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Disabling the Evil of iTunes Services on your Windows PC

I love my iPhone, but I hate iTunes. Without a doubt it is the most wretched piece of software on my machine. The interface is counterintuitive and difficult to navigate, and seems to get worse with each release. Bad UI I can live with, what really annoys is its virus-like behavior – installing unecessary software and services, constant reminders to update or add more services, and not one, not two, but three services running on your machine at all time. One of which is constantly sniffing around on your network…. Clearly something must be done.

The first thing to fix after any iTunes installation is to remove two startup items. Without your knowledge, iTunes has added set two programs to run every time Windows is booted – supposedly to check for updates. Disable them by going to the “Run” menu, type “msconfig”, go to the startup tab, and disable both QuickTime and iTunes.

Next, let’s disable those *three* services that iTunes has installed. The worst is the Bonjour Service, which sniffs your network for shared music or other Apple devices. If you have an AppleTV or other Apple devices in your house it might be necessary, but for most people is completely worthless. Go to Control Panel, Admistrative Tools, Services. Stop the Bonjour service and set it to Disabled. Next time you start iTunes it will complain that Bonjour isn’t running, but ignore it.

While you’re in services, set both the “iPod Service” and “Apple Mobile Device” to Manual. As best as I can tell, these are required to sync with iTunes, but there’s no reason for these to run when iTunes is not running, so we’ll correct that in a moment. At the very least, disabling these services will help improve boot times, and I believe disabling these helps improve stability – particularly when other USB devices are connected.

Finally, we want these services to run while we have iTunes open for syncing, but no other times. Easy enough to fix with a simple batch file, with the following five lines:

net start "Apple Mobile Device"
net start "iPod Service"

"C:\Program Files\iTunes\itunes.exe"

net stop "iPod Service"
net stop "Apple Mobile Device"

Use a shortcut to this batch file instead of a shortcut to iTunes, and it will start the dependent services, open iTunes, and then stop the services when iTunes closes (like iTunes *should* do).