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How to close programs and services before gaming?

Last response: in Video Games
December 4, 2007 10:08:15 AM


here is another question to those PC gamers out there.
I have a high end SLI home PC.....I do not just use it for games, i use it for everything.

that presents the following problem: I run Vista 32

I want to play a game, all the other services are up and running.....firewall, virus, spam dedection, various Logitech and Razor services...etc etc etc etc.

Now I can manually close some of this, also open "services" close some more.
This takes minutes and minutes.

Is there a faster way to load some form of game setting/profile/user account without having to manually dig around and close programs for 10 minutes.

My machine can actually run all games with everything loaded but then sometimes certain processes Acronis starts a backup, or a Diskeeper wants to defrag a drive etc.

Any suggestions?
December 4, 2007 5:12:56 PM

Would it be possible to have those services run on a certain user? Like have an all/office user and a game user?

Since I only game, I don't have many services/programs running at all. I don't do any office work at home, I keep my work at work (on this POS comp...)
December 4, 2007 5:53:01 PM

Things that do disk access should be set so they run when nothing else is happening, like putting Diskeeper in screen saver mode.

Perhaps you should start your games with a batch file, that includes the /high command. That gives the game a higher priority than the other programs, so it gets more resources. It made a big difference for me when running bf2142. Looks like this:

@echo on
cd /d "C:\Program Files\Battlefield 2142"
start "" /HIGH /WAIT /B BF2142.exe
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December 4, 2007 5:54:22 PM

That works in XP, but it's probably been kept around for Vista, as I haven't seen anything to say it doesn't work there.
December 4, 2007 5:56:04 PM

There is a post somewhere in here about the same thing. There is actually a program you can use where you can select what services / apps. you want to stop running while gaming, and once you stop gaming, they all resume. I'll try to find it for you.
December 4, 2007 6:03:22 PM

in vista theres this service thing shows all service programs and if theyre running you can start/stop them (like how you turn off search indexer).
December 4, 2007 8:24:36 PM

@echo on
cd /d "C:\Program Files\Battlefield 2142"
start "" /HIGH /WAIT /B BF2142.exe

Errrr could you do that from the command prompt in Vista?
December 5, 2007 4:37:32 AM

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I think this could be something down the road for a VISTA SP.....a dedicated game mode......just like the Safe Mode....that could be booted into from the Welcome Screen.

I am not that familiar with the command prompts.....the DOS mode in VISTA is no longer, one can get an add on program to simulate the command prompt mode.

However I just checked the SHORTCUT PROPERTIES from the VISTA START FOLDER (not the Game Folder) and maybe here I can try this /HIGH /WAIT command.....

will give it a try.

Still like to know if there is an easy more foolproof way to stop unnecessary services in Vista.
December 5, 2007 9:08:19 AM

the DOS mode in VISTA is no longer
You can still open up a command prompt, by typing in cmd into the search or the run box, but I think (I might be completely wrong here!) it just emulates the 16 bit environment of MS-DOS instead of previous versions of Windows which could actually run it in 16 bit mode natively.

I did this same thing a few days ago, however it was on an XP rig and I don't have a vista setup to hand to test if it will work with vista. Might be worth giving it a try though.

In a batch file, use the command "net stop <service name>"

For example, the following script would stop the Help and Support and Automatic Updates services (this is based on XP service names - you will need to check what they are in vista)

@echo off
net stop helpsvc
net stop wuauserv

If you create a second batch file, using "net start" instead of "net stop", you can use this to restart the services after you finish gaming - e.g. to restart the services above, it would be:

@echo off
net start helpsvc
net start wuauserv

Hope this helps!
December 5, 2007 12:47:32 PM

I know what you mean, I've been trying to do this for ages. I've normally gone to the Computer Manager in Windows and set the startup types for the services that I know I don't need to "manual". That has issues in itself, and doesn't provide a comprehensive solution, nor are you able to customise it for different profiles.

But I've finally found an app that might help.
Autoruns by Sysinternals

It works similar to MSCONFIG in that it allows you to select what apps you wish to set to startup. You may be able to select what services you want to run on startup, I just haven't work out how to do that yet as I've only just downloaded it. MSCONFIG was designed specifically for debugging, and doesn't seem to work well as a permanent solution.

