What are the minimal services and startup programs for both XP and Vista?

Posted on 2008-10-17
Last Modified: 2011-10-19
I have both XP and Vista machines in my network.  Many of them run slowly.
I would like to find, for both OS's, a list of the minimal Services (both Microsoft and Other) and Startup programs that are required for the Operating System to run.
It would also be nice to know what these services do.  I know I've seen a Web site out there that compiles a list of the common services and describes each of them.  Or maybe it was something I downloaded, I can't remember.
I'll attach something I found at a Microsoft newsgroup which is a good starting point, I think.
Thank you!
Question by:Dwight Baer

Assisted Solution

communitypc earned 100 total points
Comment Utility
If you are going into like msconfig area, you can choose diagnostic startup, and your pc will still boot, but things like internet and networking will not work.    if you just choose the selective startup, and to to start up tab and leave things like printers.  i know there is alot of junk that starts up.  for a reference, just look at the details of the item, if you scroll, it will tell you what program is associated with it.  then you determine if the program is necessary to startup.  for example, music players like to suck up resources and start up when you dont need them, and updaters for programs also.  disable.  effective rule of thumb, do not disable all.  leave about 5
LVL 50

Assisted Solution

jcimarron earned 250 total points
Comment Utility
dwightbaer04--Start up Programs   Start|Run|type MSCONFIG|OK|Startup tab.  WinXP actually needs very few thirdparty programs (the ones you see in msconfig) to run at start. Antivirus, Firewall, Antispyware, programs associated with wireless connections such as mouse, network, etc. would be among the few.  Uncheck the box to the left of any program you feel you do not need at startup.  Click Apply.  This site will help you make decisions what you do and do not need

Disabling Services. This could be dangerous unless you know what you are doing.  The main reason is that some Services depend on others, and some others may depend on it.  Unless you have studied these dependencies, you may delete something needed to run what would seem to be unrelated.  (You can check Dependencies by right clicking on the name of a Service|Properties|Dependency tab.)
See this reference
The Elder Greek used to be very aggressive about disabling services, but you can see from the paragraph in red at the top, he has changed his mind now.
LVL 50

Accepted Solution

jcimarron earned 250 total points
Comment Utility

I offer several other suggestions since they often can contribute to a "slow PC".
1) Have you scanned the PC for viruses, spyware, etc.?  (Be sure to use programs with updated reference definition files.  Delete whatever these programs recommend.  And if you did find such malware, you should also probably install and run HiJackThis.  It may find bits and pieces which were left behind
2) Disk Cleanup. There are several ways to reach it. One is Start|All Programs|Accessories|System Tools|DiskCleanUp. That will start a scan of the PC to tell you what files might be deleted or compressed. (The scan takes a while.)  I would certainly delete Temporary Internet Files, Temp files, Downloaded Program Files and probably Compress Old Files. See for details.
3) Then I would run ErrorChecking. (left click on MyComputer||right click on C:\ drive icon (assuming that is your hard drive)|Tools|Error Checking. Check the box "Automatically fix file system errors". Click Start (within the error checking window). You will be told to reboot. Do so. Error checking will then run as part of the reboot. It can take a while.
4) Run Disk Defragmenter. ((left click on MyComputer||right click on C:\ drive icon (again assuming that is your hard drive)|Tools|Disk Defragmenter|Defrag Now click Analyze) Unless the analysis shows defragmentation is not needed, proceed to run Defragment. That also takes a while.

LVL 32

Assisted Solution

willcomp earned 150 total points
Comment Utility
This may be the site you were thinking about:

jcimarron has some good suggestions. I recommend taking his advice.

One note though --> you can disable all startup items and all non MS services in msconfig without affecting Windows bootup. Some desirable programs and services will not load, but Windows itself will run just fine.

Author Closing Comment

by:Dwight Baer
Comment Utility
The blackviper site is great!  Thanks!

Featured Post

Backup Your Microsoft Windows Server®

Backup all your Microsoft Windows Server – on-premises, in remote locations, in private and hybrid clouds. Your entire Windows Server will be backed up in one easy step with patented, block-level disk imaging. We achieve RTOs (recovery time objectives) as low as 15 seconds.

Join & Write a Comment

Can you find a fax from a vendor you saved a decade ago in seconds? Have you ever cursed your PC under your breath during an audit because you couldn’t find the requested statement or driver history?  If you answered no to the first question or yes …
Sometimes people don't understand why download speed shows differently for Windows than Linux.Specially, this article covers and shows the solution for throughput difference for Windows than a Linux machine. For this, I arranged a test scenario.I…
The Task Scheduler is a powerful tool that is built into Windows. It allows you to schedule tasks (actions) on a recurring basis, such as hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, at log on, at startup, on idle, etc. This video Micro Tutorial is a brief intro…
This video gives you a great overview about bandwidth monitoring with SNMP and WMI with our network monitoring solution PRTG Network Monitor ( If you're looking for how to monitor bandwidth using netflow or packet s…

763 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

9 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now