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Windows Operating Systems Software

Running Windows With No Services 619

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stripping-the-fat dept.
mattOzan writes "So how many of the almost 4 dozen default-enabled services does Windows XP really need in order to preserve basic functioning, like web surfing and running applications? Zero, as it turns out. Mark Russinovich at Sysinternals demonstrates that if certain steps are followed, Windows XP will still run with only two active processes: System and Csrss.exe. No Smss.exe, Winlogon.exe, Services.exe, Lsass.exe... And, contrary to the expectations of various lead engineers at Microsoft, even Internet Explorer will still work under such conditions."
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Running Windows With No Services

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  • And... (Score:4, Funny)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:08PM (#13189910)
    ...I bet fewer services will mean less servicing, no?
  • No Thanks (Score:5, Informative)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:09PM (#13189921) Homepage
    From the friendly article:

    The bottom line is that this stripped-down Windows configuration is not practical, but makes a cool demonstration of just how little of Windows is required for basic functionality.

    • There will be a delay before Explorer redraws the desktop
    • won't be able to logoff
    • Networking is also crippled
    I don't think this stripped-down Windows provides even the most basic functionality expected by many users nowadays.

    It's like patients are treated as long as their hearts are beating, even though everything else has shut down.

    • Re:No Thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      So, how would Debian stack up with all the init scripts disabled?
    • Re:No Thanks (Score:3, Informative)

      by cnettel (836611)
      It should be no surprise that networking can get quite strange without DNS Client and DHCP Client (among others)...
    • Re:No Thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ryanov (193048) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:15PM (#13189992)
      That may be, but that means if you don't need ANY in order to run windows in this imperfect state, you probably only need a couple to run it in a perfectly passable state.
  • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:09PM (#13189922)
    I would have to wonder what DOESN'T work in this state rather than what DOES.
  • by RandoX (828285) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:10PM (#13189936)
    Hmmm. Define "work"...
  • by dxprog (898953)
    I disabled Themes and Windows Audio and now my productivity is near zero. Who could work without visual styles and music?!
  • Lots of work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nickj6282 (896871) <nickj6282 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:12PM (#13189951)
    Seems like an awful lot of work to kill some services. Personally I think starting in runlevel 3 is much easier, maybe Windows should think about going to a CLI-only interface for some of us uber-geeks out there. That'd gain them some respect in my book.
    • Re:Lots of work (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      Especially since that would all but force them to provide a usable CLI. They have some interesting ideas in Monad [wikipedia.org], why don't they use them?
    • Re:Lots of work (Score:5, Insightful)

      by misleb (129952) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @06:10PM (#13190429)
      What would be the point? By the time you developed all the commandline tools needed to make a CLI in Windows particularly useful (or installed Cygwin, or whatever it is called), you'd just have "unix." And not a very good one at that.

      -matthew
    • Re:Lots of work (Score:4, Interesting)

      by khrtt (701691) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @06:32PM (#13190587)
      Windows 98 used to have "runlevel 3". Worked like this:

      1. Rename krnl386.exe (to whatever)
      2. Copy command.com to krnl386.exe

      The thing would boot to command prompt with all the VxDs loaded and the VM fully functional -- pretty cool, if you have a use for such a beastie.
  • by xor.pt (882444) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:12PM (#13189952)
    As long as we can get BSODs, windows basic funtionality is assured.
  • I hope that message wasn't indicative of what happens when you try not to run any Windows services...

    Anywho, of course most of the services aren't needed at all times, but if they aren't turned on by default, a lot of extraneous apps that expect them will either not install or not work correctly. Hence, they are turned on. Are not most services blazing along on Linux by default to the glee of OpenBSD booster?

    Alright then. Don't want em, kill em. It's easy, but the average user would have to read up and
  • by I.M.Anonymous (864905) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:13PM (#13189966)
    I wonder how this well XP will run on qemu with all of those services turned off? There is very little I need from windows and I wonder if this would help with those final annoying things I need from windows at home.
  • by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:13PM (#13189974) Homepage Journal
    Obviously the final result, a dubiously functional installation is not really groundbreaking for end-users, but there's much to be said for turning off the many services that ship enabled as default with Windows XP to gain both the performance and security benefits. Knowing whats running, what it's doing, and whether its really neccessary is a good step towards maintaining a system which has a low attack profile and is reasonably secure.
  • by jarich (733129) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:14PM (#13189977) Homepage Journal
    In The Olden Days, you could install a Linux disto without 10,000 daemons running... ah, those were the days... Linux was noticably faster than Windows out of the box! ;)
    • You still can. Like with Windows XP, it's a matter of 'what can you do without?' Only with Linux, killing all the daemons won't keep you from logging off or shutting down... :)
    • You're the guy who tried to kill the kernel idle daemon, because it was eating 90% of his
      CPU time.
    • by typical (886006) on Friday July 29, 2005 @01:39AM (#13192582) Journal
      The daemons are not what is slowing you down, unless they're polling.

