By Nick Peers
Lee Whittington has released version 2.0 of his Services-tweaking utility, SMART Windows Services Tweaker. SMART, an acronym for Services Management And Realeasy Tweaking, offers a number of preset options for tweaking Windows Services to boost both startup time and overall performance.
Version 2.0 features a redesigned interface, a new custom settings option, plus the ability to find out more about selected Services via a Microsoft Bing web search or by visiting the relevant page on the BlackViper website, which is used by SMART to determine the settings for each of the three available preset options.
Windows Services are background programs loaded at startup. They consume their fair share of resources, and like most aspects of Windows, are configured for maximum compatibility rather than performance. Services can be managed via the Services management console — type services.msc into the Run dialogue box — but it can be difficult knowing what each Service represents and if it’s safe to disable or switch to manual.
The Black Viper website provides detailed information about each and every system Service running on PCs, and also includes a series of recommended settings based on how far end users wish to push their system performance in relation to stability and compatibility.
While it’s possible to tweak individual Services manually using the Services console and following the advice on the Black Viper website, it’s a fiddly and time-consuming process. SMART simplifies the process by offering three preset settings based on Black Viper’s own recommendations: Safe, Moderate and Advanced. The program creates a Restore point before making any changes, plus there is a Defaults button to restore the system to its original state should the tweaks prove more harmful than beneficial.
Version 2.0 has redesigned the interface, plus tweaked how Services are configured or viewed — double-click to view more details about an individual Service (complete with links to a Bing search or Black Viper), or right-click to configure individual services manually. Custom settings can then be saved for future use, allowing the user to quickly and easily switch between different configurations. It’s not recommended for novices, but so long as you’ve created a System Restore point or even taken a drive image of your hard drive, you should find even dipping your toe into the water by selecting the Safe option will provide a moderate, but noticeable, speed boost without any side effects.
SMART 2.0 requires Windows XP or later, and is free for personal and non-commercial use.