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					                   RANCHO BERNARDO COMPUTER CLUB
                           Electronic Newsletter

                                  July 28 , 2009

MONTHLY MEETING: Tuesday, July 28, 2009. 10:00 am

                Rancho Bernardo Library - Community Room
                17110 Bernardo Center Drive
                San Diego, CA, 92128

This month Meeting: July 28 , 2009. Bring a friend - guests are welcome -
meetings are free and open to the public. If you have any questions about the
meeting call 858-487-6585.

In This Issue

1. Program
2. APCUG Articles
3. Article compiled by Larry Hambright (a lot of good ideas!)

1. Program

This month's program will be provided by a representative of Microsoft speaking
on their new operating system 7.

2. APCUG Articles

The following articles were made available to the Rancho Bernardo Computer
Club as a benefit of our membership in the Association of Computer User
These articles have been provided to APCUG by the authors solely for
publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of
the author.

a. Reinstalling Windows by Vinny La Bash, Sarasota Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc., FL vabash@

No matter how diligent you are at computer housecleaning and tuning your
system, at some point you will need to reinstall Windows. One of the most
infuriating things about the process occurs after the installation when you realize
you have forgotten something important like exporting your Favorites folder.
Several weeks ago I reinstalled Vista on my laptop and almost forgot to do
something elementary. So perhaps it’s time to review the basics.

There are many reasons to reinstall windows. Perhaps the registry has gotten
corrupted or it could be an accumulation of little things that are driving you nuts.
Whatever is annoying you, a clean install is always the best option. Before doing
anything, careful planning will keep you out of trouble.

The detailed procedures outlined here apply specifically to Vista, but the general
concepts apply to any version of Windows and even other operating systems.
There are three main areas to a reinstall. You need proper preparation, the install
itself, and the aftermath to clean up any mess you may have inadvertently
created. That means you don’t schedule a reinstall the night before any

Start by documenting any critical login identifications and passwords. If you pay
bills online, access financial information, eBay, PayPal or anything else important
to you., now is the time to write it all down. Some folks use a password protected
spreadsheet file. Others use some kind of encrypted application to store the data.
I prefer good old reliable pen and paper stored in a safe place, not taped to my

Do you have your Windows product key available? You need it to reinstall Vista.
Are there any other applications you will reinstall that require product keys, like
Microsoft Office? Gather them all, including any drivers you may need to reinstall
hardware, like a printer or mobile smart phone.

A clean install requires that you backup your data files. This is especially
important if you’re planning to reformat your hard drive. Backup email contacts,
calendar entries, and anything you consider important. Don’t forget anything
special you may have saved on your desktop. That’s an easy one to overlook.

Have you installed new hardware recently? Any new devices, except physical
memory, require some kind of driver software to work properly. You can get the
most up-to-date drivers by visiting the manufacturer’s web site and downloading
them. Go to the Device Manager for a list of installed hardware or use Belarc
Advisor for a more detailed description.

Do some housecleaning. Search your drive for files that are obsolete or
otherwise unnecessary. It’s amazing how much digital detritus can accumulate
over time. Perform a full deep virus scan so your new setup can get off to a clean
start. Use Disk Cleanup if you want to reduce the number of unnecessary files on
your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster. It
removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and deletes a variety of
system files and other items that you no longer need.
Back up the My Documents folder and any sub-folders that may exist. Backup
Links if you use Internet Explorer; Bookmarks if you use Mozilla Firefox. If you’re
not sure you’ve backed up everything you need, back up the entire disk. If you’ve
forgotten anything, your data can be recovered.

By now you should have:

Documented all logins and passwords
Backed up all important data including My Documents and any sub-folders

Have all product keys and activation codes handy

Backed up your email contact list, and calendar entries

Backed up Favorites, Links, Bookmarks, etc.

Collected Driver disks

Check everything at least twice to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything
essential and you’re ready to go. Insert your Windows disk and reinstall the
operating system.

After the process is complete, there is still work to do. Use Windows Update to
retrieve and install the latest service packs, security updates, and any necessary
patches. After bringing your operating system up-to-date, turn your attention to
applications and device drivers.

