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Interactive Services Detection Service Removed in Windows 10 (so no more Switching to Session 0)

Session 0 is Off Limits

Microsoft has finally done it. Session 0 is officially off limits.

The Interactive Services Detection Service — necessary to switch to Session 0 — has been removed in Windows 10 Version 1803 (released in April 2018). While applications running in Session 0 will happily create windows and prompts, no one will be able to see them.

But this is no big surprise. The geeks in Redmond have been marching in this direction for many years.

A brief history of Session 0 and Interactive Windows Services

Windows NT (1993)

The concept of multiple login sessions in solidified in this foundational release of Windows. Session 0 is created at boot, interactive Windows Services are supported and the first user to log in is placed in Session 0.

Windows Vista (2007)

To avoid shatter attacks, Vista prohibits users from logging in to Session 0. That new world order is dubbed “Session 0 Isolation”. The Interactive Services Detection service is introduced to allow users to temporarily access Session 0 — a band-aid for interactive Windows Services that show windows and prompts.

Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012

Microsoft continues to discourage interactive services. The NoInteractiveServices registry value, which enables the Interactive Detection Service and switching to Session 0, is set to 1 by default. This prevents anyone from switching to Session 0 (unless the registry is updated).

Windows 10 & Windows Server 2016

The keyboard and mouse no longer function in Session 0. This unwelcome behavior was widely thought to be a bug that Microsoft would eventually resolve, but it now looks like a deliberate action intended to cripple interaction with Session 0.

Windows 10, version 1703 (2017)

Microsoft promises to remove the Interactive Services Detection service in this Spring Creators Update but for some reason the service remains.

Windows 10, version 1803 (2018)

The Interactive Services Detection service is officially removed. Switching to Session 0 is forbidden.

So what exactly are the ramifications of losing the Interactive Services Detection service?

Consequence #1: You won’t be able to switch to Session 0 from AlwaysUp on Windows 10

While your application will continue to run as normal in Session 0, attempting to switch to Session 0 will result in an error (reported on the Status Bar):

AlwaysUp: Switch to Session 0 fails
To see your application’s windows on your desktop, please restart your application in the current session. That option is available from the Application menu:
Restart in the Current Session

Consequence #2: Our Switch to Session 0 utility won’t work on Windows 10

Switch to Session 0 will run happily in your taskbar but you will encounter an error when you try to switch. Not surprisingly, the message says that the Interactive Services Detection service “does not exist as an installed service”:

Switch to Session 0 Error

Sayonara Session 0!

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