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I noticed that this service starts and stops regularly seeking for proxies, but in the service description says that it implements the HTTP client stack.

Is it used for something more than proxy autodiscover? Will I break something by disabling it?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

This service starts and stops as needed so there shouldn't be any reason in particular to disable it.

That said, if you don't have a proxy, there's no need for it. There are no dependencies on this service by other services.

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Thanks, the reason is that I don't want all the computers in my network to be seeking for a proxy when I know that there's no need for that. I already know that I don't have any service depending on that one, but how will the WinHTTP COM objects be affected? – jmservera Feb 15 '10 at 13:22
Disabling the service probably isn't going to get the desired effect. According to MSDN, if a COM object requests the URL for a proxy but it cannot delegate the lookup to the proxy service, it loads the COM runtime into its own process space and does the lookup itself. If these are client machines (i.e. XP), you should be able to push out a group policy which turns off the "auto-detect proxy" feature in IE. Servers have a "ProxyCfg.exe" application which configures this, and server-side applications should rely on this being configured anyway, not auto-detecting it. – Andy Shellam Feb 15 '10 at 19:00
But it's a web server so shouldn't need proxy services (if it's just running a simple set of applications). If it's disabled it can't suck CPU cycles, fill up the log, nor present a security risk. – GlennG May 11 '12 at 9:19

Do not disable this service in Win8/Server 2012 and newer. Disabling WinHttpAutoProxySvc can cause a cascade of stuck threads that depletes threadpools and eventually causes a server hang. I work at Microsoft and have debugged this issue many times.

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