If you reinstalled Vista from the manufacturer’s installation or system restore
disks, drivers for the original software and hardware that came with the system
are likely to be either no longer relevant or out-of-date. You may need to visit
several manufacturers’ web sites to download and install the most recent drivers.
This is part of proper preparation, but if you neglected this step it’s not a fatal

Restore any data you backed up earlier, reconfigure network settings if
applicable, and tweak the system to suit your personal preferences. Create a
system restore point, and do an image backup of your entire system in case you
need to reinstall again.

Don’t fool yourself. Reinstalling the operating system, applications, drivers and
such is never as simple or as easy as it should be. If you plan carefully however,
it doesn’t need to be stressful.

b. THINGS, THINGLETS & THINGASSOS by S. Jack Lewtschuk, President,
MBUG-PC (Monterey Bay Users Group – Personal Computer), CA

During the summer you had your hands full cleaning your yard and patio. In the
fall you winterized your home and prepared for the holidays. Now that all of that
is over, it’s time to spring clean your computer. When was the last time you
opened up your ―box‖ and looked inside? Don’t tell me!

I found a very thorough guide explaining how to clean, what tools you need, why
you should clean and yes, how often you should clean, courtesy of Computer
Hope at

Let me know what you found inside your box—I dare you! Is it still alive?
Have you ever received via e-mail, a URL like this:
… with only the top line underlined and in blue?

And when you clicked on it you got an ―error 404,‖ or did not get the website you

That’s because the URL should have included all four lines. You need to copy
the whole thing (all four lines), and paste it into your browser, making sure that
you do not introduce any spaces. A few websites are configured so that their
URLs don’t break, but not very many bother to do this.

I am guilty of sending long URLs via MBUG Listserv (see the back page to find
out how to register). This has caused some of our members to be confused by
the split URL. I appreciate the fact that recently someone took the time to remind
me about a great solution for this problem. Years ago I knew about this but
completely forgot (you can call it my ―senior moment‖).

One solution is Tiny URL or All you have to do is go to that
URL and create a shortcut for future use. The instructions are simple:
1. Copy the giant URL.
2. Paste it in the slot provided by Tiny.
3. Click on the button provided.

And, like magic, the long four line URL becomes tiny, is automatically copied to
your clipboard, and looks more like Surprised? Try it,
you’ll like it, and it’s FREE! By the way, some time ago Tiny URL was reported to
contain malware, however the manufacturer assures us that the problem has
been rectified.

Also, another MBUG member suggests to try adding ―< >‖ brackets to prevent
URLs from falling apart.

Another program similar to Tiny URL is at
9898698-2.html?tag=bl (or I could say:!

If you need to quickly tell if you are currently logged onto a PC as a Local
Administrator of the Windows server, right click on the ―Start‖ button. If you see
"Open All Users" rather than just "Open," the account is in the Local
Administrators group.

Have you had an instant when you had a question or a problem with one of your
21st century electronic gadgets and the dog ate the manual? Have no fear
bunky, SmartComputing to the rescue! Go to

Credit Cards
While two credit cards might act and look alike, levels of consumer protection
that each type of credit card provides can be different. Under federal law, if
someone steals your credit card you're only responsible to pay the first $50 of
unauthorized charges. However, if you notify the credit card issuer before a thief
is able to make any charges, you may be free from all liability. If the credit card is
not physically present when an unauthorized or fraudulent purchase is made
(such as over the Internet), you’re also free from liability for those charges.

MasterCard and Visa offer zero-liability protection where you don’t have to pay
any charges if someone uses your credit card to make an unauthorized
purchase. Many credit cards offer additional benefits and supply a yearly
summary of your spending.

Debit Cards
A debit card is a direct key to your bank account. The protection offered for debit
card fraud is similar to credit cards but with a few exceptions. For example, your
liability under federal law is limited to $50, the same as for a credit card, but only
if you notify the issuer within two business days of discovering the card's loss or
theft. Your liability for debit card fraud can jump up to $500 if you don’t report the
loss or theft within that time.

