Windows 7 Optimization – Disable Services

Looking to virtualize Windows 7 and deliver it as a virtual desktop?  Good for you!  But what are you going to do to the operating system to optimize it?  Not sure?  How about disable some services.  That always saves resources.  There are so many, which ones make the most sense?

Let’s assume you are using XenDesktop and Provisioning services single image management. That means changes made during the user session are deleted upon reboot.  If we keep that in mind, we have a better idea of what services we can disable because their value is severely diminished if changes are not stored across reboots.  Additionally, there are some services we don’t need or want in our corporate environment and others we don’t think are important but our users definitely want.

Service Recommendation Justification
Background Intelligent Transfer Service Disable This service uses idle network bandwidth to fetch updates for the system, like Windows Update. As we will disable these other services that rely on BITS, we can disable BITS.
Defender Disable Most enterprise deployments will have their own anti-malware solutions. As the corporate version will most likely be used, the integrated service should be disabled.
Desktop Windows Manager Session Manager Disable This service is responsible for Windows 7 Aero theme. First, the current XenDesktop agent (4.0) does not allow for the remoting of Aero. Second, organizations need to determine if Aero theme is something they wish to support at a later date.
Function Discovery Resource Publication Disable This service published the computer information onto the network so others can find them. This functionality is typically not required in an enterprise environment
HomeGroup listener Disable Responsible for HomeGroup membership. As the virtual Windows 7 desktops will most likely be in a domain model, the homegroup functionality is not required.
HomeGroup provider Disable
Indexing Service Modify or Disable Creates an index of local and remote files to allow for faster searching. As this information is created and stored locally, the indexes will be destroyed upon each reboot due to the read-only configuration of the Provisioning services image. That means each reboot will start with a blank index. However, indexing can be redirected to the user’s home directory to allow for faster searches, but at the expense of scalability.
Offline Files Disable Responsible for management and maintenance and synchronization of offline files. As the virtual desktops will online, within the data center, there is little need for Offline File support.
SuperFetch Disable Tries to improve system performance over time by “learning” the typical user activity. This information is stored within the operating system, which means it is deleted upon each reboot and provides little value in a virtual desktop environment.
System Restore Disable Service creates system snapshots and restore points. This functionality is unneeded as the virtual desktop is based on a golden, read-only image.
Windows Update Disable Provides updates to the Windows 7 operating system. Updates should be managed via the single image of Provisioning services. Additionally, any updates installed will be deleted upon reboot when the virtual desktop reverts to the golden image state.
Themes Potentially Allows users to manage the themes, which includes backgrounds, sounds and visual effects. Although this service does take resources and will impact overall scalability, each organization needs to determine if this functionality should be supported. It does allow the user to better personalize the environment and helps improve acceptance.

You agree? Disagree? Any other services we should shut down?

Daniel – Lead Architect

4 thoughts on “Windows 7 Optimization – Disable Services”

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