After my article Windows 10 Creators Update — Back Up Now to Avoid Catastrophic Loss on Upgrading, long-time reader Richard Fuller wrote with two unrelated questions.
The second one was:
I’m also concerned about an item that’s suddenly appeared in my Win7 start menu—iSCSI Initiator. I’ve Googled it but have no idea what all the ridiculous jargon that’s supposed to explain it means. I have only a standalone desktop PC (no ‘phones, tablets, etc.) and, apart from the traditional email and internet functions, have no desire to connect with any online storage, which is what it appears to be about. Thus my questions are:
- Is this feature of any use to me?
- Does it pose a security risk?
- Will it slow down my modem’s normal functions? Being compelled to use a slow old copper ‘phone line is bad enough as it is.
- Can I, and should I, remove or disable it without crippling some other part of the OS?
No doubt there are others among your subscribers who have similar concerns and would be glad to have advice in terms a normal person can understand.
I wrote back to Richard to say that iSCSI Initaitor is a specialized program. In his case, based on his description, I doubt it is dealing with online storage, but maybe a local storage on your network. For example, it can be used to connect your computer to an external hard drive — via Ethernet (in other words, across your home network) — if the external drive (or NAS — Networked Attached Storage) is built and configured to use iSCSI.
I couldn’t give him a clean bill of health for removing it, as it might be needed if you have such external storage. However, if it is in your Startup folder, you could use WinPatrol to disable it. Then, if you miss some functionality, re-enabling it via WinPatrol is easy.
Long-time readers will be familiar with my thoughts about WinPatrol. It’s one of the first programs I install on every computer I use. It is available with “free” and “paid” WinPatrol Plus licenses — WinPatrol Plus unlocks additional WinPatrol functions as well as providing access to WinPatrol’s online database of programs for recommendations (safe, safe to uninstall, should uninstall, etc.).
If iSCSI is a Windows Service, then you can stop the service by opening a command window (cmd.exe) and using services.msc to stop the service. Services.msc can also be used to change the service from auto-starting to "manual" starting or even to disable the service, all without actually uninstalling the service. Reversing that in order to re-enable the service is equally easy.
Richard wrote back to say:
Many thanks indeed, Terry— I didn’t expect a personal response. Now, why can’t others explain such matters in terms a normal human can understand, as you do?
I do use an external HDD for image backups, but this has worked perfectly well on the same machine for years before iSCSI elbowed its way onto the Start menu. Therefore it seems likely that none of the components of this five-year-old machine were "built and configured to use iSCSI", so I’ll follow your advice and use WinPatrol to disable it.
Thanks again for your help—very grateful.
All the best,