Further to this morning's discussion about what goes on inside
Windows XP, if you like to tinker (and I do), here are some websites
you might find interesting. If you're not interested in the insides
of Windows, read no further.
Make sure you have everything thoroughly BACKED UP, including the
ability to re-install Windows itself, if necessary. Some of these
programs allow you to screw up your system to the point where Windows
will not start at all, so beware.
In Windows XP (Home or Pro) go to Control Panel, Administrative
You will see there a long list of Windows "Services", some of which
start automatically, some manually, some of which have been started,
some of which are disabled, etc, etc. Getting this far is perfectly
safe. If you are nervous, just close the window and nothing bad will
What you can do in this screen is change the status of most of these
services, possibly to make your system perform more effectively -
ONLY DO THIS WITH GREAT CARE. You can totally destroy your system here.
The descriptions in this window of many of the services are not very
helpful - eg "Provides launch functionality for DCOM services". I
find that 'Googling' the service name often produces multiple,
sometimes conflicting descriptions of what they are and do, but may
nevertheless be helpful.
However, I have found the following sites seem to have a fairly
complete picture of all the services and what they do, with
recommendations about whether or not they can be disabled, or at
least enough information that you can make your own decision. The
third one suggest tinkering is a waste of time, but has a lot of
helpful information anyway. :-) You will likely find services
running in your machine that are on none of these lists - HP put some
on their machines, Dell puts others on theirs and so on, but the
majority are either put there by Microsoft or by one of the user
programs that you have installed.
For those interested in exploring Windows internals further, the
following site has a list of free tools you might find useful:
I have downloaded a couple of them
- One explores all the programs Windows runs automatically, whenever
it starts up - this program "shows you what programs are configured
to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in
the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your
startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. A "Hide Signed
Microsoft Entries" option helps you to zoom in on third-party
auto-starting images that have been added to your system." It can be found at:
- The other looks at processes running under Windows and "will show
you detailed information about a process including its icon,
command-line, full image path, memory statistics, user account,
security attributes, and more. When you zoom in on a particular
process you can list the DLLs it has loaded or the operating system
resource handles it has open. A search capability enables you to
track down a process that has a resource opened, such as a file,
directory or Registry key, or to view the list of processes that have
a DLL loaded." It can be found at:
For those who like to tinker. :-)
1140 Kildonan Pl, SW
Calgary, AB, T2V 4B1
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