Vista Service Guide: Part 1

Published in Windows Vista Performance Tweaks by Steve Sinchak with 370,586 views

Windows Vista has several new services and features that we do not all need. I have gone through the list of services that are running in Windows Vista and compiled a list of services that you can safely disable. Before I get started, it is necessary to understand how to disable services in Windows Vista. Similar to other version of Windows, you will be using the Services MMC.  Follow the steps below to get started with the Services applet.
  1. Click the Start Button, key in services.msc and hit Enter.
  2. To stop and disable a service, just right click on a service and select Properties.
  3. Then, in the properties box change the Startup type to Disabled and hit OK. The next time that you restart your computer the service will no longer be able to start.

Now that you know the basics of disabling a service, I can begin going over the services that I have found that can be disabled to increase your system performance. Below is a list of services that can be disabled. Some provide value added features, so if you use a feature associated with the service consider if it is really worth the slight performance gain compared to the usefulness of the feature.

Apple Mobile Device - Provides the interface to Apple mobile devices. If you don’t have any apple hardware but use iTunes, then disable this service.

Diagnostic Policy Service - The Diagnostic Policy Service enables problem detection, troubleshooting and resolution for Windows components.  If this service is stopped, diagnostics will no longer function. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Diagnostic System Host - The Diagnostic System Host service enables problem detection, troubleshooting and resolution for Windows components.  If this service is stopped, some diagnostics will no longer function. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Base Filtering Engine - The Base Filtering Engine (BFE) is a service that manages firewall and Internet Protocol security (IPsec) policies and implements user mode filtering. Stopping or disabling the BFE service will significantly reduce the security of the system. It will also result in unpredictable behavior in IPsec management and firewall applications.

Certificate Propagation - Propagates certificates from smart cards.

Computer Browser - Maintains an updated list of computers on the network and supplies this list to computers designated as browsers. If this service is stopped, this list will not be updated or maintained. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Desktop Window Manager Session Manager - Provides Desktop Window Manager startup and maintenance services. Disabling this will kill aero glass.

Function Discovery Provider Host - Host process for Function Discovery providers. Detects devices such as Windows Media Center Extenders on your local network.

Function Discovery Resource Publication - Publishes this computer and resources attached to this computer so they can be discovered over the network.  If this service is stopped, network resources will no longer be published and they will not be discovered by other computers on the network.

Group Policy Client - The service is responsible for applying settings configured by administrators for the computer and users through the Group Policy component. If the service is stopped or disabled, the settings will not be applied and applications and components will not be manageable through Group Policy. Any components or applications that depend on the Group Policy component might not be functional if the service is stopped or disabled.

IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules - The IKEEXT service hosts the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) and Authenticated Internet Protocol (AuthIP) keying modules. These keying modules are used for authentication and key exchange in Internet Protocol security (IPsec). Stopping or disabling the IKEEXT service will disable IKE and AuthIP key exchange with peer computers. IPsec is typically configured to use IKE or AuthIP; therefore, stopping or disabling the IKEEXT service might result in an IPsec failure and might compromise the security of the system. It is strongly recommended that you have the IKEEXT service running.

IP Helper - Provides automatic IPv6 connectivity over an IPv4 network.  If this service is stopped, the machine will only have IPv6 connectivity if it is connected to a native IPv6 network.

Part 2 of the Windows Vista service guide can be found here.

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