Services that can be disabled in Windows XP SP3.

Services that can be disabled in Windows XP SP3



Default Setting

Safely Disable?

Ramifications if disabled

Suggested setting

Special Considerations

Alerter Notifies selected users and computers of administrative alerts Disabled Yes Programs that use administrative alerts will not receive them. Disable
Application Layer Gateway Provides support for application-level protocol plug-ins and enables network/protocol connectivity Manual Maybe Programs that rely on this service, such as MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger will not function. Enable Only enable when using the Windows firewall or another firewall. Failure to do so can result in a significant security hole.
Application Management Processes installation, removal, and enumeration requests for Active Directory IntelliMirror group policy programs Manual Yes Users will be unable to install, remove, or enumerate any IntelliMirror programs. Disable
Automatic Updates Enables the download and installation of critical Windows updates Automatic Yes The operating system cannot automatically install updates, but can still be manually updated at the Windows Update Web site. Enable Automatic updates help keep your computer current. If you do disable the service, perform regular, manual updates. Highly recommended that this service remain enabled.
Background Intelligent Transfer Transfers data between clients and servers in the background Automatic Yes Features such as Windows Update will not work properly. Disable Enable this services if you enable Automatic Updates.
ClipBook Enables ClipBook Viewer to store information and share it with remote computers Disabled Yes ClipBook Viewer will not be able to share information with remote computers. Disable
COM+ Event System Allows management of Component Services by providing automatic distribution of events to subscribing COM components Manual No System Event Notification stops working, which means that logon and logoff notifications will not take place. Other applications, such as Volume Snapshot service, will not work correctly. Enable
COM+ System Application Manages the configuration and tracking of Component Object Model (COM)+-based components Manual No COM+ applications will not function properly. Enable
Computer Browser Maintains an up-to-date list of computers on your network, and supplies the list to programs that request it. The Computer Browser service is used by Windows-based computers that need to view network domains and resources. Automatic Yes Your computer will be unable to locate other Windows computers on the network Enable Enable this service, if you need to share files with other Windows computers.
Cryptographic services Provides three management services: Catalog Database Service, which confirms the signatures of Windows files; Protected Root Service, which adds and removes Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates from this computer; and Key Service, which helps enroll this computer for certificates Automatic No The associated management services will not function properly. Enable Required if you use the Automatic Updates Windows service; Also used by other Windows services, such as Task Manager.
DCOM Server Process Launcher Provides launch functionality for DCOM services. Automatic No DCOM applications and services will be disrupted. Enable
DHCP Client Allows the system to automatically obtain IP addressing information, WINS server information, routing information, and so forth; is required to update records in Dynamic DNS Automatic Yes The system will be unable to obtain an IP address, WINS information, and the like, from a DHCP server and will need to be configured with a static address. Enable You can disabled this service if you do not use DHCP, but this is a rare situation.
Distributed Link Tracking Client Ensures that shortcuts and OLE links continue to work after the target file is renamed or moved by maintaining links in the file system Automatic Yes Link tracking will be unavailable. Users on other computers won’t be able to track links on this computer. Disable
Distributed Transaction Coordinator Coordinates transactions that span multiple resource managers, such as databases, message queues, and file systems Manual Yes Distributed transactions will not occur. Disable
DNS Client Resolves and caches DNS names, allowing the system to communicate with canonical names rather than strictly by IP address Automatic No The system will be unable to resolve a name and will be able to communicate only via IP address. A client may be unable to communicate with its domain controller. Enable Stopping this service will result in the inability for the computer to resolve names to IP addresses.
Error Reporting Collects, stores, and reports unexpected application crashes to Microsoft Automatic Yes Error Reporting will occur only for kernel faults and some types of user mode faults. Disable
Event Log Allows event log messages to be viewed in Event log to assist in problem resolution Automatic No Administrators won’t be able to view logs, including the security log, increasing the difficulty of diagnosing problems and detecting security breaches. Enable
Extensible Authentication Protocol Service Provides windows clients Extensible Authentication Protocol Service Manual Yes You may experience problems connecting to networks. Disable If you’re using 802.1x or the Wired AutoConfig service, enable this service.
