Managing Windows Services – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.4

The Windows Services console provides central management for all of your services. In this video, you’ll learn how to start, manage, and configure service options in Windows.
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When you’re using the Windows operating system, we’re accustomed to using the applications like our browser, our word processing program, or perhaps a spreadsheet. These are interactive programs that we as users use our mouse and our keyboard to interact with.

But there are a number of applications that are running behind the scenes that don’t require any user intervention, and these are running is something called Services. These services may be something like your antivirus program that’s always in the background and always scanning the system and protecting your computer.

Or maybe it’s the built in process to index all of the files that are in your Windows storage where you might see the hard drive working, even though we’re not doing anything on the desktop, because these services may be running behind the scenes.

If you’re trying to troubleshoot something like the start up process, you might want to look at these services because a number of these services start up when you start your computer. And you may want to determine, if you’re having an error, perhaps it’s being caused by one of these built in services.

We’re going to manage our services from the Windows graphical front end but, there are also commands that you can use to do this at the command line. You can use things like net start and net stop to be able to start and stop services. So if you have access to a machine, but you don’t have a graphical display, you can still control these services right from the command line.

If you want to view these services, you’ll find them in the Control Panel under Administrative Tools. There’s an option for Services. You could also perform a start run and simply run services.msc.

Let’s start our Services view. I’m going to go to my Start menu. I can either run services.msc directly from there. You’ll also find it in your Control Panel under Administrative Tools. There’s an option with these cogs, these little gears that are here, for Services.

These services will look very much like the Microsoft Management Console. This is a pre-made, pre-loaded management console view with your options on the left side. The option you really only have is services in this view. And then the center view, which shows us all of the services in this extended view. So you can click on a particular service and get the description on the left side.

If you want a wider view, you can use the standard view, which includes the description as part of the information that’s on the screen so that you can see it all in one place. You’ll also notice in these views, that you not only see the name and the description, you can see the status of the service, whether it has been started or not.

You can also see the type of start up. Maybe this is something that you must start manually, or perhaps it’s one that starts up automatically. You can also see who’s running the service. You can see, is it logging on as the local service? Maybe it’s logging on as the local system? Maybe it’s running as a network service. Each one of these log ons is going to provide a different type of authentication and access to your computer, so sometimes it’s important to know that piece of information.

We can choose any service that we’re looking at. Maybe we’d like to see our COM+ event system, this is supporting the System Event Notification Service. This is important if you’re running these Microsoft applications that are based on that COM model.

If we right mouse click, we can stop the service, start the service, or restart it. We can also look at the properties of the service to see exactly what’s inside of this. So every one of these services has this properties view where you can view information about what is really running. What executable starts up to have that particular service running.

You can also change this if you don’t want it to automatically start up, or you would like to wait before it automatically begins, you can set configurations there. If you don’t want this to run at all without your manual intervention. You could even set it to Manual if that’s what you like to do. Or, tell it never, ever start this service, by setting it to Disabled.

You’ve also got buttons here that allow you to start and stop the service. You could drill down into it and perform your stopping and starting of the service right here. You can also see how the service is logging on so that you can give this service the proper rights and permissions to do what it needs to do.

You’ve also got some recovery options. Sometimes, services don’t run exactly as we would hope. They hit a particular problem, and then they’ll stop, they’ll fail. And when they stop, you have the option to determine what happens next. Does it simply stop, and that’s it? Maybe perhaps you set it to restart the service, or maybe it runs a program to notify you that the service has stopped, or maybe you restart the computer completely.

Maybe this is a system that’s supposed to always be running with this service, and if it fails we’ll just start everything from scratch again. You also have a list of dependencies. There are some services that require that other services are running at the same time before it can start.

And you can see that this service depends on the remote procedure call, which also depends on the DCOM server process launcher and the RPC endpoint mapper. There are also other services that are dependent on this service. So we have a list of those, which are the background intelligent transfer service, the complex system application, and so on and so on.

So if you’re trying to determine what’s going to happen if I stop this service, you’ll know that all of these other components are going to stop as well. And if you stop any of these that are up higher like the remote procedure call, it would not only stop your service, but also everything else underneath that as well.

This is exactly where you would go if you were running into a troubleshooting issue that you were trying to resolve. For instance, if I scroll down just a bit, one that you often go to is the print spooler. And you might have a situation where your print spooler is failing, so you can send information to be printed, but it never shows up on your printer.

You might want to go into the print spooler and stop the service. You’ll get a message that it is stopping, and then you might want to start it again. And you’ll get a message that the spooler has started.

You might also want to check the recovery options. Notice the spooler is set up, on the first failure, it restarts. On the second failure, it restarts. But if it fails after that, it’s not going to start up again. So you may run into situations where the spooler works a little bit, and then it works, and then it’s not working any longer.

Check your event viewer and make sure that you can see exactly if this service is starting or stopping, because you’ll have notices in there every time it fails, every time it stops, every time it starts again, everything will be listed in that event viewer.

That might give you an idea of what you could go into inside of your services, maybe change these configurations or modify how something might be authenticating in its log on view to give it the proper rights and permissions that it needs to perform the task required of that service.

Although you may not need to use it a lot, the Windows Services provide you access to all of those non-interactive applications. And if you’re ever trying to restart a process, or troubleshoot what might be going on, your Services view may be the perfect place to start.