      Most of what the perceptual slowness is in Linux comes from a couple things.

      * Inefficient GUI software. GNOME 2 software simply starts up and runs more slowly than GNOME 1 software.

      * Heavyweight desktop managers and similar programs. I use sawfish, have a copy of gkrellm running, and use xbindkeys to launch all my programs Most of what I have open at any one time are Firefox windows, xterms (not the far slower gnome-terminals), and xemacs windows. These are all interactive programs, but things are much snappier when running these than when running the GNOME or KDE suites.

      * Use accelerated drivers. There aren't that many that have RENDER acceleration, for example, and without that, all the antialised character blits to the screen are unaccelerated -- one reason why the antialiasing in GTK/GNOME 2 "felt" so slow. I use a Radeon 9250/128 bit data path and have no problems.

      For all that, there's still a few things I'd like to point out.

      * As a kernel, Linux *is* generally faster than Windows. You might be using slower userspace software, though.

      * In The Olden Days, Linux distros tended to have an awful lot more daemons running out of box -- my Red Hat 5.2 box, IIRC, ran fingerd, ftp, ssh, telnet, and I think even a web server by default. There might be more -- talk might have been in there as well.

      * Linux does a pretty good job of paging. If a daemon isn't doing anything, it isn't going to be consuming your resources.
      • Exactly (Score:3, Informative)

        by Moraelin (679338)
        Yep, I wholeheartedly aggree with your whole message.

        Once Linux started shipping on CD's, as opposed to the early stack-o-floppies installs, the first reaction was to install and activate everything they could possibly download and pack on that CD.

        (And I suppose the fact that at the time the flamewar was "but my Linux system gives me more free stuff than your Windows comes with", also didn't help the cause. Everyone just _had_ to pack 5 web servers and 20 IRC clients on a CD, and offer to install them by de
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:14PM (#13189983) Homepage Journal
    So wait a minute...

    Are they saying that, even without all that crap that normally get started...it still crashes?

    Or is that not what they mean when they say Windows works?
  • by ibn_khaldun (814417) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:15PM (#13189996)
    Anyone know what a similar exercise looks like for Mac OS-10.4? It is not, shall we say, exactly a speed demon and it would be nice to know what could be safely turned off when one is running CPU-intensive processes. Thanks.
    • Easy (Score:3, Informative)

      by caveat (26803)
      At the login window, enter ">console" for the user, no password. Then use your regular l/p to get a bare Darwin shell. On my dual G4, top shows 99.8% idle when I'm on the console.
    • The parent post is not entirely true. Either that or he/she is running Mac OS X 10.4 on a G3 300Mhz beige desktop system with a multiple year old video card. Even on moderate hardware (G3/G4 1Ghz+) with a moderate video card (Radeon/GeForce) OS X 10.4 has been nothing but exceptional for me. It is ridiculous how many non-OS X using Mods moderate posts.

      If you are really having trouble with OS X 10.4, you can do a couple of things:


      1) Upgrade from 5-10+ year-old Apple hardware (most complaints about OS
  • by brxndxn (461473) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:15PM (#13190001)
    For running games, if you really care about it, you can CTRL ALT DEL and close explorer.exe. Then, run the game from the 'run' menu in Task Manager.

    You probby won't notice any speed difference.. But your penis will be larger.

  • I think... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JonN (895435) * on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:17PM (#13190008) Homepage
    the majority of people reading this will not wonder even Internet Explorer will still work under such conditions but if Firefox will still work under such conditions
  • by rdwald (831442) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:19PM (#13190034)
    Take a look at Black Viper's list of WinXP SP2 services. [dhost.info]
  • Microsoft GA (Score:5, Informative)

    by badmammajamma (171260) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:21PM (#13190051)
    Apparently Microsoft Genuine Advantage is one of the services you can disable.
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:22PM (#13190060) Homepage Journal
    Interesting...so you can kill almost everything.

