Ok, I maybe wrong, didn't test but If you uninstall watchdog timer and the ICC stuff XTU won't work. I would think it be better to just uninstall XTU, it should remove those things I think, but you can always clean things up afterward. I don't even have those last bits in device manager (Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework). Guess my Z77 is too old. On MEI, you just need to check what versions each one supports ( don't think it will install if MB is too old). I know I have updated it few times, some came with XTU install. I also did firmware, standalone. I am on ver 126.96.36.1996 for MEI and Watchdog timer version 10.0 39, I know they're up to 12.xx or something now for MEI. AgentA01 where did you set drivers to manual, that sounds more like service thing? Anyway, games I run are smooth for the most part.