Debit cards provide a direct pass to you bank account. You may also face cash
flow problems and bounced-check fees when thieves clean out your bank

If you are the type of person who gives a passing glance to your monthly bank
statement, you could be totally liable for any fraudulent debit card charges if you
wait 60 days or more from the time your statement is mailed.

Visa and MasterCard zero-liability protection applies to your debit card with them
but only for transactions that do not involve the use of your PIN (personal
identification number).

Additional protection against fraudulent use of your credit or debit cards may be
available through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Check your policy or
with your agent for more information about your coverage.

You should avoid using your debit card for any online purchase or for things
which are expensive. Why? The main reason is that it is much easier to dispute
a charge when you use your credit card. If the gold-plated, limited-edition, hip-
swinging Elvis wall clock arrives broken, your credit card company will remove
the charge until the problem is resolved. With your debit card you are stuck
dealing with the merchant directly to resolve any problems with a purchase. Don’t
fall for rumors about not signing your cards—all banks insist that you are much
safer signing your cards immediately upon receiving them.

Just to make sure that you have all the necessary information should you
become a victim of stolen or lost cards and other important documents:
1. Empty your wallet.
2. Place all your credit/debit cards and important documents on your scanner or
copying machine.
3. Make copies of your cards, front and back.
4. Place the copy in a safe place: a safety deposit box, fire safe, or even your
refrigerator is better than a desk drawer (in case of fire, the chances for survival
of contents in your refrigerator are pretty good).
5. Check your wallet periodically. Thieves often steal just one credit card to make
sure that you don’t notice it’s gone. By the time you notice, it’s too late.

NOTE: When you give your card to a person to pay a bill, make sure that when
you get it back it’s your card and not an expired card belonging to someone else!

One last precaution: NEVER carry your Social Security card around with you.

Many of you recall the old USB (Universal Serial Bus) 1.1. Its time passed when
the much faster USB 2.0 was invented—it’s the USB we all use now to connect
our peripherals (mouses, printers, flash drives, etc.).

Last November we were given some good news:
Good news #1: by 2010 we will be able to buy USB 3.0.
Good news #2: it will be 10 times faster than USB 2.0 and it will feature improved
power efficiency.
Good news #3: USB 3.0 will be backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1
devices, which means that we will have time to upgrade our peripheral devices
when we are ready.

2. How to Access Your Microsoft Services by Larry Hambright, Rancho
Bernardo Community Computer Club

How to Access Your Microsoft Services:

1. Click Start
2. Click Settings
3. Select Control Panel
4. Double click Administrative Tools
5. Double click Services
6. Scroll down and highlight the service you want to adjust
7. Right-click on it and choose Properties
8. Click the stop button.
9. Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar.

Services which can be disabled safely

There are many Windows services. Most of them you will need for a good
functioning Windows system, but some can be turned off safely. Here are
services mentioned, which can be switched (almost) safely to manual or even
disabled. Read the information carefully and make sure you understand what the
service does and/or does not! Keep in mind that possible problems in the future
start here (so you will have to fix them here as well). If you are not sure about a
service, then don't make any change to the startup type! Don't change them all at
a time, if you are not sure what they are for. Don't turn off services which are
depended on by other services!

Most times this service is not used. It takes care of administrative alerts over a
network for administrative purposes. This is so useless SP2 turns this off for you.
For the rest of you folks, you should turn it off too.

Application Layer Gateway Service
Provides support for 3rd party protocol plug-ins for Internet Connection Sharing
and the Internet Connection Firewall
     Comment: Do you want to share your internet connection? That's an article
waiting to be written. Let me be clear. Since you can buy a router for $50 or less,
and Windows does an awful job routing, using a computer to gateway your other
computers to the internet is just stupid. "What about firewalling and admission
control?" Well, that's not going to be done through the built-in internet sharing
tools. So, we''re not talking about that. If you use a personal computer to gateway
your other computers to the internet (and calling it a server doesn't change the
reality), you are wasting resources. Buy a $50 router, or a $1000 router for that
matter. But, buy a discrete device that is designed to do the job. Use hardware
based firewalling (OK, it's all based on software - but I mean a boxed solution,
not software installed on a PC that's prone to lose autonomy). And, what about
all those cute third-party firewalling tools that plug in to this thing? Man, give me
a break. If it runs on top of your Windows installation, it's not a real firewall.
Unless this is required by a product you think is necessary, disable it.

