Having a slow computer is what most Windows users lament. Sometimes it’s just a matter of outdated hardware and a few bucks for a new motherboard or an extra GB of RAM will do. But most of the time it’s your Windows becoming a hog and slowing your productivity down. What can you do to increase computer speed in such situations? Before you start formatting your PC for the nth time, read how to fix a slow computer.
Photo credit: BBspot
Windows PCs have a long tradition of not managing well long and uninterrupted use across different applications, and also having a slew of background services running at all times inside your PC RAM which are actually completely unneeded.
Your computer is indeed filled with hidden functions and services whose existence you may barely know.
Most of the times, such a large number of unnecessary background services running is one of the main causes that slow down your computer to a crawl without any valid reason.
You probably have heard people telling you that you can speed up your computer by stopping these unnecessary Windows services. This makes perfect sense. Why on Earth would you need a service controlling your printer 24/7 or network capabilities enabled if you have only one computer running?
It’s a better idea then to roll up your sleeves and get rid of all those unwanted Windows services. Anyway, the reality turns out to be quite different when you get into business, as you don’t know exactly what you can safely turn off without doing harm to your computer.
You are scared that by disabling this and that you will damage your machine for good and maybe lose all the data stored on your computer.
You can stop worrying now.
Here, thanks to Harsh J Chouraria, aka Qwerty Maniac, who generously contributed his research work, is an effective guide to help you identify those popular unneeded Windows services that you can safely shut down and regain some speed in your PC.
But not only.
To make your optimization job even more effective, in this MasterNewMedia guide you will also find a list of relevant articles and videos that share valuable tips to speed up your PC once and for all.
Slow Computer: How To Increase Computer Speed
Important Notes Before You Start
- To enter service manager and enable / disable Windows services, go to:
Start > Run > Type “services.msc” (without quotes) and hit Enter
- To toggle the startup type of a service between Automatic, Manual and Disabled, double-click on the required service and then choose the specific option from the listbox titled “Startup Type” in the “General” tab.
- If you are unsure about a service or for some reason you think it might be useful, leave it alone or turn it to manual instead of disabling it. This will help protect your computer from accidental damage.
- Before playing around with Windows services, it’s very recommended that you backup all your data and exit all other programs you have opened.
- Please remember that completely mastering service management is a task possible only by trial and error.
- There are risks involved in turning down important services, so you are strongly recommended to carefully read the description before attempting to change the startup type of any Windows service.
- Turning off some of the Windows services suggested below might result in an error message if you try to use Automatic Updates via WindowsUpdate.Microsoft.com. To get Automatic Updates back to work, jot down the service the error message suggests you and you should be able to turn these services back on.
Speed Up Computer By Disabling Unnecessary Windows Services
Here is a list of unneeded Windows services that you can turn off to speed up your slow computer:
- AdobeLM Service: Not all computers have this service, still it is useless. Just disable it if you have it running on your machine. (Some readers have pointed out inside the comment section that by disabling this service you may incur startup and registration issues with Adobe software.)
- Alerter: Disable this one if you are not on a network because you will not receive alerts.
- Application Layer Gateway Service: Unless you want to share your Internet connection, turn this off as this service provides support for 3rd party protocol plug-ins for Internet Connection Sharing
- Application Management: Set this to manual.
- Automatic Updates: Disable it if you do not require auto-updating and patching of Windows. It is pretty useless if you use auto-patcher by NeoWin (update: Microsft has ceased the relevant project) to update your Windows OS. Thus, you will save bandwidth.
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service: Disable this if you do not need Automatic Update as well. This is also a potential security threat as it uses idle network bandwidth to transfer data.
- ClipBook: Disable this if you are not on a network, since you do not need to share anything.
- Computer Browser: Disable this too if you are not on a network, as you do not need to browse and monitor connected computers.
- Cryptographic Services: Set this to manual if you are not sure you need it.
- Distributed Link Tracking Client: Disable this service if you have only one computer on a network, or if you do not access other computers.
- Distributed Transaction Service: Set this to manual.
- Error Reporting Service: Disable this service for reporting errors to Microsoft, because they will hardly even reply to you for any error you get. This also saves a lot of bandwidth.
- Fast User Switching Compatibility: Disable it if you have only a single user on your computer, or if you do not use fast user switching feature much. That is, if you completely log off and then allow other users to use your computer, then you do not need this. Note that this service is completely useless for low memory computers.
- FTP Publishing: Disable this if you do not use FTP.
- Help and Support: Set it to manual or turn it off if you do not use the help feature often. You can turn it on again at any time if you need help.
- HTTP SSL: Set it to manual.
- Human Interface Device Access: Turn it off if you do not use hot-keys or remote systems on your computer. Anyway if you use them sometimes, it is better turn it to manual.
- IIS: The Internet Information Services provide the capabilities of a web server for your computer. If you don’t need this option (you likely don’t), turn it off safely.
- IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service: Set this to manual to save memory and time. Do not turn it off if you have a CD writer or a DVD writer attached to your computer.