    I wonder if you can automate that.

    And then, I wonder if you can provide the functionality that goes missing by running your own services. Sort of subverting Windows from the inside, and giving you more control over it.

    But then, I'm not that interested. I've got my control. Total control. Without having to wrestle it from Windows.
  • Optimization (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Valacosa (863657) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:24PM (#13190076)
    I'd be more interested in selectively turning off services to make Windows as fast as possible.

    I don't like how programmers bloat their programs; how the programs expand to fill the speed and HD capacity of the modern computer. I have half a mind to install DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 on my 1.2 GHz box. Fewer unnescessary services, and programs really will open instantly.

    Speed is the very reason my default photo-editing client is Paint Shop Pro 4, not Photoshop Elements. Why the hell should I wait minutes for a program to load? What is this, 1980?
    • Re:Optimization (Score:3, Informative)

      by mixmasterjake (745969)
      You could create a batch file to turn off/on services to a level that suited your particular needs at that moment. just create a batch file like so:

      echo Closing Down...
      net stop "Help and Support"
      net stop "IIS Admin"
      net stop "Messenger"

      when you're done playing your game or whatever, you can start 'em back up with another batch file:

      echo Starting Up...
      net start "Help and Support"
      net start "IIS Admin"
      net start "Messenger"

      (new-school guys could probably do this easily with a neato vbs script.)

      I have a couple o
    • Re:Optimization (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NuclearDog (775495)
      "I don't like how programmers bloat their programs;"

      I don't like how every fucking program, no matter how big or small, feels it needs to run itself on startup in the system tray and place icons in the start menu, quick launch bar, the programs menu and on the desktop.

      For a web browser or something I can see _offering_ to put a shortcut in the quick launch bar. For something like a game it's just fucking stupid.

      Example: Winzip

      IIRC it puts a shortcut in the start bar, quick launch menu and on the desktop, an
  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:25PM (#13190092)
    It just goes to show you how twisted and obscure Windows is. Even Microsoft's own people don't know how their operating system works. How can they expect to keep it reliable and virus free if they don't even understand what processes need to be running?
  • by TopSpin (753) * on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:32PM (#13190151) Journal
    Sysinternals is teh r0ks0rz!

    No, seriously. If you don't know this, they have a utility called "Process Explorer" for Win32. It's like top on steroids. Actually, its vastly better than top, or any other process monitor I've ever seen. It will show you pretty much everything there is to know about a running Windows process; file handles, TCP connections, you name it. Its small, fast, mercifully lacking a "setup" and free.

    They've got a bunch of other stuff for Windows I now consider essential. Check them out.
  • Mention Windows... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dlefavor (725930) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:44PM (#13190247)
    ...get a Windows/Linux/BSD/OS X debate. I mean, really...
  • by dynoman7 (188589) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:46PM (#13190257) Homepage
    This is great! Love the screenshots too, but WTF is that system idle process running at 99% !!!???!!! Jesus H that thing is a hog! Does anyone know how to kill it? I don't want to burn out my CPU...

  • Big deal (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:51PM (#13190299)
    My Mac OS X box runs without any Windows processes at all.

    Pfft.

  • by kayen_telva (676872) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @07:34PM (#13190997)
    why dont you return your warez version of xp for the real one that does not default to 48 services running. or is that hyperbole ?
  • Try no hard drive. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Thursday July 28, 2005 @09:28PM (#13191556) Homepage
    My.. my friend (yeah, that's the ticket) was messing around with a program to try to disable the copy protection of the latest splinter cell game, and to do that, the program "un-hooks" your physical CD drives. he accidently clicked the wrong button and the hard drives were disabled. Windows kept running. He could open "My Computer" and all it had was "Shared Documents" and "User's Documents" windows crashed a few minutes later and was back to normal on reboot. Never did get the game working, though.
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @09:55PM (#13191669) Homepage

    Supposedly - IF you run Task Manager from PowerPrompt which starts up a shell with System privilege.

    Hard to find a downloadable copy of PowerPrompt though, you really have to search Google for it.

    Great tool for trashing spyware that's protected by Windows itself.
  • by KarmaBlackballed (222917) on Friday July 29, 2005 @12:02AM (#13192238) Homepage Journal
    This is not news. In the 15 years I've been running Windows all I've ever had was poor service if any at all.

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