Beginners Guides: Understanding and Tweaking Windows XP Services
Learn to use the 'Services' young Jedi,
they are powerful and control much of WindowsXP. Without mastering the
'Services', you'll be forced to run programs in the system tray for all
eternity!! - Version 1.0.1
Windows XP (despite what some people will say) is the fairly excellent
product of many years of operating system evolution and represents one of the
most powerful yet easy to use interfaces around. In fact, Microsoft even
managed to get a couple Linux guru's to admit to this, reportedly. On the
other hand, WinXP is a processor and memory resource hog which often seems
to run much slower than it should based on the work it is doing.
The reason for this occasional slow performance is the
same reason why Microsoft
Windows XP runs considerably slower than Windows 2000 at times, despite being
based off the same basic platform: It's what's going on in the
Every modern operating system needs to run certain processes constantly,
regardless of what other programs and operations are currently active and
regardless of what the user may be doing. These background processes may
be used to detect new hardware, monitor the network for incoming data, or a
variety of other things that require the operating system to pay constant
attention to its surroundings.
In Windows XP, these background processes are called
Services and they will be the topic of this edition of PCSTATS always handy,
never quite printable (we're working on it!), popular Beginner's Guides.
We're going to look at what the WinXP Services are and do,
why they are necessary, which ones should be running on your system and which
ones you can do without.
What's a Service?
A Windows service is an 'always on' application that is constantly running in
the background of your system. These applications are loaded at startup
with an executable file or started when needed, and do not have a user interface
or require a user to run them. They allow Windows XP to perform functions
that require constant management or access without forcing the user to run a
specific program or command.
Services were first introduced in Windows NT, and offer a considerable
advantage over the more 'hard wired' automatic processes of previous Windows
operating systems because they can be easily configured, disabled and even
created by users.
A good example of a service is Windows XP's 'Automatic Update' service.
If you've enabled automatic updating, this service will run constantly in the
background, and periodically connect to Microsoft to look for new updates and
patches. When they are found, the service will either notify you or
automatically download and install the updates, depending on how you set up your