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Needed & Not Needed XP Services
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Below are some of the services that XP runs in the background. Turning off some of these may help for better performance as some can be quite the resource hogs. Tamper with these at your own risk.
Goto Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > and Services.

windows xp services

There are basically two ways that are safe to turn these off. Way number one is in your msconfig (Start then Run then msconfig then click ok). When you open the msconfig you will see a tab named "Services" click on that and decide on what you want to disable. The other way is your services policy editor (Start then Run then services.msc /s then click ok). Either way you will be able to disable them. Below is the list of services, what each is and recommendation to turn them off or on.

Before you continue with this create a restore point. If something goes wrong this will be the easiest way to return the unit back to the way it was.

There are now 122 Services listed here.

IPv6 is designed to solve many of the problems of the current version of IP (known as IPv4) with regard to address depletion, security, auto configuration, extensibility, and more.
Recommend: Automatic

Notifies users of administrative alerts. Not required under normal circumstances.
Recommend: Disabled.

Application Layer Gateway Service
Provides support for 3rd party plug-ins for Internet Connection Sharing/Internet Connection Firewall. Required if using Internet Connection Sharing / Internet Connection Firewall (zone alarm, etc) to connect to the Internet.
Recommend: Automatic

Application Management
Used for Assign, Publish and Remove software services. If you can not modify your software installation of certain applications, put this service in to Automatic.
Recommend: Automatic

ASP.NET State Service
Provides support for out of process session state. If this service is stopped then the requests will be not be processes. If this services is disabled, any service that explicitly depends on it will fail to start.
Recommend: Automatic if you use asp.net programming

This service is installed if you update to the latest ATI video card drivers. It provides the ability to hot key your display settings for what ever reason you would need this feature. I do not change them often, so there is no point in having this service "always running."
Recommend: Disable

ATI Smart
This service is installed if you update to the latest ATI video card drivers. It provides the ability to test your particular configuration for compatibility issues and stability issues. The location is also in the ATI display properties control panel. After testing once, I have found no reason to continue to have this service in memory.
Recommend: Disable

ATI X10 Device Network Service
This service is required for the remote control to work with your system. If you do not use the remote control then you can disable this service. If you do use the remote control then keep this on Automatic.
Recommend: Automatic (if you want to use the remote)

Automatic Updates
Used to check up to see if there is any critical or otherwise updates available for download. Take note: Manual update via Windows Update web site Requires Cryptographic Services to be running.
Recommend: Automatic

Background Intelligent Transfer
Service Used to transfer asynchronous data via http1.1 servers.
Recommend: Disabled

Brother Spooling Service
Recommend: Leave Alone if you have a brother printer.

"C-Dilla" is the name of a company that was purchased by Macrovision. The previous company, and now Macrovision, use the C-Dilla technology to provide software activation services and CD Key verification services for anti-piracy reasons. This technology is now sold by Macrovision as SafeCast and is bundled with many products. It also increases the ammount of popups you receive on your computer.
Recommend: Disable (spyware/adware)

Used to store information (cut/paste) and share it with other computers.
Recommend: Disabled

COM+ Event System
You will receive, in the Event Log, a entry from "DCOM" complaining about not having this service running if Disabled. Required for System Event Notification. Required if you want to run BootVis with the "optimize system" option.
Recommend: Disabled

COM+ System Application
You will receive, in the Event Log, a entry from "DCOM" complaining about not having this service running if Disabled. Required for System Event Notification.
Recommend: Disabled

Compaq Advisor
Compaq Advisor is an application that makes Compaq Presario PCs smarter. Compaq Advisor provides relevant and timely information about: Your PC's functionality, Recommended enhancements for your PC, Offers related to your computing interests, Proactive notification of potential product or service issues. This service is quite annoying.
Recommend: Disable

Computer Browser
Maintains a listing of computers located on the network. This service is not needed on a standalone system.
Recommend: Disabled

Content Monitoring Tool
Hot deals content updated notifier. This is what it says when you check the service. Says it has no dependencies. I'm still trying to figure out what installs it I think its Kazaa though.
Recommended: Disable

Creative Service for CDROM Access
This service only exists for those of us with Creative soundcards and software. I found it nothing but annoying and later I uninstalled all non-driver related Creative software entirely. If you use their Disk Detector (for some bizarre reason) leave it. Otherwise, disable it. A word of warning, Creative installs Disk Detector by default and sets it to Automatic. Make sure to disable it in the Creative menu first before killing it here.
Recommend: Disable

Crypkey License
This service is installed if you use "Swish" (swishzone.com). It is required to start up the program, otherwise an error about writing to a memory location pops up. Set this to Disabled until you need it. Note: If set to "Manual," this service will NOT start on it's own (thus the error message).
Recommend: Disable

Cryptographic Services
Mainly, it confirms signatures of Windows files. You may always get a dialog box complaining about uncertified drivers if this is Disabled. Required for Windows Update to function in manual mode.
Recommend: Automatic

This service is installed with Norton. Virus Definitions Daemon. Unless you do not want your Virus Scanner to work properly, keep this going.
Recommend: Automatic

DHCP Client
Receives a Dynamic IP address from your DHCP server. Required for ICS/internet client and also if you run IPSEC, disable on a standalone system or one that has a static IP address.
Recommend: Automatic

