Hands down, the most important GUI utility for managing your Windows Services is Microsoft’s Services Control Panel Application — nicknamed “Services.msc” because it can be invoked with that command. This useful application (pictured below) lists every service installed on your PC and allows you to easily to start, stop or configure each one. It has been a fixture of Windows since the first release of NT, way back in 1993.
Starting the Services Application
You can launch the Services application in several ways:
With the Windows Key
From the Start button (Windows 7 and earlier)
From the Control Panel
Click on the Start button and choose Control Panel. Or, on Windows 8/8.1, press Windows Key + I and select Control Panel from the charms menu on the right.
Using the Services Application
Start/stop/restart/pause/resume a service
Modify a service
From there you can start or stop the service, change the account that the service runs in, configure what to do if the service crashes and see what services must be started before this one.
Manage services on another computer
Assuming that your account has the necessary permissions to access the remote PC, simply select Connect to another computer… from the Action menu and enter the name (or IP address) of the other computer to see its list of services:
Shortcomings of the Services Application
Unfortunately, Services.msc can not:
- Run a non-service application as a Windows Service (but AlwaysUp does that)
- Change the permissions associated with a service (look to Service Security Editor for help there)
- Manage trigger-start services on Windows 7 and later (but Service Trigger Editor can)
- Keep tabs on an important service’s state from the task tray (so we wrote ServiceTray to do that)
- Change a service’s description (which can be achieved by editing the registry)
Nevertheless, Services is the best GUI tool for managing your Windows Services
Despite its few shortcomings, Services.msc remains an extremely valuable tool. It is easy to use, is available on every version of Windows, and effortlessly handles a wide range of basic tasks on local and remote computers. Look to it first when working with Windows Services!