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Does disabling unnecessary Windows services have a positive, noticeable effect on the performance of Windows XP?

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Not necessarily.

Most services sit in the background using a tiny amount of resources until something is requested of them. By disabling unneeded services you will have a bit more available memory, and depending on the service, less CPU usage. Depending on your regular usage habits, you may notice a slight performance improvement. Bottom line is that it depends on which services though, don't randomly go disabling things that you don't think you use, because the ones that are used aren't all apparent to the end user, so you may disable something critical.

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but i found in thousands discussion related to this thing on google, and some on SU. i will get a bit more RAM , is the one and onlt benefit to disable unneeded services? – metal gear solid Jan 1 '10 at 10:49
No, some services will consume a lot of CPU from time to time as well (usually updaters), and depending on what you're doing at the time and how fast your hardware is, this 'hiccup' may be very noticeable. The Indexing service for example is not needed if you don't really care for fast file searching, but it can consume a fair bit of resources when it's in action. Certain updaters can also hog the internet connection, so I set update times manually for my software and let them all run during a certain period. – John T Jan 1 '10 at 10:50

The main one that I feel is actually useful is the Indexing service - I never use the built in find, and it can be quite noticeable on slow machines. Other than that, I wouldn't really bother, unless you know the particular service is taking up lots of RAM/CPU Time.

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how we can know about RAM usage of any running service? – metal gear solid Jan 1 '10 at 10:53
If you want to find what each service is using individually, check out this ServerFault question:… – John T Jan 1 '10 at 10:58

Way back then, when CPU's and RAM's weren't as advanced as today, with only Single Core CPU's and Single Channel RAM's the answer would have been YES.

With today's advanced CPU/RAM technology they are negligible. Because the CPU's/RAM's are so powerful they, if done right and not overdone**, have no impact on the system performance whatsoever.

**By that I mean if you don't have hundreds of processes and unneeded services running idle. Because even when they are idle and doing nothing the CPU has to check them if they do something or not. Having a couple hundreds of them, I imagine, can have an impact on performance.

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I once tried to hand-tune my WinXP services by going through the list and disabling the ones I felt I didn't use. After that the machine start crashing a couple times per day, along with other glitches. It didn't matter that I re-enabled nearly every service there, it was broken until reinstall. Since then I stay clear of "service tuning". They use up next to no resources anyway, except for RAM. And that's cheap today.

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