few application crashes. Disable
Fast User Switching This allows programs which use Window's multi-user features to run and allows users to switch from one profile to another. Manual
Help and Support This service enables the Help and Support center to run which gives you assistance for some common problems. This has been found not to be helpful in most cases and better assistance can be found by Googling for solutions. Disable
Remote Access Auto Connection Manager Not needed unless you have computers networked for sharing files and printers directly to other computers AND are doing the sharing over the Internet instead of locally. Manual
Remote Access Connection Manager Same as above. Manual
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager Allows technical support representatives or friends to assist your computer from a remote location. Usually insecure and and wastes system resources. Manual
Telephony Needed for making phone calls with software on your computer such as Skype. Not needed for VoIP services such as Vonage or Comcast digital voice as they do not go through the computer. Any Internet phone service being used through the computer needs this to be enabled. If you are not using such software, it is suggested that you disable this for security purposes and to save memory. Disabled
Terminal Services Allows multiple people to connect to your computer from over the Internet and display the desktop and applications. Insecure and best to disable if you are not using it. Disabled
Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) This is Microsoft's Firewall which is built into Windows XP. If there is already another Firewall installed from another vendor, it is important that this is disabled this because two Firewalls would put needless strain on a PC. Disabled (unless you have no other Firewall installed)
Wireless Zero Configuration This is needed for connecting a computer to wireless Internet. Disabled (unless you use the Internet wirelessly)