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Encyclopedia > Windows service

A Windows service is an application that starts when the Microsoft Windows operating system is booted and runs in the background as long as Windows is running. It is very similar in concept to a Unix daemon. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the lead section of this article may need to be expanded. ... // An operating system (OS) is a set of computer programs that manage the hardware and software resources of a computer. ... In computing, booting (booting up) is a bootstrapping process that starts operating systems when the user turns on a computer system. ... Filiation of Unix and Unix-like systems Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX®) is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy. ... In Unix and other computer multitasking operating systems, a daemon is a computer program that runs in the background, rather than under the direct control of a user; they are usually instantiated as processes. ...


Once a service is installed, its attributes can be modified by launching "Services" from the Windows Control Panel Administrative tools. Control Panel in Windows Vista Control Panel in Windows XP Classic View of the Control Panel in Windows XP Control Panel is a part of the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface which allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls, such as adding hardware, adding and removing...

Contents

Background

A Windows Service is created using development tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio. Windows provides an interface called the Service Control Manager that manages the starting and stopping of services. An application that wants to be a service needs to first be written in such a way that it can handle start|stop|pause|... messages from the Service Control Manager. Then, in one or more API calls, the name of the service and other attributes such as its description are registered with the Service Control Manager. In Windows Vista, users can also manipulate services through a simpler interface using MSConfig. [1] The Windows Service Control Manager (SCM) is a remote procedure call (RPC) server that manages creating, deleting, starting and stopping of Windows services. ... An application programming interface (API) is a source code interface that a computer system or program library provides to support requests for services to be made of it by a Length. ... Windows Vista is a line of graphical operating systems used on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, Tablet PCs, and media centers. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Permissions and implementation

By default Windows services are run under the virtual user "LocalSystem" that has ultimate administrative rights on the system. LocalSystem has some privileges that none other administrative accounts have, such as creating logon tokens and locking pages in memory.


Since this is not a real user, this presents some challenges if user-specific data needs to be stored by the application, as there is no home directory for this user. LocalSystem also has no access to network file shares and similar resources; if a service needs to access files on the network, it generally needs to be configured to run as a domain user with access to those files.


Windows services can be set up to run as any user although running as a user other than the default requires storing a password. It is important to consider that as soon as the password is changed, the service will not run unless the password provided for the service is also changed. A password is a form of secret authentication data that is used to control access to a resource. ...


When a service runs as LocalSystem, Windows allows the user to configure it so it is "allowed to interact with desktop" (that is, display user-visible dialog boxes and other windows). However, if running as any other user, this option is not available.


The more secure approach to deploying services is to configure them to run under accounts with limited permissions. The two other virtual user accounts, LocalService and NetworkService, are provided for this purpose.


Main Windows services

The description applies to Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista. The services are listed by their name in the Services section of the Administrative Tools of Windows. Windows 2000 (also referred to as Win2K) is a preemptive, interruptible, graphical and business-oriented operating system that was designed to work with either uniprocessor or symmetric multi-processor 32-bit Intel x86 computers. ... Windows XP is a line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on general-purpose computer systems, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers. ... Windows Vista is a line of graphical operating systems used on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, Tablet PCs, and media centers. ...


Alerter

  • program name: services.exe
  • service name: Alerter
  • description: Notifies selected users and computers of administrative alerts.
  • dependency: Workstation
  • depends from it: None

If the user doesn't want to receive administrative alerts, this service can be put to "Disabled" without any effect on the stability of the system.


Application Management

  • program name: services.exe
  • service name: AppMgmt
  • description: Provides software installation services such as Assign, Publish, and Remove.
  • dependency: None
  • depends from it: None

Essentially used for the installation of software from a server in a networked environment. Can be "Disabled" by a non-networked user without any effect on the usual installation of software on a machine.


Automatic Update

  • program name: svchost.exe -k wugroup
  • service name: wuauserv
  • description: Enables the download and installation of critical Windows updates. If the service is disabled, the operating system can be manually updated at the Windows Update Web site.
  • dependency: None
  • depends from it: None

This service must be left in "Automatic" mode to receive automatic updates from Microsoft servers or if the Windows Security Center service is activated. If disabled, the user can still perform manual update on Microsoft web site.


Background Intelligent Transfer Service

  • program name: svchost.exe -k BITSgroup
  • service name: BITS
  • description: Transfers files in the background using idle network bandwidth. If the service is disabled, then any functions that depend on BITS, such as Windows Update or MSN Explorer will be unable to automatically download programs and other information.
  • dependency: Remote Procedure Call (RPC), System Event Notification, Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extension
  • depends from it: None

This service must be left in "Automatic mode" if the "Automatic Update" service is activated, or if there is a lot of data transfert between the computer and the network.


ClipBook

  • program name: clipsvr.exe
  • service name: ClipSvr
  • description: Supports ClipBook Viewer, which allows pages to be seen by remote ClipBooks.
  • dependency: Network DDE
  • depends from it: None

If the computer is not sharing any file with remote computers through a network, this service can be left "Disabled" for security. Disabling the service doesn't impact on the Shared Files folder on a local network.


See also

The Windows Service Control Manager (SCM) is a remote procedure call (RPC) server that manages creating, deleting, starting and stopping of Windows services. ... In computing, mechanisms and techniques for managing services often differ by operating system. ... In Unix and other computer multitasking operating systems, a daemon is a computer program that runs in the background, rather than under the direct control of a user; they are usually instantiated as processes. ...

External links

  • MSDN - Microsoft's MSDN Library Documentation on Services
  • INSTSRV.EXE - a Windows resource kit program that allows you to install an arbitrary application as a service
  • SrvAny/InstSrv Tutorial - SrvAny and InstSrv Tutorial with many Screenshots

 
 

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