What do you do before launching that demanding PC game? In the past I had created a custom Startup Procedure through Startup Cop, a PC Magazine Utility (pops).
Now I use another utility from PC Mag entitled EndItAll 2 to close all uncessary applications. When I am done gaming I just restart Windows.
Today on Digg (pops) I discovered a FREE method of batch starting/stoping services via this link tech-recipes.com/batch_file_programming_tips235.html(pops)
For more information on services check out MajorGeeks, which has archived Black Viper's Services Guide for WinXP (pops).
Happy and smooth gaming!