I prefer to use the Services console instead of the System Configuration Utility because it describes what the service does. Additionally, you can double-click a service and examine its properties.
Notice the Startup Type column in Figure 4-2. This information lists whether the service is automatic or manual. Manual services are only started in Windows XP when you start a process that requires the service. Some other process may require the service that has a “dependency” relationship with it; in this case, the dependency service will start, as well. Because these services do not start automatically when you boot Windows XP, you do not need to do anything with manual services.
However, all services listed as automatic start when Windows XP boots. These are the services that increase boot time. As I have mentioned, many of them are necessary and important, so you should not stop automatic services from booting unless you are sure of the ramifications. You can get this information by looking at the Description column. Here’s a quick look at common services you may want to live without:
Automatic Updates: This service enables Windows XP to check the Web automatically for updates. If you don’t want to use Automatic Updates, you can disable the service. You can always check for updates manually at the Windows Update Web site.
Computer Browser: If your computer is not on a network, you don’t need this service. If you are on a network, leave it alone.
DHCP Client: If you are not on a network, you do not need this service. If you are on a small workgroup, you can still increase boot time by configuring manual IP addresses (which I explore later in this chapter).
DNS Client: If you are not on a network, you do not need this service. If you are, leave it alone.
Error Reporting and Event Log: You don’t have to use these services but they can be very helpful, so I would leave them configured as automatic.
Fax: If you don’t use your computer for fax services, you can disable this one.