Windows Services (1/2)

Introduction

In Windows terminology a service or more precisely a service application is an application that can run even when no user is logged on and/or can be started automatically at system boot. Applications that are usually implemented as a service are those applications that need to run all the time like servers for instance.

Services in the Control Panel

The Control Panel provides a user interface to control the installed services. On Windows 7 it can be found under System and Security - Administrative Tools - Services (see Figure 1).

Services Interface in the Control Panel
Figure 1: Services Interface in the Control Panel

Figure 1 shows the information presented by the Services user interface in the Control Panel. The information includes the startup mode of the service, the current state of the service and the account used by the service to log on. The interface also allows you to start and stop services.

Services in the Registry

The Control Panel provides an easy way to view and control services but the database that stores the list of installed services is actually simply a part of the registry located under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services key. As a consequence you can use regedit to view the same information albeit in a less human friendly format. Note that you will not only see service applications listed there but also device drivers.


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