To give you an understanding of what happens in Windows: the programs that startup when Windows starts up, are normally listed in 4 places:
1. In the start menu under

2. In the registry under
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run

3. and
\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run
(also remember that \HKEY_CURRENT_USER has an exact copy under \HKEY_USERS\#YourProfileName#, but are essentially the same entry)

4. Services are started from another registry entry, although they can be edited by going to Computer Manager.

By going through these you can see what Windows starts up for every user, and what applications are specific to your profile. Remember: YOU EDIT YOUR REGISTRY AT YOUR OWN RISK, but by looking at those keys you can at least see what Windows is doing in the background. If you've at anytime wondered where all those processes that are listed in your Task Manager came from, it is mostly from those 4 places.

Re above:
Changing the priority of processes (as what is advised above) should be done carefully, as it can cause Windows to do some strange things, and some AV scanners etc have some weird ways of not playing nicely when you start messing with process priorities, and so that may not help in everyone's circumstances.

Re the DOS command prompt, it works the same in Vista, you've just got to get the Run... option to show in your start menu. I think you can find the option by right clicking on your start button -> properties -> customize, or something like that. I don't have Vista in front of me to tell you exactly where, but I'm sure you can find it.

BTW if you don't already know, you can now manage your services from the Task Manager in Vista, otherwise you can access the services manager by right clicking on your "My Computer" icon and selecting Manage.. then select Services. Take it from me, go to tweakhound or something to find out what Vista services are necessary, don't just switch off services arbitrarily, as you can really bring your system to a crawl and you might get some strange behaviour from Vista.

Well anyway, I hope this aids you in your persuit of the lost CPU cycles. just be careful, you're treading into the arcane, and DO A BACKUP BEFORE YOU START CHANGING STUFF!

December 5, 2007 8:45:13 PM

Hi Carl,

we just as I thought, there is no easy way.
I better stay with just manaually clsoing some programs and services.

Recently I messed around with the services a bit and now PC won't start a few programs.

Have to do a restore.

Anyway I hope in the future someone comes up with a better and easier solutiuon

January 4, 2009 3:09:13 AM

Well I am in persuit for something similar

I found am optimizing software ,XPsmoker....It contains an option called "game mode" were I think it stops some services.(and the look and feel of Xp changes to some old fashion)

But it may no help u as it is 'XPsmoker' and using vista.Perhaps this coment can help you to find some optimizers for vista too.........Good Luck
September 11, 2009 10:16:14 AM

While this has not been active for a long time I was still pointed here in search of a solution so figured I would add my solution to this problem....

There are two options which need to be run in order to achieve this HOWEVER only one of them has an option to restart the stopped settings automatically that I have figured out. I would suggest that a system restart is run if you want to return to your original settings....

First jot down the list of SERVICES and PROCESSES you wish to stop / close
Press [windows key]+R and typing CMD in the provided option - this will open your command prompt
now type EDIT GAMEMODE.BAT [enter]
Type the following between the { } without typing the { }

NET / STOP [service name]


TASKKILL /IM [process name]


The NET /STOP [service name] should be repeated for each service you want to stop and the same goes for the TASKKILL /IM [process name]

For more help on these two commands simply type NET /? or TASKKILL /? from the command line and all the available options will shown - you might want to truncate this a text file for easier viewing (NET /? >TEXTFILE.TXT)

Now simply create a desktop shortcut to the GAMEMODE.BAT file and run this before playing your games

Hope this helps.......I am pretty certain that some developer out there will make an opensource application to do something like this however it would require user configuration first as each system has different process / services which can be closed depending on that system. Cannot think how this could be 100% automated?

September 11, 2009 12:01:08 PM

Really, you shouldn't need to shut down services, as most of them don't use any significant horsepower to run...Sure, if you have a P4, every extra bit of power helps, but with any Core2, I simply don't see shutting off servicies leading to extra FPS.

Easiest solution is to simply disable via msconfig which ones you don't want to automatically run.
September 11, 2009 1:43:00 PM

Why not just go into task manager and kill them.
Then when you reboot they all magically reappear.
September 11, 2009 5:28:53 PM

^^ Because thats not safe, won't recover much RAM, etc. Plus, services can't be killed that way, they have to manually be shut down.
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