Automatic Updates:
Downloading and installing Windows updates. If you think you don't need this
service, you can disable it. Remember that the Windows update website doesn't
work anymore without this service, since the introduction of Windows XP SP2. I
advise to keep it unchanged. To work properly, the Automatic Updates service
also needs Background Intelligent Transfer Service, Event Log and the
Cryptographics Services.

Background Intelligent Transfer Service
Uses idle network bandwidth to transfer data.
      Comment: This is one of those tools they require you turn on to enable
Automatic Updates. Think about it. It connects your PC to the internet or network
and works behind your back to do stuff you didn't explicitly tell it to do. It sounds
like a great tool to help hackers collect data from your PC and slowly seep it back
to their lair. Unless it's immediately required, disable it. It you use it and then go
for some time with no need to use it, disable it. If you can't remember to keep
your PC updated with the latest security fixes, you'll need it.

This service allows you to cut and paste across your private network. Enables
ClipBook Viewer to store information and share it with remote computers. If the
service is stopped, ClipBook Viewer will not be able to share information with
remote computers. Most programs that actually allow you to do this use their
own ways for doing this. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly
depend on it will fail to start. Useless. Stop it.
      Comment: So, you want to copy stuff to your clipbook and allow remote
computers to access it? I don't. There may be a software vendor that requires
this service to run. I've yet to find it useful. I suggest you disable it.

Computer Browser:
This services lists all computers in a network and gives this information to other
computers in the network, when asked for. This makes browsing on the network
faster. There is no need for this service, and especially not if you don't have a
network situation. With this function disabled, you are still able to browse your
network! If you are on a LAN, keep it enabled. If not, stop it. It allows you to see
the other computers on your network.

Cryptographic Services
Provides three management services: Catalog Database Service, which confirms
the signatures of Windows files; Protected Root Service, which adds and
removes Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates from this computer; and
Key Service, which helps enroll this computer for certificates. If this service is
stopped, these management services will not function properly. If this service is
disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.
Comment: It is very necessary if you are passing certificates for networking.
Unless you are in a large corporate network where connections are managed
through authentication, this is unnecessary; disable it.

Distributed Link Tracking Client: This service is only applicable when you
make use of the NTFS file system. If you don't use this file system, you can
switch off this service. This services makes sure that linked files on different
volumes (possibly somewhere on the network) stay connected. If a file has been
moved to another location, the link will be updated by this service. There is
probably no need at all to for this services on your computer, so disable it.

Distributed Transaction Coordinator
Coordinates transactions that span multiple resource managers, such as
databases, message queues, and file systems. If this service is stopped, these
transactions will not occur. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly
depend on it will fail to start.
     Comment: Extremely few personal computers will require this service. If
you use it, you may want to review the reasons it is being used. Unless you are
accessing network filesystems and databases, disable it.

DNS Client
Resolves and caches Domain Name System (DNS) names for this computer. If
this service is stopped, this computer will not be able to resolve DNS names and
locate Active Directory domain controllers. If this service is disabled, any services
that explicitly depend on it will fail to start. Comment: It's typically good to leave
this on.

Error Reporting Service:
Enables the option to report system errors to Microsoft. There is no need to do
this, enough reason to disable this service.

Event Log:
This services logs issues in the log files, which can be viewed with the Event
Viewer (Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Event Viewer). Although you might
think it's not useful, do not disable this service but keep it automatic.

Fast User Switching Compatibility:
If you don't need the fast switching between user accounts, disable this function.
Fast switching of user accounts makes it possible to leave your application open
without saving your data. If not needed, don't use this function, it doesn't always
work properly. If you keep multiple users/logins on your current computer, you
should leave this enabled. If you always log-in the same way as the same
person, you should disable this.

