Is your web server running unnecessary software? Page 5
It may take a while to figure out which software you don't need and then to make sure they aren't started at boot time. But even after you've configured them to not start, they may still be currently running. You may be able to stop them by running the appropriate System V-type script by using the "stop" command-line argument. (Note that you didn't previously remove these scripts; you just removed the symlinks.) For example, to stop sendmail, you can try: "/etc/rc.d/rc.d/sendmail stop". Of course, you can always use ps to find the PIDs and then use kill to stop them. (Or your system may have a killall command where you can use the process name as the argument.)
It is a good idea to test your system after you've made major changes to make sure the correct programs start at boot time -- and the other programs aren't started. You could test it by rebooting, or stopping everything and then running the appropriate rc script that starts everything again, or by using init to change between modes (or runlevels).
(I am curious about what other superfluous services are installed by default. And, I am interested in examples of compromised security due to unneeded services installed by default. Also, have you noticed any dramatic performance changes since uninstalling unneeded services? Share your comments below.)