To check for a particular process, you open the Windows Task Manager. This is done by hitting Control + Shift + Escape on the keyboard. Click the processes tab when the task manager appears, and you should see something like the following:
Qttask.exe - This is the QuickTime system tray and is not at all needed.
To disable it:
Right click the QuickTime icon in the system tray and choose "QuickTime Preferences"
In the preferences window that appears click the "advanced" tab and uncheck the tick box next to "Install QuickTime icon in system tray" then click "ok"
Jusched.exe - This is the Java Automatic Update process and is not needed, most people just prefer to manually download new JRE releases
To disable it:
Click the start button, and then open the control panel. Double click on the "Java" icon
In the Java windows that appears click the "Update" tab then uncheck the tick box next to "Check for updates automatically. Then click OK.
Ctfmon.exe - Ctfmon.exe monitors the active windows and provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation, and other alternative user input technologies in Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Office 2003.
Quit all Office programs.
Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. NOTE: In Windows XP, click Start and then click Control Panel.
In Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs. NOTE: In Windows XP, click Add or Remove Programs.
In the Currently installed programs list, click to select Microsoft Office XP product, where Office XP product is the name of the specific Office product being used. If you are using a standalone version of one of the Office programs, click to select the appropriate product in the list. Click Change.
In the Maintenance Mode Options dialog box, select Add or Remove Features, and then click next. This displays the Choose installation options for all Office applications and tools dialog box.
Click the plus sign (+) next to Office Shared Features to expand it.
Click the icon next to Alternative User Input, and then select Not Available.
NOTE: If you have multiple Office XP products installed, for example, Office XP Professional and Publisher 2002, you must repeat the preceding steps for each installed product.
Step 2: Remove Alternative User Input Services from Text Services
Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
In the Control Panel, double-click Text Services. NOTE: In Windows XP, click Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options, and then click Regional and Language Options. On the Languages tab, click Details.
Under Installed Services, select each input item that is listed, and then click Remove to remove the item. All items must be removed, one by one, except the following input service:
English (United States)- default Keyboard United States 101
step 3: Run Regsvr32 /U on the Msimtf.dll and Msctf.dll Files
Click Start and then click Run.
In the Run dialog box, type the following command:
Regsvr32.exe /u msimtf.dll
Repeat steps 1 through 3 for the Msctf.dll file.
WISPTIS.EXE -This executable runs as a system service that provides pen-data collection for other components of the SDK. When a component needs to interact with the pen (for example, to collect ink or to detect gestures), this executable is spawned as a service to communicate directly with the input device. On a Tablet PC, Wisptis.exe interacts with the digitizer, whereas on a desktop it interacts with the mouse as well.
There is an excellent article on BoredGuru.com that describes how to disable the WISPTIS.EXE process.
Wdfmgr.exe This is included with Windows Media Player 10 and adds support for windows user mode drivers. It's not at all needed and can be disabled.
Click the start button and then click on "run". In the run box type "services.msc" then click OK.
In the Services window that appears scroll down to find the "Windows User Mode Driver Framework" service. Double click on it.
In the properties window that appears click the box to the right of the "startup type" text. Choose disabled. Now click the "stop" button. Then click "OK" and close the services window.
After killing off and preventing un-needed processes from loading some people notice a general performance improvement and a decrease in startup time. At the very least you'll have more free ram for running useful applications
I'll be adding more to this thread as I come across more un-needed processes that like to run in the background, wasting memory resources. If anyone has any comments or wish to contribute to this guide, feel free to post them here.