Ross Ipsa Loquitur Blog – Gee My PC is SLOWWWW! Maybe I’ll Remove All the “Services”

From the “knows enough to be genuinely dangerous” category of DIY PC tuneups came a post on a Bar listserve I frequent. The poster observed that he/she had just disabled all the “Services” from their Windows system (via editing MSCONFIG or going into Computer Administration via the Control Panel) to improve it’s overall startup time and speed.

My reaction? W – H – O – A     N – E – L – L – Y ! ! !

Disabling all services is NOT a good idea unless you know with absolute certainty what you are disabling. Often programs like anti-malware products and firewalls use several services from different sources, making it much less than obvious what is safe or desirable to disable v. those that will have a crippling effect.

First, periodically run MSCONFIG (Control Panel, Accessories, Command Line and enter it at the “DOS Prompt”) and check what’s loading on bootup (under the Startup tab first and not Services) and look for obviously extraneous things and uncheck them (if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing, don’t monkey around with this and/or create a Restore Point before playing with it – Google “how to create a Restore Point in Windows ____” and insert your Windows version in place of the blank if you don’t know how to make one or look at the links at the end of this post).
Also, if you don’t know what the items in your Startup tab are, google them first to find out if it’s safe to remove them. If you’re not sure, DON’T. This is even more true of Services, unless it’s totally obvious (like removing iTunesHelper if you don’t use iTunes). Much better to err on the side of caution and again CREATE A RESTORE POINT FIRST!
Then do these things regularly and your Windows system will run remarkably better:
  1. Uninstall all those applications you don’t use from your Programs icon in your Control Panel
  2. Empty the Recycle Bin
  3. Run CCleaner (monthly)
  4. Right click on the boot drive letter (C:) in My Computer or Windows Explorer, then Properties, then Disk Cleanup (monthly is a good idea also)
  5. Defrag the hard drive if it’s a traditional hard drive (not an SSD – defragging an SSD can have adetrimental effect on its performance)
  6. Create another Restore Point after you’re done and generally speaking, before you install or update. It’s worth the few moments it take
Remove items from the MSCONFIG (or Computer Administration) Startup tab or Services tab at your own risk. There are safer, better ways to improve system speed. Just a Disk Cleanup and CCleaner alone will usually make a big difference.
Oh, and did I mention creating a RESTORE POINT first???
Links for info on how to create a Restore Point in recent Windows versions:

Then if your DIY efforts have resulted in some version of a mess and you find you need to restore from a Restore Point, here are the corresponding instructions:

And remember, you can not create Restore Points too often, but you can definitely not create them often enough!