Directway Webcast
Part of a satellite network. Need to be enabled to use this service. no dependancies. Dependant on QoS RSVP, IPSEC, and Upload Manager.
Recommend: Automatic

Controls the Diskeeper service.
This service exists only for those of us who use the Diskeeper defragmentation software as opposed to the Windows pre-installed defragmenter. Set this to Manual.
Recommend: Disable

Distributed Link Tracking Client
Maintains links with NTFS files within your computer or across a domain.
Recommend: Disabled

Distributed Transaction Coordinator
Takes care of transactions that span multiple resources. Required if using Message Queuing.
Recommend: Disabled

DNS Client
Resolves DNS names and Active Directory domain controller functions. This service is not needed, but if it makes you happy to have it running, go ahead. Required if using IPSEC.
Recommend: Disabled

Error Reporting Service
Calls home to Microsoft when application errors occurs. A waste of memory and resources.
Recommend: Disabled

Event Log
Allows Event Log messages from applications to be viewed in Event Viewer. Always helpful to check out the Event Log to see what problems with applications are popping up that is "hidden" from the normal user. Windows Management Instrumentation also Requires Event Log Service to be running.
Recommend: Automatic

Fast User Switching Compatibility
Unless you have many users on a system (more than 3), you probably do not even need this service to be running.
Recommend: Disabled

Fax Service
Not installed by default, but if needed, you may install it later off of the WinXP CD.
Recommend: Leave not installed or Disabled

FTP Publishing Service
Not installed by default, but if needed, you may install it later off of the WinXP CD. Used to provide a FTP server on your network.
Recommend: Leave not installed or Disabled

Help and Support
Required for Microsoft online help documents.
Recommend: Automatic

(HID) Human Interface Device Access
Used for specific peripherals.
Recommend: Automatic

IIS Admin
Not installed by default, but if needed, you may install it later off of the WinXP CD. Usually used in conjunction with local web site or FTP servers.
Recommend: Leave not installed or Disabled unless you really want it.

IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service
Used for that cool "drag and drop" CD burn capability. You will need this service to burn CD's.
Recommend: Automatic

Indexing Service
This has always and forever been a major resource hog. Remove the function via the "Add/Remove Programs" icon in the control panel (Windows Setup Programs.)
Recommend: Disabled or even better, uninstalled

Intel NMS
Intel NIC management service. Component that controls the Intel NIC cards.
Recommend: Automatic

This service is installed with Windows XP PowerToys. Uses 1.4 MB to 2 MB EACH! This service will fire off at least 2 (system and user) instances of this process.
Recommend: Disable

Internet Connection - Firewall (ICF)
Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network.
Recommend: Automatic

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Used to allow multiple computers on your network to access the Internet via only one account.
Recommend: Disabled

IPSEC Services
May be required on some domains, but the "average" user will not need this.
Recommend: Disabled

Installed by Lexmark USB printer you may get the error"microsoft activesync causing instant pc reboot upon USB connection." This is caused by this service.
Recommend: Disable

Logical Disk Manager
Vital to run the Disk Management MMC console for dynamic volumes.
Recommend: Disabled

Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service
Vital to run the Disk Management MMC console for dynamic volumes.
Recommend: Disabled

Machine Debug Manager Service
Manages local and remote debugging for Visual Studio debuggers
Recommend: Disable unless you use a visual studio like VB 6 enterprise or .NET.

McAfee Firewall
This service is only for those that use McAfee Firewall software. It's best to set this to Manual and then open it when you plan on using the internet, otherwise it just eats memory. Be sure to disable automatic startup within Firewall itself before resetting the service configuration.
Recommend: Disable

Installed by, McAfee on Access Scanner. This service is also only for those that use McAfee Virus Scan software. McAfee usually runs a large number of unecessary processes in the background, even when not connected to the internet or when McAfee is closed. It's best to set this to Manual and then open McAfee Virus Scan when you plan on using the internet or are handling potentially hazardous files. Recommend: Disable

Media Manager Indexer
Part of MS Visual InterDev, Media Manager is an easy media file management system that works in conjunction with Windows Explorer. The Media Manager Indexer is a program that indexes all the information about your media files and puts it into a database. Depends on Remote procedure call. If you don't use this feature then disable it.
Recommend: Automatic

Message Queuing
Not installed by default, but if needed, you may install it later off of the WinXP CD. May be used on some domains, but the "average" home user will never need this service.
Recommend: Leave not installed or Disabled

Message Queuing Triggers
Not installed by default, but if needed, you may install it later off of the WinXP CD. Required if you use Message Queuing service.
Recommend: Leave not installed or Disabled

Sends messages between clients and servers. Not needed under normal "home" conditions.
This has nothing to do with MSN Messenger.
Recommend: Disabled

MS Software Shadow Copy Provider
Used in conjunction with the Volume Shadow Copy Service. MS Backup uses these services. You will receive, in the Event Log, a entry complaining about not having this service running if Disabled.
Recommend: Disabled

Net Login
Used for logging onto a Domain Controller.
Recommend: Disabled

NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
Enables a user to access your computer using NetMeeting.
Recommend: Disabled

Network Connections
Required for managing network connectivity. Set to Disabled if you have no network or you do not toy with the configurations a lot.
Recommend: Automatic

Network DDE
Unless you use remote ClipBook, Disable it.
Recommend: Disabled

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