I've just started working with a new laptop and I've been killing some hours customizing it just to my liking. One phase of those customizations is making sure no extraneous processes are running on my computer. I don't want any process that I don't need using up my memory, slowing down my CPU, or interacting with the network in unknown ways. A potential goldmine for finding such processes is in the Services control panel. My default install of Windows XP came with over 80 installed services, approximately half of which were started and running at bootup time. The problem of course with just randomly stopping services that don't appear to be useful is that it isn't always obvious how useful services are, and stopping them can make stuff stop working. I usually would just do a Google search for the service name and find some site that explains what it is for. This works fine but can be a bit slow. I recently found a great site that provides information and advice specifically for the task of weeding out one's services. The Elder Geek explains what each service does in both Microsoft-speak as well as "Real World" lingo and also provides recommendations on who might need the service and how to configure it. An invaluable resource for people that want to squeeze every spare resource out of their machines.