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Turn Off Non-Essential Windows Background Services
There are several dozen Windows and third-party services running constantly in the background. And yes, many of these provide very critical functionality to the operating system and your applications. The good news, however, is Windows has advanced to the point where it pauses or delays services until they are actually needed. Nonetheless, there are some services that you should turn off on dedicated gaming machines, since they’re constantly active and only necessary on business machines. The following list describes the services that are, in most cases, safe to turn off during gaming.
Bluetooth Support Service
Don’t have a Bluetooth gaming headset or mouse connected? Then you’ll never need this service.
Diagnostic Service Host
This runs automatic troubleshooting wizards. Remember to re-enable them in case you need to run one (Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Troubleshooting).
Distributed Link Tracking Client
It maintains links between files across your network and tracks shortcuts through network locations, and is not needed in the typical gaming scenario.
If you are not using your gaming PC for printing, then this service is not needed.
Program Compatibility Assistant Service
Turn this off if you don’t run older games. However, it might be needed for Windows 9x or XP games that don’t work well with Windows Vista, 7 or 8.
Portable Device Enumerator Service
This feature offers data transfer and synchronization services between Windows Media Player and removable storage devices.
Sensor Monitoring Service
It monitors Windows 8 PC and laptop sensors (GPS, light sensors, etc.) to adapt the system state; for example, to change system brightness.
Shell Hardware Detection
The feature provides AutoPlay events and notifications.
It allows for the discovery of SSDP devices on your network.
SuperFetch predicts which applications you will run and preloads all of the necessary data into memory. There has been a massive debate about whether it works for games or not (see our blog for more information).
If you don’t use a classic 56k modem or won’t use the fax service, then there’s no need for the telephony service. Some VPN tools might be built on this, but this is rare, especially on gaming PCs.
Windows Event Collector
It protocols and stores all events such as errors and warnings on your PC. This is really only helpful for advanced IT pros and admins.
Windows Font Cache Service
The service optimizes performance of regular desktop applications.
Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service
It shares your Windows Media Player library through the network to other PCs.
While Windows Search isn’t a massive performance hog, it certainly isn’t helpful on a gaming PC. Turn it off if you don’t use your PC for file management or e-mail (see our blog once again for more info).
WinHTTP-Web Proxy Auto Discovery Service
The discovery of WinHTTP devices is usually not needed for gaming.
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