I have an old laptop and I want to use it only to display my microscope!

Laptop running Windows 7 starter.

What I want to do is to disable all services and only make it run the program of my microscope, so when I start my laptop it will boot into windows but only run a specific program automatically without any other services running in the background even explorer!

  • 6
    What you want is call Kiosk Mode. You should also look at Black Viper’s Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Service Configurations to see what services are safe to disable.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 21:38
  • 2
    Try Linux, Windows is heavy.
    – ferit
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 8:17
  • @Saibot For a Windows program Wine will have to be used, and because of... efficient development techniques it's really hard to ensure compatibility - the Wine developers have done an excellent job but it is a job that is by no means finished.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 12:58
  • @wizzwizz4 assuming portability, of course.
    – ferit
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 13:52
  • @wizzwizz4 if the microscope/interface isn't totally proprietary, there would most probably be Linux software for the task with no need for wine.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 3:12

3 Answers 3


Modify the following registry value to start a program other than Windows Explorer.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\shell

As for the services, use the services.msc.

Warning: You may run into various issues without many of the services running.

  • Okay I disabled most services, and changed explorer to my program, but it doesn't start at the begging, I tried to access file explorer to run my app, it works perfectly without any problem, my only problem now that I must go to task manege to start explorer.exe to access my program! is there any solution for this!?
    – Narzan Q.
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:25
  • Rather than starting explorer.exe, click Browse and navigate to your program.
    – Steven
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:27
  • Sorry I mean I used Browse to navigate to my program, it works but is there any auto solution! i changed shell from explorer.exe to "amp.exe" the name of my app! is that correct or I'm doing something wrong maybe! because I tried to access amp.exe from RUN but that dosnt work!
    – Narzan Q.
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:31
  • 5
    You likely will have to put in the full path, something like:"C:\Program Files\<program company name>\amp.exe"
    – Steven
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:33
  • Wow that's work exactly like what I want :D
    – Narzan Q.
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:39

You cannot disable all services. Many services are critical to the basic functions of your system, including Explorer.

The good news is that the services that CAN be disabled are easy to disable.

Open Services and go to each one in turn and attempt to set its startup state to Disabled.

Restart your computer frequently to make sure the computer loads OK with the new batch of disabled services.

Repeat until you've cleaned everything out that can be cleaned out.

A good resource for determined services that CAN be disabled is BlackViper: http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-vipers-windows-7-service-pack-1-service-configurations/

A lot of careful research and feedback goes into BlackViper, and the advice there can save you lots of effort and pain.

  • 1
    I disagree with sentence You cannot disable all services. Maybe it should sound You should not disable all services. Technically, you can disable all services and if you do that, the UI still works – with all limitations as consequences, but works. If OP's exe will work under these conditions, then fine for him. (Note: I am not fan of disabling all services, this is just a comment discussing the topic.)
    – miroxlav
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 14:54
  • 1
    Explorer isn't a service. Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 16:03
  • @miroxlav, no, you cannot disable all services is the correct statement. There are services that Windows does not, by default, allow you to change the state of or disable. These are not exactly the same on every computer or configuration. But on each Windows computer there will be services that you are blocked from disabling. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 23:52
  • @music2myear – you can easily disable also those blocked services, if you know how. For example, Process Explorer allows immediate access to privilege control of each service. And that is only one step away from disabling it. This is why I wrote that "technically it is possible" and I have seen the computer running with zero services enabled. Fun fact: the user hardly noticed it except the fact his internet connection was not working. :)
    – miroxlav
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 12:00

Most of the services (if not all) can be controlled via value Start under registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<service name> Please note that CurrentControlSet in aforementioned registry key is link to either ControlSet001 or ControlSet002 as described here.

Now the value "Start" can have values from 0 to 4 (sc config for reference):

  • 0 - boot - Specifies a device driver that is loaded by the boot loader.
  • 1 - system - Specifies a device driver that is started during kernel initialization.
  • 2 - auto - Specifies a service that automatically starts each time the computer is restarted and runs even if no one logs on to the computer.
  • 3 - demand (manual) - Specifies a service that must be started manually. This is the default value if start= is not specified.
  • 4 - disabled - Specifies a service that cannot be started. To start a disabled service, change the start type to some other value.

While going to that mad service disabling spree, first check service start value and mark it down, prepare yourself with alternative booting media (any Windows installation media will do) in case system becomes unbootable due to necessary service disabled.

If shit happens, boot from external media, switch to console (shift+F10 IIRC) > regedit > point to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and "load hive" > <systemdrive>:\Windows\System32\config\SYSTEM. Now locate under loaded hive ControlSet001\Services and you can undo previous mistakes with setting Start values to defaults.

Here is a little batch script to list all services "default" (default until modified by user, which then becomes "default") values under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services:

@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
set KEY=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
for /f "tokens=5 delims=\" %%a in ('reg query !KEY! /s /v "start"') do     (
set SERVICE=%%a
for /f "tokens=3" %%b in ('reg query !KEY!\!SERVICE! /v "start" ^| findstr /i "start"') do (
        echo !KEY!\!SERVICE! - "Start" %%d

Paste the above code to defaultservices.bat and run it as defaultservices.bat > defaultservices.txt to generate text file, which can be utilized later to see service default values.


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