In the never-ending quest to rid your computer of unnecessary bloat, Windows Vista has a lot less options than prior versions, but you can still get rid of some of the extra Windows components that you don’t need.
Open up Control Panel and go to the Programs and Features section. Find the link for “Turn Windows features on or off” (or you could just search for it)
This dialog is quite self-explanatory… uncheck the things you don’t want, and hit the OK button. Depending on the version of Vista you are running you might not see everything in the list.
Guidelines, Not Set In Stone
Just to get you started, here’s a few tips on what an average user might want to enable or disable. The rules will be different for everybody, depending on your applications and needs, so don’t take these as absolute.
|ActiveX Installer Service||No||Do you really want anything to do with ActiveX?|
|Games||Why Not||Your productivity can only increase with Spider Solitaire on your computer.|
|Indexing Service||No||This is the old indexing service that is no longer needed in Vista.|
|Internet Information Service||No||Used for hosting websites on your computer.|
|Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0||No||Used for the new .NET 3.0 components, but only really needed for programmers.|
|Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) Server||No||Used by programmers as a way to reliably queue messages.|
|Print Services||No||You only need this if you use internet printers and like to kill trees. Our rainforests are depending on you disabling this service.|
|Remote Differential Compression||Maybe||This is likely required for utilities that use the network to download files. If it is enabled, don’t mess with it.|
|Removable Storage Management||No||The only reason you’d need this is if you are restoring from old NTBACKUP files.|
|RIP Listener||No||You won’t need this, it’s a routing protocol.|
|Services for NFS||No||This can be used to map a drive to a linux NFS server. Unlikely you’d need it since Samba works so well.|
|SNMP Feature||No||This is used for management systems in workplace networks. You don’t need it.|
|Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications||No||This is used for compatibility with certain applications based on UNIX… you don’t need it.|
|Tablet PC Optional Components||Maybe||If you have a Tablet PC, you should enable this. If you don’t, you may still want to because this includes the Snipping Tool.|
|Telnet Client||AVOID||You should never use telnet. Ever.|
|Telnet Server||AVOID||You should never use telnet. Ever.|
|TFTP Client||AVOID||TFTP was used by many of the early internet worms… there’s a reason it’s disabled by default.|
|Windows DFS Replication Service||No||This is only really used in work environments. Don’t bother with this if you are a home user.|
|Windows Fax and Scan||No||Why anybody still faxes anything is beyond me.|
|Windows Meeting Space||No||If you don’t use Windows Meeting Space or the “People Near Me” feature, don’t bother with this.|
|Windows PowerShell||No||PowerShell is a more advanced command line geared towards programmers and system administrators.|
|Windows Process Activation Service||Probably||This is likely required to support some .NET applications, so I wouldn’t change whatever it’s currently set to.|
|Windows Ultimate Extras||Maybe||If you like the extras, then enable them. (Ultimate Only)|
Hopefully this will help somebody!
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 02/11/08