Most of you know by now that one of the ways to keep your shutdown and startup times faster is by preventing unnecessary programs from starting with Windows. You don’t need things like printer monitoring software, chat programs, image editors/viewers, browsers, Adobe reader, email programs, etc. starting up with Windows. The more programs you have starting with Windows the longer it will take to boot up. And since what starts with Windows runs with Windows, the more memory will be used during your Windows session and the slower your computer will shut down.
But there are other things starting with Windows besides those startup programs you all know about. There are also a lot of services starting with Windows. Services are programs too, but they’re a little different in that they run in the background and provide services necessary for other programs — including Windows — to run. But you can really get yourself in trouble if you disable the wrong services. So we urge you to research any service you’re contemplating disabling. And never shut down a Windows service unless you are 110% sure what you are doing. Still, controlling the number of services which start with Windows is a good way to speed up your startup and shutdown as well as to enhance your Windows computer’s performance.
First, to see what services are running in Windows, hold down the Windows Key, press the “R” key to bring up the Run dialog. In the Run dialog type services.msc and press Enter. You’ll see a dialog appear that looks like this:
Every service running on your computer is shown in this dialog in alphabetical order (by default). The screen cap above was taken on a Windows 7 computer. Clicking on any of the services gives you more info in the left pane, while double-clicking on a service brings up a dialog like the one you see below:
The service shown in the picture above is Bonjour Service. It’s an Apple Software service that is necessary if you have iTunes, iPad or iPod software installed. Since I have none of these installed, I know I can safely disable it. Which I’ve done. I could have also selected “Automatic (Delayed Start)” which means the service would start only after Windows has booted up — and not during the boot process. But since I don’t need Bonjour service, I disabled it. By the way, the Automatic (Delayed Start) option is available in Vista and Windows 7, but not in XP.
Automatic means there service starts with Windows and runs all the time during your Windows session. Manual means the service starts as needed – for instance you open a program that requires a service, and opening the programs starts the service – unless you open the program the service does not run. “Disabled” means it never runs. So if you disable a service required by a program, that program won’t run correctly; if you disable a service required by Windows, you could have big problems.
You can shave quite a bit of time off your startup and shutdown times by disabling or setting services to Manual or Automatic (Delayed Start). You can also really mess up your computer if you disable services or set to “Manual” services that need to be running – especially Windows services.
You can also fix some computer problems by stopping and disabling services which are causing you problems – for instance you get continual error messages that such and such a service has failed to start.
Before you start dabbling with Services make sure you do your homework. Never disable a service or set a service to Manual unless you’re sure what that service does and you’re sure that changing its status isn’t going to harm your computer or cause you big problems.
Whatever you do – make sure you do your homework before disabling any service. Use the “Manual” setting only for services you are sure do not need to be running.