LocalSystem Account

The LocalSystem account is a predefined local account used by the service control manager. This account is not recognized by the security subsystem, so you cannot specify its name in a call to the LookupAccountName function. It has extensive privileges on the local computer, and acts as the computer on the network. Its token includes the NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM and BUILTIN\Administrators SIDs; these accounts have access to most system objects. The name of the account in all locales is .\LocalSystem. The name, LocalSystem or ComputerName\LocalSystem can also be used. This account does not have a password. If you specify the LocalSystem account in a call to the CreateService or ChangeServiceConfig function, any password information you provide is ignored.

A service that runs in the context of the LocalSystem account inherits the security context of the SCM. The user SID is created from the SECURITY_LOCAL_SYSTEM_RID value. The account is not associated with any logged-on user account. This has several implications:

  • The registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER is associated with the default user, not the current user. To access another user's profile, impersonate the user, then access HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
  • The service can open the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY.
  • The service presents the computer's credentials to remote servers.
  • If the service opens a command window and runs a batch file, the user could hit CTRL+C to terminate the batch file and gain access to a command window with LocalSystem permissions.

The LocalSystem account has the following privileges:

  • SE_AUDIT_NAME (enabled)
  • SE_BACKUP_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_CREATE_TOKEN_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_DEBUG_NAME (enabled)
  • SE_LOAD_DRIVER_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_LOCK_MEMORY_NAME (enabled)
  • SE_MANAGE_VOLUME_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_RESTORE_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_SECURITY_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_SHUTDOWN_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_SYSTEMTIME_NAME (disabled)
  • SE_TCB_NAME (enabled)
  • SE_UNDOCK_NAME (disabled)

Most services do not need such a high privilege level. If your service does not need these privileges, and it is not an interactive service, consider using the LocalService account or the NetworkService account. For more information, see Service Security and Access Rights.