Beginners guide to Windows Services
What are Windows services and how do they affect my computer? If you want to find out, this guide will serve you well. In this article we will be taking a look at Windows services. Services are used extensively on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Windows PC’s will usually have dozens of services running right from the moment that the operating system starts up. Just what are services and should we be concerned with them? Hopefully by the time you are done reading this page, you will have a much better understanding of how services affect your Windows PC.
What are Windows services?
Although working with services can feel like configuring some secret part of your PC, in actual fact services are just programs. There are two ways that services usually differ from regular programs. Firstly, services require no user intervention to run. A service wont pop up any windows asking for your input, instead it will simply carry out its tasks silently in the background. Secondly, services are managed by the Services tool in Windows, where they can be enabled and disabled.
Many services are provided by Microsoft. Some services must be started when Windows starts up to enable normal operation of your computer. Other services are installed by third parties when you install their software.
Working with services
You can easily explore which services are running on your PC by starting the Services tool. On windows XP, open the Start Menu and choose “Run”. In the box that now appears, type “services.msc” and click on OK. On Windows Vista and Windows 7, simply search for “Services” on the Start Menu and click on the icon at the top of the list. The Services tool will then start.
Using the Services tool is fairly straightforward. We’ve prepared a video which will explain in detail how to use it, Click here to view it.
Some Windows users advocate disabling certain services to help improve the speed of the computer. While it is true that every program (and therefore every service) that runs on your PC does consume some computing resources, disabling or tweaking services in order to gain improvements in PC performance usually yields very limited results. Normally, disabling several services will have virtually no noticeable impact on PC speeds and may have other unintended consequences, especially if you accidentally disable a service which is critical to Windows. Nevertheless, it can be useful to familiarise yourself with the Services tool especially if you need to troubleshoot a specific problem. When removing software or disabling components you do not require, the Services tool can be useful for detecting third party services which can be safely disabled.
If you still want to try tweaking and modifying services on your Windows machine, you should proceed with caution. Create a system restore point and make a note of which services you change. Remember that services can affect all kinds of things on your operating system so you may not notice any problems until weeks or months later.
Black Viper maintains a list of Windows services and detailed information about which services can be disabled safely. Visit his Windows 8 service guide by clicking here. For Windows 7, click here. For Windows Vista click here and for Windows XP, click here.
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