Tweak #10: Don't disable unwanted Windows services.

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by deusexaethera, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's right bitches. :fawk: Here's some food for thought for the "run nothing unless you need it" crowd, copied from http://kadaitcha.cx/performance.html.

    - - -

    Tweak #10: Don't disable unwanted Windows services.

    Does that tweak surprise you? How can doing nothing be considered a performance tweak?

    There are thousands of requests on Internet Web forums and Usenet newsgroups for advice on services that can be disabled, and there are an equal number of Windows-related Websites offering lists of services that can be disabled. So, given that large body of knowledge and apparent expertise in service disabling, you may be surprised to learn that kadaitcha.cx asserts it is potentially foolish, certainly it's counter-productive, and it is technically naive.

    Why is it so? There are four main reasons.

    First, services that are loaded often do not run when they are unused. At worst, an unused service will consume RAM; RAM is cheap, and adding RAM to your machine is one of the best tweaks you can perform anyway. When a service starts up, it tells the Operating System that it needs to be invoked when such and such an event takes place, and the OS dutifully does not invoke the service until such and such an event actually does take place. Thus the service lies dormant until it is invoked by the operating system. Services like the Indexing Service and Perflib (Performance Monitor, see Tweak #11) execute at regular intervals and can be disabled if they are causing performance issues, but there are very few other services in this class. If you need proof of this, just start Task Manager and look at the list of services sitting there, doing nothing other than consuming marginal amounts of RAM.

    Second, disabling services that you feel you do not need now can lead to major problems when you do need a certain disabled service to run. This is especially going to be a problem if you forget that you have disabled particular services and are unaware that you need the service running to use an application. What happens if you disable the Windows Fax and Scan service, then, say some months later, decide to install Microsoft Office, for example, and try to send a fax or scan a document from within Office? It isn't going to work, and unless you immediately remember that you've disabled the Windows Fax and Scan service, you're going to be spending far more time troubleshooting the problem than you will save over the entire life of several computers by disabling it.

    Still with the second reason for not disabling services, some websites, no doubt managed by the technically incompetent in many cases, suggest that the DNS Client Service can be disabled, especially if you have a modem/router that performs DNS services; the idea being, "if the modem/router performs the DNS tasks, why let XP do it?". The fact of the matter is, the Windows DNS Client Service is a cache of IP and Web addresses, so if you disable this service then you disable the cache. Since caches are intended to boost performance, it should be obvious that disabling a cache will reduce performance. If the DNS cache is enabled then your OS already knows the IP address of the site it wants to communicate with, and it can do so directly, without the router needing to look up the host name on a remote name server in order to retrieve the IP address. To put this in simple terms, by disabling the DNS cache in XP, you force your modem/router to lookup the IP address on a name server somewhere in the big-Internet-cloud-in-the-sky before every single connection is made to a site using its name, and this can take up to several seconds, even if you have a high-speed connection.

    Third, any performance gains from disabling services that don't execute unless they're needed anyway will be so insignificant that you will not be able to perceive a performance increase at all. So, if a performance gain cannot be perceived, why bother? To be worthwhile, a performance tweak must have a perceptible performance gain, and the best you can expect from disabling unused services is a few hundred nanoseconds in operating system boot time, which in the scheme of things for today's PCs, is much less than a small fraction of the time it takes to blink.

    Fourth, there are a number of idle-time tasks that must be performed on a regular basis by the OS. The Task Scheduler runs at regular intervals to check if the system is idle, i.e. not being used, and if the machine is idle, the idle-time tasks are executed. It is pointless to disable tasks that only run when the system is not being used.

    So don't disable apparently unused, running services or tasks.
     
  2. Limp_Brisket

    Limp_Brisket New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    48,422
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    I agree with the not disabling services that just sit idle until requested. but there are those services that aren't idle yet are performing tasks that you might not want or need.
     
  3. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    The article does mention that services that run periodically even when you're using the machine are worth disabling. The point is there's no reason to disable absolutely everything you won't need in the next 5 minutes.
     
  4. Limp_Brisket

    Limp_Brisket New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    48,422
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    well the name says "Don't disable unwanted Windows services" so he must be contradicting himself, because that would be an unwanted windows service.
     
  5. whup

    whup I wish you had children and.. so that I could step

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,603
    Likes Received:
    0
    You should feel free to disable whatever services you want to free up system resources and speed up start-up, as long as you know what those services do, and what impact they will have on your system and software if you disable them, otherwise leave them alone.
     
  6. CodeX

    CodeX Guest

    In vista I have disabled:

    indexing service
    readyboost
    tablet PC input
    telephony
    terminal services configuration
    terminal services user mode
    UPnP
    Windows error reporting
    Windows image acquisition
    Windows media center extender
    Windows search (I NEVER use the OS's search)

    Make a good case for why I should keep any of them and Ill re-enable them :p
     
  7. Limp_Brisket

    Limp_Brisket New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    48,422
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    that's another thing to consider. the article specifies RAM as the only drawback of an idle service, but it's also one more service that needs to be started at start-up.
     
  8. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,666
    Likes Received:
    0
    if you have enough memory, then it isn't a problem. if you are running short, which happens at times, then disabling stuff can help.
     
  9. 7960

    7960 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    60,415
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England
    :rofl:

    paraphrased that says "don't disable unused services because people are stupid and you'll forget you did it and will eventually need it.

    :jerkit:
     
  10. crontab

    crontab (uid = 0)

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Messages:
    23,458
    Likes Received:
    12
    RAM usage is not the only drawback of an idle service. Another one is a potential security hole. If the service is not needed, but is running and idle and listening, it can be attacked and opened up.

    Not only on windows, but we disabled all unnecessary services/daemons/kernel modules on all platforms, everywhere. Uninstalled if it's known to not be needed. Except maybe sandboxes...
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    He's not talking about datacenters, he's talking about desktop PCs. Joe Idiot doesn't have enough exposure to the internet for his machine's services to serve as attack points -- he's far more likely to download malware that opens its own backdoor.
     
  12. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    How much less RAM is used as a result? How much faster are your bootups?
     
  13. crontab

    crontab (uid = 0)

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Messages:
    23,458
    Likes Received:
    12
    Methods of making a machine secure applies to all machines in all environments regardless of users. If the user is on the Internet, they are open.

    Disabling unwanted, unused services is best practice across the board. Any notion otherwise is pure ignorance.
     
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's a question of cost vs. benefit. The article is right that most programs that need Windows services aren't considerate enough to tell you when the services they need aren't running, and unless you know what all of the Windows services do in detail, you can end up having to turn services on and off for quite a while before you hit on the magic combination you need to run whatever new program you have.

    Windows XP is on Service Pack 3 now; all of the services that actually pose a security risk for end-users have already been disabled by hotfixes by now. There's nothing left to turn off that will provide any greater security under "normal" circumstances. Obviously servers in datacenters are susceptible to different risks as a result of their fixed public IP addresses and their lack of individual firewalls and their 24/7 operation and their use of third-party web services and so on, none of which apply to Joe Idiot who plays games and surfs porn on his laptop.
     
  15. Limp_Brisket

    Limp_Brisket New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    48,422
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    so you're saying the article should be called "Don't disable unwated Windows services (unless you know what you're doing)"? sounds like we're back to where we started before we saw this article.
     
  16. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,666
    Likes Received:
    0
    lol. yeah. "it is a bad idea to disable services unless you understand why it is a good idea to disable services."
     
  17. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Meh.
     
  18. r00tman

    r00tman Archiver of LOLs

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,989
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto, ON █♣█
    Great read, thanks.
     

Share This Page