When you go to the Control Panel or access services.msc via Run in the Windows button, you will see that the list of administrative services in the left column shows the name behind it followed by a description. The description could give you clues if a Windows service is essential or can be safely disabled.
The “Status” column, on the other hand, indicates whether the service is currently running, and the “Startup Type.” The latter specifies how and whether the service is running — manual, automatic or disabled. When you double click on a service, it opens a properties window. From here, you can change the startup type of the service by going to the “General” menu. Here are the options provided:
Automatic: The service starts when Windows starts up. In the services management, these services are under “Started” status.
Automatic (Delayed Start): From Vista onwards, Windows can run services that are not necessary for startup, shortly after booting up. By default, Windows Update, the Background Intelligent Transfer Service, and the Windows Media Center belong to this category.
Manual: The service does not start automatically, but Windows is able to start the service without user intervention if it is required by another service or program.
Disabled: This service is never started, not even when it is necessary to the functioning of the Windows system and is requested by a program or other services.
A List of Services You May Want to Disable
Adaptive Brightness: This service adjusts the screen brightness by using a sensor like in Windows 8 tablets. If your PC doesn’t have a sensor, the service is unnecessary and can be disabled.
Bluetooth Support Service: This important when connecting to Bluetooth devices. If you don’t need the function since you are not going to connect to any Bluetooth device, you can disable the service completely.
Diagnostic Policy Service: This provides diagnostic functions in the absence of network connectivity and when you are experiencing network problems. By the way, these diagnostic functions are rarely useful in my opinion. It’s best to set this to “Manual”.
Portable Device Enumerator Service: This allows you to set group policies for devices such as USB flash drives and allows the identification of MP3 players for programs such as Windows Media Player. The service can be set to “Manual”.
Fax: As the name implies, this provides faxing capability. You can disable it and set it to “Manual” later when the PC needs to receive or send faxes.
IP Forum: This enables the use of IPv6 through IPv4 connections. For network connections without IPv6, the service can simply be deactivated.
Offline Files: This service keeps a file cache for offline files up to date and can be disabled if you don’t want to cache any files from the network.
Program Compatibility Assistant Service: If you are using an incompatible program that’s meant to be used in an older version of Windows, this service helps in solving startup problems. But if all programs can run without this service’s help, set the startup type as “Disabled.”
Remote Registry: Provides an interface for connecting to the regedit.exe of other computers in the network. This is unnecessary on standalone PCs and can be disabled.
Routing And Remote Access: If other PCs on the network to use the Internet Connection Sharing, you need this service. Otherwise, it should be set to “Manual.”
Security Center: This provides warnings and instructions on security settings for firewall, antivirus and Windows updates in the system tray. Advanced users like to disable the service because the messages are redundant.
SSDP Discovery: This is used for finding UPnP devices on the network, such as Xbox games console via the Simple Service Discovery Protocol. If you, however, access and use only traditional network devices, you can disable the service.
SuperFetch: This optimizes the load time of frequently used programs by a dynamically sized memory cache. If you are using an SSD, you can disable this.
Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service: The “streaming media” in Windows Media Player needs this service. If you don’t stream media on your PC or you don’t use the player often, you can disable the service.
Windows Search: This updates the necessary files for Windows search index for faster searches in the background. Like SuperFetch, this can be disabled when using an SSD.
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA): This is required if you are using scanners and cameras. But if you’re not, setting the startup type to “Manual” is totally okay.