Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Windows 7 Optimization – Remove Unnecessary System Services Part I

Just like the network services portion of the OS, the systems services area includes a significant number of items that are likely not being used and are just robbing CPU and memory resources from the user community. In today's article, we will cover the 1st half of these services that can likely be turned off and disabled in your environment with little or no effect on the user community.

Application Experience

This service is essentially a database of 3rd party apps that Microsoft maintains to automatically apply proper settings to get well known programs with issues to run without user intervention (running in compatibility mode). If your environment doesn't include any apps that need to be run in compatibility mode, then this service is simply consuming resources and there is little risk to disabling it. If you have only one or two apps that need to run in compatibility mode, then you may still be able to disable it by manually specifying the compatibility mode parameters for those apps. If your environment houses more applications requiring compatibility mode than that, this service should probably be left running in your environment.

Desktop Windows Manager Session Manager

This service controls the Desktop Window Manager (DWM), which is responsible for Aero (transparent windows, etc). Without this service, you won't have the Aero effects. DWM consumes a fair amount of RAM which increases with each window you have open. While these visual effects are cool, are we really getting the value out of our machines by consuming our system resources this way and potentially forcing our "real" apps to be paging for memory?
Given some individual's propensity for choosing "form over function", I would strongly recommend against disabling this service by any sort of policy, either local or domain. It will simply lead to a confrontation down the road that isn't worth arguing over.

Diagnostic Policy Service

The Diagnostic Policy Service enables dynamic problem detection, troubleshooting and resolution for Windows components. If this service is stopped, diagnostics will no longer function. This is one of the services that I am always torn as to whether it should be left on or not. I usually disable it in the system image and then simply re-enable it on higher-end machines and on an as needed basis for lower-end machines.
I would recommend leaving this service enabled for all of the machines that are in your "QA" pool where you test system patches, etc. This service is usually quicker at finding problems on the system than we are.

Distributed Link Tracking Client

This service maintains links with NTFS files within your computer or across a domain. For example, you could make a file on "Computer A." You then create a "short cut" or "link" to that file on "Computer B." If you then move the file on Computer A to a different location, this service would tell Computer B to update its information to allow uninterrupted connectivity. Even though this is functionality sounds appealing, I have not found it terribly useful in a production environment. The user communities I have worked with simply don't maintain local shortcuts to all of their work files the way that this service expects them to. Additionally, there are usually only 3 reasons why a file or folder gets moved in the 1st place and this really only "helps" the situation in one of the 3.
Situation leading to file/folder moveResults
Server Swap-outIn my testing, the only time this service was able to help was when the folder was a part of a DFS hierarchy. I have been unable to get this service to update shortcuts that move to a new server. (Which is kind of expected, when you think about it)
Misfiled DataWhile the service does update the links in this situation, the individual who misfiled the data in the first place never hears that the file or folder was moved or why. This then leads to larger, non-technical problems in the future.
Accidental Folder MoveSo who of us have not gotten the call that a whole folder structure has come up "missing"? Only to find (after some digging) that it has been dragged into an adjacent folder. In this situation, the updated shortcuts may actually shorten the discovery portion of this problem.

IP helper

This service provides tunnel connectivity using IPv6 transition technologies (IPv6toIPv4, ISATAP, Port Proxy, and Teredo), and IP-HTTPS. If this service is stopped, the computer will not have the enhanced connectivity benefits that these technologies offer. Bottom line on this one is that unless you are running IPv6 in your environment, there is no need for this service.
That's it for today, we will pick it up tomorrow with more services that can likely be turned off to provide more resources to the user.

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