I want to reduce the number of running services to the minimum. Can I set all services that start up automatically to manual, so that it is only started when required. Or will this make my Windows XP system instable?


While in theory it may sound like a good idea, here are a few potential issues:

  1. Dependency detection isn't perfect; some programs/software may expect services to be active that aren't, and simply fail to function rather than attempting to start them.
  2. In some cases, an event may require the sudden starting of a large number of services, leading to inopportune system slowdown.
  3. Some services, while not technically dependent, may still prefer to be started in a certain order. I saw this recently on a client machine when one service would not successfully start unless made manually dependent on a late-starting service, even though they were not technically dependent.

Blackviper's Service Configs are considered by many to be the bible of windows services optimization. Look under "Popular Content".


Now for the most hardcore answer to your question, Mark Russinovich's blog post Running Windows with No Services is definitely worth a read.

Windows XP comes with around four dozen services enabled by default, including ones that many people consider superfluous like Remote Registry, Alerter, and SSDP Discovery (Universal Plug and Play). A question many Windows administrators commonly have is therefore, which services can I safely disable? What if I told you that for at least basic functionality like Web surfing and application execution, Windows doesn’t need any services?

He manages to kill smss.exe, winlogon.exe, services.exe, lsass.exe and csrss.exe, and can still run IE. He just can't log off. Or shut down. But hey.

  • I think this is more of an intellectual exercise than anything useful. Or something fun to show your fellow geek friends. Thanks anyway! – user21316 Oct 5 '09 at 14:33

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