Fast User Switching Compatibility Enables management for applications that require assistance in a multiple user environment Manual Yes Fast User Switching will be unavailable. Disable Doesn’t work in domain environments anyway.
Health Key and Certificate Management Service Manages health certificates and keys (used by NAP) Manual Yes Network Access Protection may not operate correctly. Disable Enable if you use NAP.
Help and Support Enables Help and Support Center to run on this computer Automatic Yes The Help and Support Center will be unavailable. Enable
HTTP SSL This service implements the secure hypertext transfer protocol (HTTPS) for the HTTP service Manual Yes Certain Windows Media functions may fail. Disable
HID Input Enables generic input access to Human Interface Devices (HID), which activates and maintains the use of predefined hot buttons on keyboards, remote controls, and other multimedia devices Disabled Maybe Hot buttons controlled by this service will no longer function. Disable Required for some “hot buttons” on newer keyboards. Can be safely enabled if these buttons don’t work with this service disabled.
IMAPI CD-Burning COM Manages CD recording using Image Mastering Applications Programming Interface (IMAPI) Manual Maybe This computer will be unable to record CDs. Enable This service can be disabled if you don’t have a CD-RW drive in your system.
Indexing Service Indexes contents and properties of files on local and remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language Manual Yes Files will not be indexed. Indexing can speed searching. Disable
IPSEC services Provides end-to-end security between clients and servers on TCP/IP networks Automatic Maybe TCP/IP security between clients and servers on the network will be impaired. Disable If you connect over an IPSec secured connection, don’t disable this service.
Logical Disk Manager Waits for new drives to be added and passes required information to the LDM administrative service; required to ensure dynamic disk information is up to date Automatic Yes New disks will not be detected by the system. Enable Leaving this service enabled makes it easy to add new drives to the system. In a very high security environment, this should not be allowed.
Logical Disk Manager Administrative Starts and allows configuration to take place when a new drive is detected or a partition/drive is configured Manual Yes None; runs only when needed. N/A Started by the Logical Disk Manager service only when needed. Do not disable if you have the Logical Disk Manager Service enabled.
Messenger Transmits net send and Alerter service messages between clients and servers. This service is not related to Windows Messenger Disabled Yes Alerter messages will not be transmitted. Disable
Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider Manages software-based volume shadow copies taken by the Volume Shadow Copy service Manual Yes Software-based volume shadow copies cannot be managed. Disable Leave set at Manual if you intend to use Windows Backup.
Net Logon Supports pass-through authentication of account logon events for computers in a domain. Automatic Maybe For a home network, no use.  For a domain environment, used for authentication. Disable (workgroup)
Enable (domain)
NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing Enables an authorized user to access this computer remotely by using NetMeeting over a corporate intranet Manual Yes Remote desktop sharing will be unavailable. Disable If you use NetMeeting, don’t disable this service.
Network Access Protection Agent Allows windows clients to participate in Network Access Protection Manual Yes Your Windows XP machine will not be able to use NAP services. Disable If your network uses Network Access Protection, enable this service.
Network Connections Manages the network and dial-up connections for the server, including network status notification and configuration Manual No Network configuration will not be possible; new connections can’t be created and services that need network information may fail. Enable
Network DDE Provides network transport and security for Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) for programs running on the same computer or on different computers Disabled Yes DDE transport and security will be unavailable. Disable
Network DDE DSDM Manages Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) network shares Disabled Yes DDE network shares will be unavailable. Disable
Network Location Awareness (NLA) Responsible for collecting and storing network configuration and location information and notifying applications when this information changes. For example, as you make the move from the local coffee shop’s wireless network back home to your wired docking station, NLA makes sure that applications are aware of the change. Manual No Services such as the Internet Connection Firewall will not operate Enable Enable if this computer has Internet Connection Sharing enabled or if you are using the Internet Connection Firewall.
Network Provisioning Service Manages XML configuration files on a domain basis for automatic network provisioning. Manual Maybe You may experience problems connecting to networks. Disable (workgroup)
Enable (domain)
NT LM Security Support Provider Allows users to log on to the network using NTLM Manual Maybe Users with versions of Windows prior to Windows 2000 will be unable to log in to the network. Disable Enable this service if this computer needs to log on to pre-Windows 2000 computers or domains
Performance Logs and Alerts Collects performance data for the computer or other computers and writes it to a log or displays it on the screen Manual Yes Performance information will no longer be logged or displayed. Disable