Help and Support
Enables Help and Support Center to run on this computer. If this service is
stopped, Help and Support Center will be unavailable. If this service is disabled,
any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.
      Comment: I don't find this service useful, other than sucking up resources.
If you know how to use Google, I'd disable it.

IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service:
This function is used to able to burn CD-ROM's with the Windows Explorer (copy-
paste files to your CD burner). If you don't have a CD-burner, you can disable
this service (or switch to manual). It is possible that this service causes troubles
in combination with other burning software.

Indexing Service:
With this indexing service, you are able to search faster on your computer. The
faster searching comes at a cost: the indexing of the content, which slows down
your computer. This services is not needed, I advise to disable it for better overall

Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or
intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network.
Comment: This tool does a great job of complicating my internet connection and
slowing down transactions. It's not likely this tool is sophisticated enough to make
a major impact in your system's performance. You should disable it.

Manages IP security policy, possibly not needed for your system.

The Messenger service makes it possible sending messages over the network (it
has nothing to do with Live Messenger). This function works by the following
command: NET SEND Hello (Start, Run,..), a new message Window
should appear if this service is enabled. This service is also available from the
internet, which makes it possible to receive strange messages: reason enough to
disable this service. Kill it, kill it. We’ve been saying to kill this forever.
      Comment: Turn this thing off! It's a simple kit for anybody that can
  connect via any network to your computer to access your system and do things
you don't want them to. Disable it.

Net Logon
Supports pass-through authentication of account logon events for computers in a
     Comment: Unless you need this to operate inside a domain, it's likely not
necessary or useful. If you are using a home or SOHO PC and don't have a local
domain based network, disable it.

NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
Enables an authorized user to access this computer remotely by using
NetMeeting over a corporate intranet. If this service is stopped, remote desktop
sharing will be unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly
depend on it will fail to start.
      Comment: Do you really want a built in tool to share control of your desktop
over your network connection? There are better tools for doing this kind of work,
if needed. If someone you buy software from insists you let them use this tool to
help you install it one time, then enable it and disable it immediately afterward.
For typical use, you should disable it.

Network DDE/Network DDE DSDM –
DDE DSDM was an excellent idea by Microsoft that flopped. Disable both of

Performance Logs and Alerts:
The making off performance logs will probably lower your systems performance:
reason enough to disable it, especially if you never read the log files.

Portable Media Serial Number Service:
Needed to reed the serial number of any portable media player. If this function is
disabled, there is a chance not to open (downloaded) protected content. You
probably can disable this service without any noticeable consequences.

Print Spooler:
Necessary for printing. If you don't want to have the option to print, you can
disable it.

Protected Storage:
This service provides the possibility to safe passwords (email, websites, dial
up,..). Remember that passwords can be easily retrieved with freeware software
(see the item Forgotten passwords). Although this issue, I prefer to keep this
option on automatic.
QoS is probably not needed for your network traffic, so you can disable this

Remote Access Auto Connection Manager:
If you are getting troubles with your internet connection, leave this service on
automatic. If you are using a router: disable this service.

Remote Desktop Help Session Manager:
If you don't need remote assistance (the other person controls your computer by
your invitation), disable this function. Before stopping this service, see the
Dependencies tab of the Properties dialog box.

Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator
Manages the RPC name service database.
      Comment: There are some network programs and protocols that require
this to be turned on. Chances are you could just turn it off and see if you break
anything. If you are using a single PC in your home or SOHO, it's likely just a
security risk. If you don't know you need it, disable it.

Remote Registry: Thanks to this service, external users are able to make
changes to the registry keys over the network connection. This option is not safe,
therefore it is better to disable it.

Routing and Remote Access:
If there is no need to dial in by others into your computer, disable this service.

Security Center:
Service Pack 2 provided Windows XP with the Security Center. The Security
Center monitors the proper functioning of your system security (Windows
updates, firewall and virus scan). If something is not working properly, you will be
informed continuously. I can't imagine why you can't do it yourself, reason
enough to disable it.

For sharing local files and printers with other computers on your network. If there
is no need to share, disable this service.

Shell Hardware Detection:
Essential for automatic playing of connected devices (memory cards, CD/DVD).

