Enable ONLY the services you want quickly



Troubleshooting windows services has never been easy. In NT4 and Win2k, you had to manually disable them. Starting with win2k you had services.msc, but you still had to manually disable them. WinXP comes with msconfig that let's you easily disable or enable all the xp services, but it has some limitations.

Limitations of msconfig in xp and 2003:

1 - msconfig only filters services by manufacturor (microsoft or other). If you installed a new microsoft service (asp.net, ipv6), msconfig would show it as a microsoft service, making it hard to narrow down what service is causing the problem.

2 - msconfig does not let you enable the same services used by safe mode or safe mode w/ networking. For example, you might have a situation where the computer works fine in safe mode w/ networking, but might not work in a full clean boot (all services disabled). Assuming a new user account (profile) doesn't fix the issue, you would have to manually troubleshoot all 80+ services to find out the bad service.

3 - msconfig does not restore default services startup type, it just disables and enables services. If you play with services there's no way to restore default services type.

4 - Disabling every service at once can cause problems. For example, if you disable the plug and play service, device manager will be blank and you might be forced to reactivate. It would be smarter to enable the safe mode services first, then go from there.

To overcome these limitations, i made an .inf file that will do the following:

1 - Enable ONLY the safe mode services
2 - Enable ONLY the safe mode w/ networking services
3 - Enable ONLY the networking services
4 - Restore the default services startup type

To do this, let's say you wanted to enable ONLY the networking services. First use msconfig to disable all the services, click apply, then close. Do NOT restart. Now right click on services.inf and click install. Now restart. Once you've restarted, the only services started will be the networking services.

With only the networking services started, you can go online with a cable or LAN connection. You probably can't go online with a dial-up modem or DSL, but i haven't tested it.

Let's say you wanted to enable only the safe mode services. Open my services.inf, and edit the defaultinstall section.

For example, if you wanted to enable only safe mode services, edit defaultinstall to this:


If you wanted to enable only safe mode w/ networking services, do this:


During testing i only found one problem. Do NOT use msconfig after you've used my services.inf. If you use msconfig to do something like edit the startup items, you may disable all the services by accident.

To sum up, with my services.inf file, you can for the first time enable only the services you want. No longer do you need to manually go through all 80+ xp services to narrow down a problem. You could also use my inf to enable only the services needed to go online. On a default install of xp, enabling only the networking services saved 11 megs of ram.

NOTE: Once you download services.txt rename it to services.inf.
Note to mods: You should let people upload .inf files.



NTFS Stoner
hey mate, if i wanted to start with no services and just networking, i would use safe mode with networking. ;)

anyway, it's standard to bar none standard extensions. if there not clever enough to change the .txt to .inf, you dont want them downloading it in the 1st place :p

looks good i will be using this if standard troubleshooting fails. thanks. :)

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