Are all Windows 7 Services loaded into memory

April 2, 2011 at 02:38:23
Specs: Windows 7
In System Configuration, Services tab, 124 Services are listed.
27 of those services are marked as Running. The rest are Stopped.

Are all of the listed services loaded into memory? If so, is
System Configuration the correct place to permanently prevent
unneeded services from being loaded, or is there some other tool
that should be used instead, such as Task Manager? Does it matter
which is used?

Examples of services I don't want loaded: Bitlocker, Bluetooth,
Smart Card, Remote Desktop Services, Adaptive Brightness, and
Parental Controls.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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April 2, 2011 at 03:08:19
I guess you could do it in msconfig, but I normally use the "Services" part of "Computer Management" to alter the properties of Services. Just change the startup type from "Automatic" to "Manual" or "Disabled". I would recommend "Manual"; that way the system will be able to start the Service if it really needs to. I would be wary of "Disabled" unless you are 100% sure that the Service is unnecessary; you don't want to end up with an unbootable system.

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April 2, 2011 at 06:38:12
Services must be in RAM before they can run. But this isn't an all or nothing thing. When an application or service is started it is not completely loaded into RAM. That is in the nature of a virtual memory OS and is much the same in Linux and Mac OSX. Code is only loaded into RAM as it is need and then retained for further use. How long this code will remain in RAM depends on many factors and is always under system control.

The bottom line is that the RAM usage of services is highly dynamic. If a service is not being used, as would normally be the case with those mentioned, they will end up using very little memory. The memory manager will take memory away from inactive processes and give it to those that actually need it. So disabling an inactive service is actually saving very little memory. Unless your system is desperately short on RAM the net gain in performance will be very small.

Be very careful when disabling services. The descriptions provided in the Services applet in control panel are by no means complete. Many services do things that are not publicly documented anywhere. The service you disable today might be needed by the application you install at a later date. Will you connect the application failure with the service you disabled several months before? Probably not.

The services you mentioned are probably safe to disable. But don't expect to see any noticeable performance improvements. Do not do what some "tweaking guides" recommend: disable a wide variety of system services that you think you don't need. You could end up with a crippled system or one that will not boot.

Incidentally, setting a service to "Manual" is not a safe alternative to disabling it. In this state the system or an application can start it if necessary. But don't expect that this will actually happen. In most cases it will not.

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April 2, 2011 at 08:06:52
Agreed with you last paragraph. But "Manual" is certainly safer than "Disable".

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April 2, 2011 at 12:12:08
msconfig is the normal way to select what boots up. Select what you want.

Very little is needed but a few are critical. See web pages on how to decide.

"The era of big government is over," said Clinton 1996

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