Smart Card / Smart Card Helper
If you don’t have a smart card system, you don’t need this service. As smart
cards have really never taken off… i doubt you need this. Kill it.
System Event Notification:
Almost never used. Leave the service on automatic if you have a network or a
portable PC, else disable it.

System Restore Service
Performs system restore functions. To stop service, turn off System Restore from
the System Restore tab in My Computer->Properties
Comment: This is almost useless if you ever have a problem with            damaged
drives, corrupted data, or malware. It uses a lot of resources and isn't useful for
most people. You can turn it on before you install a big piece of software. This
service allows you to backup to a previous system should you mess your's up
with an installation of software or a modification to your system settings, usually
registry damage. To improve system performance and take the minor risk of not
being able to make your computer work like it did yesterday, disable it.

Task Scheduler:
This service enables automatic scheduled tasks (like regularly downloading of
virus definitions, but also the prefetching which improves sytem performances!).
Many applications need this service. If you prefer to do everything yourself, you
can disable this service. I prefer automatic.

TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper service
Unless you run NetBIOS on your system, you don’t need this service. Kill it.

Provides Telephony API (TAPI) support for programs that control telephony
devices and IP based voice connections on the local computer and, through the
LAN, on servers that are also running the service.

Comment: If you use telephony, you probably use discrete devices or proprietary
services that don't rely on this service. However, you do need this servive if you
use a modem to connect to the ineternet. It's required by all sorts of hardware
you wouldn't think require it, including accessing the internet via 3G telephones
as tethered modems. Set this service to automatic to be safe.

Telnet Service
This allows you to use telnet to log into your system from a remote location. It’s a
security risk so don’t keep it enabled unless you use it.SP2 disables it by default

Terminal Services
Allows multiple users to be connected interactively to a machine as well as the
display of desktops and applications to remote computers. The underpinning of
Remote Desktop (including RD for Administrators), Fast User Switching, Remote
Assistance, and Terminal Server.
Comment: As I've said above, there's better tools for remote desktop
administration. The idea of Terminal Services is to allow remote desktop
administration of a system, like the user was on the actual console. In almost all
circumstances you should disable it.

If you don't need the XP look, disable this function. I prefer automatic.

Uninterruptible Power Supply
Although I should have a UPS, I don’t. If you don’t, then disable this service.
Upload Manager
Manages synchronous and asynchronous file transfers between clients and
servers on the network. If this service is stopped, synchronous and
asynchronous file transfers between clients and servers on the network will not
occur. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail
to start.
      Comment: If you are not in a local network sharing data (files and/or
services), disable it.

Windows Audio
Needed for playing sounds, up to you.....

Windows Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS):
This services provides your computer with a software firewall for your internet
connection. You can disable the firewall service if you use a third party firewall
(do NOT go online without a firewall!). Besides the firewall function, the service
provides you with the possibility to share the internet connection with other
computers, which is not needed when your network is provided with a router.

Windows Image Acquisition (WIA):
This service is used for transferring images from your camera/web cam or
scanner. Leave this service on manual if you have one of those devices, else
disable the service.

Windows Installer:
Needed for installing MSI setup files. Do not disable this option, else windows
updates won't be installed.

Windows Search (if installed):
For indexing and quickly extended searching through (personal) files. If this
search feature is not used, it is better to disable it. Remove the shortcut to
Windows Search in the folder Startup (Start, All programs) and deactivate the
toolbar Windows Search Toolbar (right click the taskbar, sub Toolbars) as well.

Windows Time:
If you prefer to keep you system clock up to date manually (if needed.....), there
is no need for an automatic update: disable it as you wish.
Wireless Zero Configuration-service:
Needed for automatic configuration of your wireless network connection. Unless
you use wi-fi, you can safely stop this service. If you use wi-fi, this is actually a
nice little service.

Creates and maintains client network connections to remote servers. If this
service is stopped, these connections will be unavailable. If this service is
disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.
     Comment: If you are not in a local network sharing data (files and/or
services), disable it.

