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How to Disable Unnecessary Services in Windows 7

A service is something a program does in Windows — specifically, a program that starts automatically whenever the computer starts. Most services are things that Windows does, and most of those services are tasks that you don’t need to have running in your computer.

To disable a service, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose System and Security.

  3. Choose Administrative Tools.

  4. Open the Services icon.

  5. Locate a service to disable.

    Use the list at the end to help you decide which services to disable.

    Click the Name column heading to ensure that the services are sorted alphabetically.

  6. Double-click the service to open its Properties dialog box.

  7. Choose Disabled as the Startup type.

    By choosing Disabled, you prevent the process from starting when the computer starts.

    Make a note of the service’s original state: Automatic or Manual. Just in case you need to re-enable the service, you should know how it was configured before you changed it.

  8. Click OK to confirm your choice and close the dialog box.

    When you’re concerned about compatibility, or that your computer may work improperly after disabling a service, restart Windows. When the system starts up, try it out for a while to ensure that things are working well. Then continue or, if there’s a problem, re-enable the service to Automatic or Manual or whatever the previous setting was.

  9. Repeat Steps 4 through 7 as necessary.

  10. Close the Services window when you’re done.

    You can also, optionally, close the Control Panel window.

Here’s a list of services that you might be able disable to help improve your computer’s performance.

Services You Can Disable in Windows 7
Service Name Effect of Disabling
Desktop Window Manager Session Manager The desktop looks less pretty.
Function Discovery Provider Host Windows Media Center doesn’t function properly.
Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) You cannot share your computer’s Internet access with another computer.
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator None.
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper None, unless you’re certain that you’re using legacy NetBIOS networking programs. (You probably aren’t.)
Themes You use Windows in a rather plain, old-fashioned view. Fancy desktop features are disabled (transparency and shadows, for example).
Windows Firewall Windows Firewall doesn’t run, but if you’re using other firewall software or hardware, that’s okay.
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