Understanding Services

Services are long-running applications that run in the background, typically start up on boot, and run independently of users who log on. Services handle low-level tasks such as managing authentication and networking and other tasks that need little or no user interaction to function. Third-party services, such as firewalls and antivirus software, can also run on Windows.

Services are implemented using the Services API and are managed by the Service Control Manager (SCM) . SCM maintains a database of information concerning the services installed on the system and exposes these services to management using both UI and command-line tools. Using these tools, administrators can:

■ Configure a service to start automatically on system startup, to start the service manually on demand, or to disable the service.

■ Start, stop, pause, and resume a service (depending on whether it is currently running).

■ Specify a security context under which the service runs—typically one of the following: LocalSystem; a lower-privileged identity such as LocalService or NetworkService; or a custom user account created specifically for the service .

■ Specify recovery actions to be taken when the service fails .

■ View the dependencies of a service on other services .

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