WMI Performance Adapter:
No need for performance information, only the performances? Disable this


If you turn off all the services suggested above and try to use Automatic Updates
via, you will likely see a message something like

Windows Update cannot continue because a required service application is
disabled. Windows Update requires the following services:

       "Automatic Updates enables detection, downloading, and installation of
       critical updates for your computer.

       Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) enables faster, restartable
       downloading of updates.

       Event Log logs Windows Update events for troubleshooting. To ensure
       that these services are enabled:"

It's easy to just go back to Services, and turn these services on as you need
them. An operating system shouldn't need daily updates to run. And, the more
services you run, the more likely you are to need updates. See a circle here?
Occasionally, a little laziness won't kill you. Though you could just go to Technet
(Microsoft's only support for IT professionals) and get all your news and update
files with descriptions of their efficacy and safety, you may occasionally just want
to veg out and let Microsoft do the work for you. You should still read each
update and decide for yourself whether it makes sense. Some of them are flat
out bad news. But, turning up these services for a few minutes to run Automatic
Updates may be a shortcut to periodic updates.

So, let's look at the services they want you to turn on.
Automatic Updates
Background Intelligent Transfer Service
Event Log

I haven't a clue why you need Background Intelligent Transfer Services to run so
you can go to a website, download, and install service packs. But, you can turn it,
and the others, on and then turn it back off when you are done. It's just three

If you take a minimalist's point of view to running both software and services on
your computer, it will perform faster and more safely than it will if you just
randomly load anything anyone tells you to. To better secure your PC, stick to a
mindset that if you don't absolutely need a service running right now, you should
just turn it off.
For those of you that break stuff when you turn off services I suggest are

If you turn off all the stuff that blatantly doesn't have anything to do with the
network, you should be fine. Then, turn off one thing at a time that you /think/
doesn't support your network connection. If you lose your connection, turn the
service back on. Next, and this part is very important, make sure your network
settings are accurate and set for "on" so you can reconnect. You should find out
how your PC connects to your local network before you get started and
document it. But, anything you turn off that breaks something needs to be
carefully examined and documented (write it down somewhere).

Just because you turn a service back on, doesn't mean your broken software will
magically start working again. For example, remember the issue of using a
computer in your network to manage your connection? If that's how you connect,
you'll have to reconfigure that connection to get online if you kill it by killing a
service. Likely, Computer Browser will cause this kind of problem. Also, just
enabling the service doesn't turn it on. You need to manually restart it, since the
start, enable, stop, settings go into action on bootup. So, if you don't want to wait
til your box reboots, you'll need to manually turn off the service if you want it
disabled, and manually turn it on if you want to enable it (and see if that given
service is your problem).

What about System Restore? Well, I don't like it. If I had a dollar for every time
someone fouled up their PC, ran system restore, and were amazed that all
wasn't suddenly happy sunshine, I'd have a really nice vacation home. I realize it
makes life easier for newbies that randomly screw stuff up and can't be hassled
with learning the things they use. But, for most cases, it's a great tool for virus
and worms to avoid capture. You delete them, they have a backup switch to
recapture control through the restore program. Many antivirus programs don't
work properly when you have this feature enabled. You can leave it on if you're a
fan. Perhaps it makes you feel good, like it would make everything right again if
you had it around. But, it won't save you from a serious problem. Backups and
safe computer practices will.

You need to learn enough about your PC to run a functional backup and
restoration of your critical data. If you can't do this, you're just waiting to lose

Don't be afraid to learn more about your PC. It's one thing to run through a
checklist of stuff I suggest you don't need. But, it's not a guarantee that I address
every concern for every user. With a few hours here and there of learning now,
you'll save yourself a lot of frustration later. The things I learned about Windows
five and six years ago still serve me today. The things I learned about networks
running Unix systems serve me every day, no matter what operating system I
may run.

Enjoy learning; it's the first line of defense against bad software and broken PCs.

