One of the most popular tuning measures for Windows is to disable services. Windows comes with a number of programs that start automatically and run permanently in the background – the so-called services.
Like all other programs, the services consume memory and processor power. Therefore, according to the theory, it is worth deactivating redundant services. Incidentally, this should also make Windows a little more secure. The tip is about as old as Windows 2000 and XP, so it dates from the end of the last century.
When the idea arose to systematically deactivate services, the PC world looked very different from today. Computers rarely had more than 128 MB of RAM – even simple smartphones now have 20 times that. The situation was similar with the processors, which were far less powerful than what is found in smartphones and tablets today.
The times have changed. In 2000, PCs often had a maximum of 256 megabytes of RAM. Today hardly a new PC with less than 4 gigabytes of RAM rolls off the assembly line. This is no wonder, since the price / gigabyte ratio has dropped significantly.
A freshly installed Windows 10 needs about 500-600 megabytes of RAM when idle. You can save about 100 megabytes of this by deactivating services. It is hardly worth the effort. In addition, services that have nothing to do do not cause much load on the processor.
The time required to start the PC can hardly be reduced. Where it used to be in the minute range, today it has shrunk to just a few seconds anyway.
Earlier versions of Windows had numerous security problems. The fact that PCs communicated with each other en masse over local networks and the Internet, and thus became vulnerable, was still quite new. Windows XP in particular became known in 2003 when the malware W32.Blaster exploited a security hole in a Windows service millions of times. It is therefore not surprising that some security problems may be prevented by switching off services.
Times have changed here too. Microsoft is doing a lot more to ensure that Windows is inherently secure. In principle, security gaps can never be excluded. However, the likelihood that you will be able to deal with them by decommissioning services is extremely low. Some services even provide extra security, for example the Windows Firewall, Windows Updates and Windows Defender.
Many services are essential for a smoothly functioning Windows. What is necessary and what is unnecessary cannot be recognized from the name of a service. In addition, there is no general rule about which background programs you can do without – this differs from system to system.
There is a high risk that you will get an unstable Windows by switching off a service. In particularly annoying cases, malfunctions only occur days or weeks later. Due to the time interval, the shutdown service is hardly suspected, which makes it more difficult to solve the problem.
Even if you can easily find lists of supposedly safe services that can be switched off via Google: the procedure is always similar to trying to reduce the weight of a car by suspiciously removing parts from the engine compartment.
With a look at the services overview of Windows 10, you can convince yourself that your operating system already manages services very properly. To do this, right-click on the start button and select “Computer Management” from the list. In the following window, double click on “Services and Applications” and then click on “Services” again.
You will find an overview of Windows services list. After double-clicking, many services can be deactivated, but this no longer makes sense today, at least from a tuning perspective.
You can also start Windows Services Manager by typing in services.msc in the Run box.
Pay particular attention to the columns “Status” and “Startup type”. The first tells you whether the service is currently running. For many, this is not the case. The second column shows you the conditions under which Windows starts the service:
- Automatic: Windows automatically loads this service when it starts up.
- Automatic (Delayed Start): Windows starts this service automatically, but only 2 minutes after the last service marked “Automatic” has been loaded.
- “Manual” or “Start by trigger”: This service is started by a program, the user or when an event occurs, such as connecting a hardware via USB.
- Disabled: This service is switched off.
Microsoft has configured the various services so that they start sensibly. What is important starts automatically, for example the DHCP client, without which the PC cannot connect to the network in many cases.
What is important but has time is started later, for example the Windows Security Center. What is only needed when required is only started when invoked.
There was a time in the history of Windows when shutting down services really did something. But this is over. The little power reserves that you can still tease out of your PC with this method are no longer worth the effort and risk.