How to: Start Services


This article doesn't apply to hosted services in .NET. For the latest content on Windows services using Microsoft.Extensions.Hosting.BackgroundService and the Worker Service template, see:

After a service is installed, it must be started. Starting calls the OnStart method on the service class. Usually, the OnStart method defines the useful work the service will perform. After a service starts, it remains active until it is manually paused or stopped.

Services can be set up to start automatically or manually. A service that starts automatically will be started when the computer on which it is installed is rebooted or first turned on. A user must start a service that starts manually.


By default, services created with Visual Studio are set to start manually.

There are several ways you can manually start a service — from Server Explorer, from the Services Control Manager, or from code using a component called the ServiceController.

You set the StartType property on the ServiceInstaller class to determine whether a service should be started manually or automatically.

Specify how a service should start

  1. After creating your service, add the necessary installers for it. For more information, see How to: Add Installers to Your Service Application.

  2. In the designer, click the service installer for the service you are working with.

  3. In the Properties window, set the StartType property to one of the following:

    To have your service install Set this value
    When the computer is restarted Automatic
    When an explicit user action starts the service Manual


    To prevent your service from being started at all, you can set the StartType property to Disabled. You might do this if you are going to reboot a server several times and want to save time by preventing the services that would normally start from starting up.


    These and other properties can be changed after your service is installed.

    There are several ways you can start a service that has its StartType process set to Manual — from Server Explorer, from the Windows Services Control Manager, or from code. It is important to note that not all of these methods actually start the service in the context of the Services Control Manager; Server Explorer and programmatic methods of starting the service actually manipulate the controller.

Start a service from Server Explorer

  1. In Server Explorer, add the server you want if it is not already listed. For more information, see How to: Access and Initialize Server Explorer-Database Explorer.

  2. Expand the Services node, and then locate the service you want to start.

  3. Right-click the name of the service, and then select Start.

Start a service from Services

  1. Open the Services app.

  2. Select your service in the list, right-click it, and then select Start.

Start a service from code

  1. Create an instance of the ServiceController class, and configure it to interact with the service you want to administer.

  2. Call the Start method to start the service.

See also