[Check out Run a Faster Windows PC, now that you're done with this article.]
Latest comments:
Hi, three things, and I know I'm a few years late with the first, and maybe you've
gotten it a few hundred times already, but I've only recently discovered your
article on unnecessary services that windows... [snip]

You know, that article is really, really old. And, to be honest I don't update it and
can't imagine why so many people read it. It makes me think I may should spend
more time on things like that - keeping it current, etc. So, I will add comments
down here as folk email me questions and comments.
You mention that Cryptographic Services is unnecessary unless you work in a
large network atmosphere (or something along those lines), plus stuff about
[snip] ... is required for automatic updates.

I think this is recent behavior. Just yesterday I downloaded TweakUI for a friend
and his WinXP complained the software wasn't signed... WHAT!? Microsoft didn't
bother using their beloved signing technology even though they act as though
anything that's not digitally signed is a trojan or virus? Amazing, but they don't
retroactively utilize their own technologies and they often throw new
requirements (often for "security" sake) on their old operating systems.

I actually changed my position on this and though it's dangerous on multiple
levels, I think considering all it's almost required that you leave auto-updates
running, since you can't possibly run a safe PC without daily update checks and
who can be bothered to run updates manually every day. Microsoft doesn't
exactly make downloading and installing them manually a simple process.
BTW, if you download the updates manually from TechNET, you don't need this
service running - but that's not what you want to do, you just want to click a
button and have your system automatically update. Automatic and automatic
have different meanings here. I mean, the update you're trying to do with the click
is automatic, and the update that happens without your involvement at all
(scheduled automatic updates) is also automatic.
Telephony Services: you say it's unnecessary if you don't use a modem to
connect to the internet, and I was like "Nah, I have cable because I'm t3h
133720r2!" and I tried to turn it off, and it won't turn off. And before I pressed the
issue, a question came to mind- is a cable modem still a modem in the sense
that you're referring to them? And if so... who the XXX is lucky enough to not
need any modem at all to connect to Al Gore's miracle?! So that threw me off a

Well... there's two answers to this question - the implied and the direct.

I used to have a "cable modem," but I used a network connection (via my NIC) to
connect. I have DSL now and do the same. Most modern distributions of network
connections (DSL/Cable/T1/etc.) use plain ole NICs to connect - some people
install that awful driver software, and that //may// require this feature, though
honestly I've not personally tested so I don't know for fact.

Let me tell you this - all kinds of crap uses telephony. VOIP, modems, fax, etc. all
use it. Even my stupid fax printing software that sends the fax through //EMAIL//
uses the telephony service.
Lastly, this one comes from the article you link to at the bottom of the
unnecessary services article, about running a faster Windows PC. You suggest
Avira Antivir to replace McAfee and Norton, and seeing as how you had thus far
proven to be a pretty legitimate tech advisor (I started getting paranoid that in the
stead of traditional viruses, people just give you "advice" to delete perfectly vital
bits of software and whatnot), I jumped on the free version. I had been a McAfee
noob, and had been increasingly frustrated with it.
Avira works great and all, but there's one little thing that drives me crazy that I
can't seem to figure out. How the XXX do you get rid of the "Notifier of Avira" that
constantly bugs you to buy the premium edition and reminds me of
spyware/popups itself?
[snip] ...plenty, so I really can't justify working over 20 whole hard-earned dollars
just to make what amounts to be a popup, from a program that is supposed to...

I'm afraid they've jumped onto the harassment bandwagon with their free
product. It's annoying. And, to be honest I just plopped down the $40 and bought
the commercial license of Avast recently. I suggest you do the same.

All antivirus companies eventually get dragged into the corporate profit game and
leave the good antivirus arena. The fact is, it's not really considered a good
growth model to stick to plain ole antivirus software. The big guys lead the track
on bloatware, but everyone gets into it. They either offer more bells and whistles
and harass you or harass you to spend more money on the basics. Once they
feel that they've saturated the "I just want a good antivirus program" market, they
start banging on your wallet.

But, for the moment, I'm happy with my commercial Avast.

As for forking over $20 to stop the harassment. I'm sorry, but as a capitalist I
don't really mind this so much. And, to be honest $20 for protection without the
CPU tax other big brands charge - gimping your entire machine for the promise
of safer web browsing - it's a good deal. I'd pay the $20. It's worth it.


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