- Indexing Service: Turn it off, as this uses a lot of CPU. If you are an avid searcher, like a maniac, on your computer, leave it on since it will help you. If you know where your files are and do not use search that often, then disable it for your good.
- InstallDriver Table Manager: Disable it safely.
- Integrated Peripherals: Disable peripherals you do not need like network cards, integrated graphic or sound, etc. Go to “Run” and type “devgmt.msc” (without quotes)
- IP Helper: If you don’t need support for IPv6, safely disable this.
- IPSEC Services: Set this to manual.
- Messenger: This service is not related with Windows Live Messenger. If you don’t want unauthorized access to your PC, disable it.
- Messenger Sharing Folders USN Journal Reader Service: If you do not use Live Messenger 8.0 (or higher) and / or you don’t need sharing folders, you can safely disable this.
- MS Software Shadow Copy Provider: Set this to manual.
- Net Logon: Disable this if you are not on a network.
- NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing: Disable this if you do not use the Remote Desktop feature.
- Network Location Awareness: Safely disable this if you are not under a LAN or if you do not need to share files or hardware connected to your computer (like a printer).
- Network Provisioning Service: Disable this, as it is useless if you are not on a network.
- Network Throttling: Select FFFFFFF to forbid Windows to send packages when accessing web streaming content.
- NT LM Security Support Provider: Disable this, it is useless too.
- NVIDIA Display Driver Service: If you do not use the features of NVIDIA Desktop, this service must be disabled; it is a big hog of memory.
- Office Source Engine: Disable it if you have a MS Office CD handy always, its helpful if your installation goes corrupt
- Offline Files: Disable this if you don’t use offline files.
- Portable Media Serial Number Service: Set it to manual if you connect portable media to your computer, otherwise disable it.
- Print Spooler: Disable it if you do not have a printer connected to your computer.
- Protected Storage: Disable it if you do not allow strangers to sit on your encrypted storage computer.
- QoS RSVP: Unless you’re using QoS-aware programs and control applets, you can safely disable this service.
- Readyboost: If you’re not using this feature on Windows Vista (uses free space on USB drives to speed up your computer), disable this service.
- Remote Access Connection: Disable this if you are not using any dial-up or VPN.
- Remote Desktop Help Session Manager: Disable it if you do not use the Remote Desktop feature for help and support from Microsoft.
- Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator: Set it to manual.
- Remote Registry: Serious security threat if turned on, disable it no matter what.
- Removable Storage: Disable it if you do not use removable storage drives, else turn it to manual.
- Routing and Remote Access: Set it to manual.
- Secondary Logon: Useless feature for most, disable it or turn it manual.
- Security Accounts Manager: Disable it as it is pretty useless unless you use NTFS Encryption.
- Security Center: Damn useless and irritating feature. Disable it.
- Server: Set it to manual or disable it if you are not on network.
- Shell Hardware Detection: Disable this to avoid being asked by AutoPlay if you want to perform an action after a specific input (inserting a CD, connecting an USB peripheral, etc.)
- Smart Card: Disable it if you do not use smart cards on your computer.
- SSDP Discovery Service: Disable it of not on network or don’t have uPnP devices on home networks.
- System Event Notification: If you don’t need to track system events such as Windows logon, network, and power events (most users don’t), disable it.
- System Restore Service: To improve system performance and take the minor risk of not being able to make your computer work like it did yesterday, disable it.
- Tablet PC Input Service: If you don’t have a tablet PC pen, disable it.
- Telnet: Set it to manual if you use this feature, otherwise disable it, especially if you are a home user.
- Terminal Services: Since you are not using Remote Desktop, etc… disable it for good.
- Themes: Themes might be cool, but if you are not into pimping your desktop, you can safely disable this.
- TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper: Set it to manual if on network, otherwise disable it.
- Uninterrupted Power Supply: Disable it if you don’t have a UPS attached to the serial port of your computer.
- Universal Plug and Play Device Host: Set it to manual.
- Upload Manager: If you are not in a local network sharing data (files and / or services), disable it.
- User Privilege Service: Set it to manual.
- Volume Shadow Copy: Disable it if you do not backup your computer using System Restore or Windows Backup.
- Windows Error Reporting Service: Disable this and you will never again be prompted to send an error report to Microsoft when a program crashes.
- Windows Firewall / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS): Disable this if you have another firewall such as Norton or Zone Alarm installed, otherwise let it remain ON for better security.
- Windows Image Acquisition (WIA): If you do not connect / use a camera or scanner with your computer, disable this service, else set it to manual.
- Windows Media Connect: Disable this if you do not use things such as an iPod, etc… for your Windows Media Player.
- Windows Media Connect (WMC) Helper: Disable this if you disabled the one above or if you do not need help from Microsoft.
- Windows Messenger: Disable this if you are not on a network, it uses too much memory and it is a hog. Also, this is likely to become a security threat.
- Windows Time: Disable if not on a synchronized network.
- Wireless Zero Configuration: Disable if not on a wireless network.
- WMI Performance Adapters: Disable it, useless service for basic usage.
- Workstation: Disable if you are not on a network. Or simply, if you are a gamer, just shut this one.