are the various background processes that the Windows operating system is running, as well as other
third party applications. Essentially, every action that occurs within Windows is governed by and
uses one or more services to carry
For an idea of the list of things that the typical
Windows services oversee, go to 'computer management/services and
applications/services' and enlarge the 'description' column.
can be configured with one of three settings, disabled, manual and
automatic. Automatic services will be started every time Windows is loaded, while
manual services must be activated by the user via an executable
file or command. Disabled services are, well, disabled.
Generally speaking, playing around with services is
not recommended as the majority of them are critical to the function of the
operating system. There are certain exceptions to this though, which is why it
is wise to know the location and functionality of this screen.
Third party services may have undesirable effects
and need to be disabled, and even certain native Windows services may need to be
Once excellent example of this is the messenger
service. Used in many other versions of Windows to enable internet messaging
from the command prompt, messenger's implementation in Windows 2000/XP allows it
to be used for unrespectable remote advertising purposes, to
incredibly annoying effect.
If you have a non-firewalled PC with XP and an
Internet connection, chances are you have seen several grey advertising popups
appear on your screen from time to time. These adverts are being received
through the messenger service, which listens for remote messages and dutifully
pops them up for your attention, regardless of the source.
While many 'spam-killer' software packages
advertise the ability to block these pop-ups as part of their list of essential
services, stopping them yourself simply requires disabling the messenger
service, since its functionality has been superceded by Instant Messaging
programs such as MSN messenger anyway.