By Dan Gookin

A background service on your PC runs all the time. It’s one of those busy things inside a computer, most of which are necessary but some of which may not be. You can disable those background services to see a slight boost in performance, though the task is a bit technical.

The table lists a bunch of services that Windows runs. You might be able to disable some or all of these services to help improve your computer’s performance.

Services You Can Disable

Service Name Effect of Disabling
FAX You can’t send faxes, but if you don’t send them in the first place, there’s no point in wasting resources on this service.
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. If you don’t know what I mean, disable this service.
Offline Files You can’t access the offline files if you’re using offline files, and you probably aren’t.
Remote Access Connection Manager You cannot use dialup virtual private networking (VPN).
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator None that I’m aware of.
Remote Registry You cannot modify your computer’s Registry over a network.
Smart Card You cannot use a smart card to authenticate computer access. This service requires a smart card slot on your computer. (A smart card isn’t a memory card.)
Smart Card Removal Policy You cannot use a smart card for computer access.
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper None, unless you’re certain that you’re using legacy NetBIOS networking programs. (You probably aren’t.)
Telephony Your dialup networking may not work.
Themes You use Windows in a rather plain, old‐fashioned view. Fancy desktop features are disabled (transparency and shadows, for example).
WebClient The FrontPage web design program may not work.

To disable a service, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Windows key.
  2. Type services.
  3. Choose the item Services Desktop App from the list of search results.

    The Services console appears.

  4. Locate a service to disable.

    Use the table to help you decide which services to disable.

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

  5. Double‐click the service to display its Properties dialog box.
  6. Choose Disabled as the Startup type.
    By choosing Disabled, you prevent the service from starting when the computer starts.
    Make a note of the service’s original state: Automatic or Manual. Just in case you need to reenable the service, you should know how it was configured before you changed it.
  7. 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, reenable the service to Automatic or Manual or whatever the previous setting was.
  8. Repeat Steps 5 through 7 as necessary.
  9. Close the Services console when you’re done.

The services showncomprise only part of the entire list of services running in your computer. You may be able to safely disable other services that, specifically, would have no negative effect on your PC. It all depends on what you do with your computer and Windows.

Of course, the possibility always exists that disabling a service has no effect on the computer and causes no improvement in performance. That’s the case with many services, which is why you don’t see more of them listed in the table.

  • If disabling a service causes your PC to run more slowly or programs to function improperly, re-enable the service.

• Don’t randomly disable services. Some are required for your computer to properly function. If you notice anything odd after disabling a service, re-enable it.