Plug and Play Allows an administrator to add hardware to a server and have the server automatically detect and configure it Automatic No The system will be unstable and incapable of detecting hardware changes. Enable
Portable Media Serial Number Service Retrieves the serial number of any portable media player connected to this computer Manual Yes Protected content might not be downloaded to the device. Disable
Print Spooler Manages all local and network print queues and controls all printing jobs Automatic Maybe Printing on the local machine will be unavailable. Enable It’s not recommended to disable this service.  Save yourself the hassle.
Protected Storage Protects sensitive information such as private keys from exposure except to allowed persons and services Automatic Yes Protected information will be inaccessible. Enable
QoS RSVP Provides network signaling and local, traffic-control, set-up functionality for (Quality of Service) QoS-aware programs and control applets Manual Yes QoS aware applications with either not function, or will not have their complete functionality. Disable Enable this service if you use QoS aware applications.
Remote Access Auto Connection Manager Detects unsuccessful attempts to connect to a remote network or computer and provides alternative methods for connection Manual Yes Users will need to manually connect to other systems. Enable
Remote Access Connection Manager Manages dial-up and virtual private network (VPN) connections from this computer to the Internet or other remote networks Manual Maybe The operating system may not function properly. Enable This service is run on demand by the Remote Access Manager
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager Manages and controls Remote Assistance Manual Yes Remote Assistance will be unavailable. Disable
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Allows processes to communicate internally and across the network with each other Automatic No The system will not boot. Don’t disable this service. Enable
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator Provides RPC name services similar to DNS services for IP Manual No Systems that are running third-party utilities looking for RPC information will be unable to find it. OS components do not use this service, but programs such as Exchange do. Enable
Registry Provides a mechanism to remotely manage the system registry Automatic Maybe Remote systems will be unable to connect to the local registry. Hfnetchk uses this mechanism. Disabling it can affect the patch utility’s operation. Disable Some programs require this functionality in order to operate.
Removable Storage Manages and catalogs removable media and operates automated removable media devices Manual Yes Programs that are dependent on Removable Storage, such as Backup and Remote Storage, will operate more slowly. Enable
Routing and Remote Access Enables multiprotocol LAN-to-LAN, LAN-to-WAN, virtual private network (VPN), and network address translation (NAT) routing services for clients and servers on this network Disabled Yes Routing and Remote Access services will be unavailable. Disable Better yet, don’t install this service at all.
Secondary Logon Enables starting processes under alternate credentials. If this service is stopped, this type of logon access will be unavailable Automatic Yes Users will be unable to use the “Run As” feature to elevate privileges. Disable
Security Accounts Manager Stores account information for local security accounts, which, when started, allows other services to access the SAM Automatic Yes Services that rely on requests to the SAM database will not function properly. Group Policy objects may not operate properly. Enable If you use don’t use DHCP to obtain an IP address, this service can be disabled.
Security Center Monitors system security settings and configurations. Automatic No Your system will not be able to monitor updates, firewall status and virus checking status. Enable
Server Allows the sharing of local resources such as files and printers, as well as named pipe communication Automatic Yes Resources can’t be shared, RPC requests will be denied, and named pipe communication will fail. Disable This service must be enabled on Windows XP computers that share files or printers.
Shell Hardware Detection Provides notifications for AutoPlay hardware events Automatic Yes CD-ROMs and other devices will not automatically function. Enable Much easier to leave this enabled, and not
Smart Card Manages access to smart cards read by this computer Manual Yes This computer will be unable to read smart cards. Disable If you’re using a smart card reader, enable this service.
SSDP Discovery Used to locate UPnP devices on your home network. Used in conjunction with Universal Plug and Play Device Host, it detects and configures UPnP devices on your home network Manual Yes Your computer will be unable to located uPnP devices on the network. Disable
System Event Notification Required to record entries in the event logs; notifies COM+ subscribers about logon and power-related events Automatic Yes Certain notifications will no longer work. For example, synchronization won’t work, as it depends on connectivity information and Network Connect/Disconnect and Logon/Logoff notifications. Disable Leave enabled for laptops to that power notifications are passed to the user.
