Configure how a service is started

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To configure how a service is started

  • Using Services

  • Using the command line

Using Services

  1. Open Services.

  2. In the details pane, right-click the service that you want to configure, and then click Properties.

  3. On the General tab, in Startup type, click Automatic, Manual, or Disabled.

  4. To specify the user account that the service can use to log on, click the Log On tab, and then do one of the following:

    • To specify that the service uses the Local System account, click Local System account.

    • To specify that the service uses the Local Service account, click This account, and then type NT AUTHORITY\LocalService.

    • To specify that the service uses the Network Service account, click This account, and then type NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService.

    • To specify another account, click This account, click Browse, and then specify a user account in the Select User dialog box. When you are finished, click OK.

  5. Type the password for the user account in Password and in Confirm password, and then click OK. If you select the Local Service account or Network Service account, the password must be blank.


  • To open Services, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Services.

Using the command line

  1. Open Command Prompt.

  2. Type:

    sc configservice namestart= {boot|system|auto|demand|disabled}

Value Description

sc config

Modifies the value of a service's entries in the registry and in the Service Control Manager's database.

service name

Specifies the short name of the service.


Specifies the start type for the service.


A device driver that is loaded by the boot loader.


A device driver that is started during kernel initialization.


A service that automatically starts each time the computer is restarted and runs even if no one logs on to the computer.


A service that must be manually started. This is the default value if start= is not specified.


A service that cannot be started. To start a disabled service, change the start type to one of the other values.


  • To open a command prompt, click Start, point to All programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.

  • To view the complete syntax for this command, at the command prompt, type:

    sc config help

  • For more information about the sc command, see Related topics.


  • Most services are not designed to have the default account changed. Changing the default account of a service could result in the service failing to start.

  • Changing the default service settings may prevent key services from running correctly. It is especially important to use caution when changing the Startup type and Log on as settings of services that are configured to start automatically.

  • In most cases, it is recommended that you not change the Allow service to interact with desktop setting. If you allow the service to interact with the desktop, any information that the service displays on the desktop will also be displayed on an interactive user's desktop. A malicious user could then take control of the service or attack it from the interactive desktop.


  • To improve performance and security in the Windows Server 2003 family, several services have been disabled by default that were previously enabled on Windows 2000. For a table that lists the default settings and provides information about how to enable these services, see Default settings for services. Note that these settings apply only to new installations, not upgrades; all previous service configurations are preserved during upgrades to the Windows Server 2003 family.

  • The Local Service account and Network Service account are configured with a null password. Whatever password information you supply is ignored. For more information about service accounts, see Services permissions.

  • It is recommended that user accounts that are used to log on as a service have the Password never expires check box selected in their properties dialog box and that they have strong passwords. For more information about creating strong passwords, see Related Topics.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • If account lockout policy is enabled and the account is locked out, the service will not start. For more information about account lockout policy, see Related Topics.

  • If you enable or disable a service and you encounter a problem starting the computer, you can start the computer in Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, core services that are required to start the operating system are started in a default scheme, regardless of any changes that are made to the service settings. After the computer is in Safe Mode, you can change the service configuration or restore the default configuration. For more information about startup options, see Related Topics.

  • If you specify an account that does not have permission to log on as a service, the Services snap-in automatically grants the appropriate permissions to that account on the computer that you are managing.

  • For more information about the user accounts that a service uses to log on, see "Services permissions" in Related Topics. Also, see "Managing System Services" at the Microsoft Windows Resource Kits Web site.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also


Start, stop, pause, resume, or restart a service Default settings for services Services permissions SC Account Lockout Policy Startup options Strong passwords