Does disabling Windows startup services in the msconfig utility make a noticeable difference in boot time? Also, can you do permanent/irreversible damage to the operating system by disabling core services?

The worst part about getting a new computer is all the bloatware that comes pre-installed. Most of the programs are worthless and just slow the boot time as well as hog RAM.

If a program can't be disabled or uninstalled within the program's settings or by using the "add or remove" programs feature in control panel, the next best option to try and stop a program/service/task from running is to configure the boot options in the msconfig utility.

My question is: Can you do irreversible damage to Windows by disabling the wrong service by using the msconfig utility?

Some entries are intuitive in the sense that the service explicitly reads something like, Google Update Service and you can assume that the entry is not a required for the basic functionality of Windows. However, there are other entries that are either vague, (CNG Key Isolation) or seem to be a critical component of the proper functioning of Windows. (Windows Audio).

How can you determine which services can be excluded from startup? If you aren't sure about killing a service, is there any chance that disabling the wrong service could cause your computer to malfunction irreparably?

Trial and error seems like a bad idea and sometimes you can't find relevant information on Google about some of the services.

Somewhat related post here


permanent irreversible damage? NO

Everything is reversible. However, there are things such as "windows services" that might render windows unable to boot unless you boot into safe-mode to re-enable them. Most likely, the worst you'll do is have basic services turned off that will just make things frustrating.

I know the question here is about Windows 8, but a decent (no longer updated) listing that used to be maintained of almost everything you could encounter is the archived version of pacman's portal.

Best bet is to look up specific items that you are thinking about unticking to see what they are.

  • 1
    Further, it's best to not meddle with Windows services (there's a checkbox that hides them for a reason) unless you absolutely know what they do. – Nathan C May 7 '14 at 1:50
  • thanks... i was looking for a comprehensive list like that... if only it was a "wiki" style webpage where items could be edited/added/removed and the OS could be specified – CheeseConQueso May 7 '14 at 1:57
  • @cheese the list was last updated in 2011, but I don't know of another one, that was the main go-to before. Perhaps there's a new one somewhere for W8 – Raystafarian May 7 '14 at 1:59

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