System Restore Performs system restore functions, including saving periodic checkpoints Automatic Yes Automatic system restoration will not be possible. Disable While this service does use up some system resources, it can be invaluable for stand alone machines, particularly when a software install goes bad.
Task Scheduler Enables a user to configure and schedule automated tasks on this computer Automatic Yes Tasks will not be run at their scheduled times. Disable
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Required for software distribution in a Group Policy (may be used to distribute patches) and provides support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP and NetBIOS name lookups Automatic Yes NetBIOS over TCP/IP clients including Netlogon and Messenger might stop responding. Disabling may also affect the ability to share resources. Disable For small networks, this service may be essential if you share files with others. For larger networks with central file servers, keep disabled on desktops.
Telephony Provides Telephony API (TAPI) support for clients using programs that control telephony devices and IP-based voice connections Manual Yes The function of all dependent programs will be impaired. Disable Only needed for modem/fax modem use.
Telnet Enables a remote user to log on to this computer and run programs; supports various TCP/IP Telnet clients, including UNIX- and Windows-based computers Disabled Yes Remote user access to programs might be unavailable. Disable
Terminal Services Allows users to connect interactively to a remote computer; Remote Desktop, Fast User Switching, Remote Assistance, and Terminal Server depend on this service. Automatic Yes May make your computer unreliable. To prevent remote use of this computer, clear the check boxes in the Remote tab of the System properties control panel item. Disable
Themes Provides user experience theme management Automatic Yes Themes cannot be used. Disable
Uninterruptible Power Supply Manages an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to the computer Manual Yes The UPS cannot communicate with the computer. Disable
Universal Plug and Play Device Host Used in conjunction with SSDP Discovery Service, it detects and configures UPnP devices on your home network Manual Yes Your computer will be unable to located uPnP devices on the network. Disable
Volume Shadow Copy Manages and implements volume shadow copies used for backup and other purposes Manual Yes Shadow copies will be unavailable for backup and the backup may fail. Disable Enable this service if you use Windows Backup on this desktop.
WebClient Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files Automatic Yes These functions will not be available. Disable
Windows Audio Manages audio devices for Windows-based programs Automatic Yes Audio devices and effects will not function properly. Enable Even though it can be disabled, without this service, you will get no sound.
Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network. Automatic Yes Networking services such as Internet sharing, name resolution, addressing and/or intrusion prevention will be unavailable. Enable If you share your Internet connection, you must enable this service.
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) Provides image acquisition services for scanners and cameras Manual Yes Programs that require images, such as Windows Movie Maker, won’t function properly. Enable This service is required for some scanners and cameras. If you don’t have a scanner or a camera, you can disable this service.
Windows Installer Adds, modifies, and removes applications provided as a Windows Installer (*.msi) package Manual Yes People can install no programs, or make use of Add/Remove programs. Enable
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Provides system management information; required to implement performance alerts using Performance Logs and Alerts Automatic No System management and performance information will be unavailable. Enable
Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions Monitors all drivers and event trace providers that are configured to publish Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or event trace information Manual Yes Provides systems management information to and from drivers. Enable
Windows Time Uses NTP to keep computers in the domain synchronized Automatic Yes Time synchronization won’t take place. Enable
Wired AutoConfig This service performs IEEE 802.1X authentication on Ethernet interfaces Manual Yes This service performs IEEE 802.1X authentication on Ethernet interfaces Disable If your network uses 802.1x authentication, do not disable this service.
Wireless Zero Configuration Automatically configured WiFi (802.11) network adapters Automatic Yes You will have to manually configure wireless networking. Disable Enable this service if you’re using wireless networking.
WMI Performance Adapter Provides performance library information from Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) providers to clients on the network Manual Yes This service runs only when Performance Data Helper is activated. Enable
Provides network connections and communications using the Microsoft Network services
Automatic Yes The computer will be unable to connect to remote Microsoft Network resources. Enable


Kuttus is an IT professional and a part time blogger. He has started the 123seminarsonly to write his findings gained in daily work life. Kuttus writes articles which are mostly related to technology and Virus Removal. He has been interested in virus and Malware removal. He is working as a remote virus removal technician from the last 7 year.

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