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Improving performance by limiting running processes

I use Process Explorer in place of the regular Windows task manager, but I am not always sure which programs I can trust. Are there any give-aways that I should be looking for? Are there any common Windows processes that I can kill or suspend that would improve my PC's performance?
Disabling Windows services is a very tricky territory since you can break a lot of things or even keep Windows from booting altogether. Mark Russinovich, creator of Process Explorer, wrote a blog on this running PCs with limited processes that I highly recommend.

This was first published in September 2006

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