Services overview

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

Services overview

A service is an application type that runs in the system background and is similar to a UNIX daemon application. Services provide core operating system features, such as Web serving, event logging, file serving, help and support, printing, cryptography, and error reporting. With the Services snap-in, you can manage services on local or remote computers. The operating system services that are delivered with the Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 family are designed so that only the key services that are required for common server roles are started. For more information on server roles, see Configuring Roles for Your Server.

You can use the Services snap-in to:

  • Start, stop, pause, resume, or disable services on remote and local computers.

  • Manage services on local and remote computers (on remote computers running Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or products in the Windows Server 2003 family only).

  • Set up recovery actions to take place if a service fails, for example, restarting the service automatically or restarting the computer (on computers running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or products in the Windows Server 2003 family only).

  • Enable or disable services for a particular hardware profile.

  • Export service information to a .txt or .csv file for system administration purposes.

  • View the status and description of each service.

For more information about managing operating system services, see "Managing System Services" at the Microsoft Windows Resource Kits Web site.


  • 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.