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WinXP Tweaking: From Reformat to Relax - MSConfig & Services

You've just reformatted your hard drive and are installing Windows XP. You may be new to XP, or you may be a veteran and system slowdowns, instability or problems have lead you to reinstall. Now comes the installation of all the applications and games. Then all the drivers. Finally, there's the dreaded job of going through all the settings and tweaks all over again to optimise your system. Welcome to what we are certain is the most comprehensive collection of tweaks collected and published on the Internet today in this walkthrough style tweaking guide for Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, do not miss what Koroush "PersianImmortal" Ghazi has served up for us!

By: | Guides | Posted: Jul 26, 2002 4:00 am



To access: Start>Run>MSConfig or search for and run msconfig.exe





Initially set to Normal Startup, if you make any changes to the items under Services or Startup, this may show Selective Startup. If you're having system problems, use the Diagnostic Startup.




Leave at default settings.




Leave at default settings.




Untick all the options under Boot Options, as well as those under Advanced Options. The timeout setting should be set to 0 seconds for fastest bootup. It can't be set below 3 seconds in MSConfig, so see the System section for details on how to edit it to equal 0.




Select "Hide All Microsoft Services" and then untick all the resulting services that are displayed. You shouldn't need any of these unless you're certain that you do. You can always re-enable them should one of your devices not function properly. It is not recommended that you disable services in this way however, so see the Services section below for more details.




Shows all the programs which load into system memory upon booting your system. Some of these programs can be found in your Start>All Programs>Startup folder, some will display in the Systray unless you've chosen "Hide Inactive Icons" (See Taskbar and Start Menu above), some are there by stealth. In truth you don't need any of these. WinXP can start and operate 100% without any startup items. For a full list of common startup items and what they do, see this guide or this one. Untick as many of these items as possible. Ideally you should check the options/preferences in each program to make sure they aren't loading at startup, and for those which don't have an option to remove themselves from startup, use the Registry Editor to remove them - see Registry Editor section for details. Programs which load at startup take up memory and often cause conflicts while running in the background, especially virus scanners.




To access: Start>Run>services.msc or Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Services



To save space here I've only listed the services I recommend to be set as Disabled or Automatic. The remaining Microsoft Services not listed below should be set to Manual. If unsure, set a service to Manual rather than Automatic or Disable. The settings recommended here are safe for almost all systems, allowing all the common WinXP functions to work. Make sure to read the BlackViper Services Guide to find out more and better customize services to suit your system setup.


IMPORTANT UPDATE - These service recommendations may no longer be valid if you are using WindowsXP SP2. Please refer to BlackViper's Services Guide for updated recommendations. Using the recommendations below may result in problems with various games and applications in Windows.




Cryptographic Services


DHCP Client


DNS Client


Event Log


Plug and Play


Protected Storage


Remote Access Connection Manager


Remote Procedure Call (RPC)


Security Accounts Manager


Shell Hardware Detection


System Event Notification


Task Scheduler






Windows Audio


Windows Management Instrumentation


Windows Time






Automatic Updates (manually update regularly using Windows Update)




Error Reporting Service


Fast User Switching Compatibility


Help and Support


Human Device Interface Access


IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service


Indexing Service


IPSEC Services




NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing


Network DDE


Network DDE DSM


Performance Logs and Alerts


Portable Media Serial Number


Print Spooler (Set to Automatic if you have a printer)




Remote Desktop Help Session Manager


Remote Registry


Routing and Remote Access


Secondary Logon


Smart Card


Smart Card Helper






Terminal Services


Uninterruptible Power Supply


Upload Manager


Volume Shadow Copy




Wireless Zero Configuration


WMI Performance Adapter


Remember, the Microsoft services not listed above should be set to Manual. Once again, if you have any doubts or questions about what each service does, make sure you read the BlackViper Services Guide for more information.


How much to upgrade to x64 Edition?


Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (ZAT00008) for PC


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