Turn Off Unnecessary Services

What are services?

When talking about computers, "services" generally refer to programs that listen for and respond to network traffic. Other services allow direct access to your computer. Examples include:

  • Web servers, file servers, FTP servers, email and proxy servers
  • Remote access programs such as Remote Desktop
  • Open ports
  • Allowing others open access to your computer and your files (this includes guest accounts, which shold be disabled)

Why turn off unnecessary services?

  • Many computer break-ins are a result of people taking advantage of security holes or problems with these programs.
  • The more services that are running on your computer, the more opportunities there are for others to use them, break into or take control of your computer through them.
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How can you tell if services are necessary?

If you need assistance determining what services your computer is running or determining whether they are appropriate, contact the ITS Support Center. In general, services are necessary if:

  • There's a clear University business or educational need for them
  • They are generally appropriate given your role at the University
  • They don't allow anonymous access or guest access to your computer or files unless there is a specific business need to do so (this is normally controlled with file sharing settings)

Services also must not:

  • Introduce a security risk
  • Interfere with other University resources or the network
  • Create an excessive burden on campus infrastructure or resources

Additional recommendations for mobile devices and laptops:

  • Disable Bluetooth, wireless & IrDA (infrared) when you're not actively using them
  • Periodically go through the device's list of allowed wireless services and delete ones no longer needed (usually found under network, wireless, or airport settings)
  • Set your device to "ask" before connecting to unknown wireless networks
  • Disable or remove applications (apps) and plug-ins that you don't actively use


Contact the ITS Support Center if you would like your computer configured to meet these requirements. If you have questions, contact the Support Center or your ITS Divisional Liaison.

(Back to Minimum Requirements Main Page)

Rev. April 2014