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Essential Windows Services: Remote Procedure Call (RPC) / RpcSs

Windows Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Service

What is the RPC Windows Service?

The Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service supports communication between Windows applications.

Specifically, the service implements the RPC protocol — a low-level form of inter-process communication where a client process can make requests of a server process. Microsoft’s foundational COM and DCOM technologies are built on top of RPC.

The service’s name is RpcSs and it runs inside the shared services host process, svchost.exe:

RPC Windows Service

Should I stop the RPC service?

The answer is no — you should definitely not stop the service. It is far too important.

Indeed, if you examine the list of services that depend on the RPC service for smooth operation — by running the SC ENUMDEPEND command — you will notice that there are a whopping 103 services that need RpcSs on Windows Server 2019!

RPC Windows Service Dependencies

If the RPC service stops, those 103 would have to stop as well — surely crippling your computer.

In their guidance on disabling system services on Windows Server 2016, Microsoft “strongly recommends that you have the RPCSS service running”. However that is a huge understatement. The service is absolutely vital for Windows to run.

Why are all the options for the RPC service grayed out?

If you examine the service’s screenshot, you will notice that the Stop and Pause buttons are disabled — indicating that the service cannot be interrupted.

Furthermore, the account running the service cannot be changed on the Log On tab:

RPC Windows Service Log On tab

You can adjust the recovery settings but not much else.

By limiting changes, Microsoft is clearly shouting: Do not update the RPC service!

Questions? Problems?

If you would like to know more about the Windows RPC service, or you have a specific problem, please feel free to get in touch. We will do our best to help you!

Posted in Windows Services | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

8 Responses to Essential Windows Services: Remote Procedure Call (RPC) / RpcSs

  1. SQ says:

    If by chance I stopped this process, can I get it back with a system restore?

  2. Hi SQ.

    Stopping the service will not remove it from your system. It should still be there, and you should be able to start it again from the Services application in the Control Panel.

    If somehow the service has been removed, then yes, a system restore should bring it back.

  3. Junior says:

    I have Windows 7, You claim this for Windows Server 2019, which I do not have, so you gave less info for users who have Windows personally on their Desktop, I wish not to share with no server, no group of shared servies, no remote access, I am a normal Windows 7 user, do I need this file ?

  4. Junior says:

    Let me re-phrase, do I need this service ? I can just remove it from the svchost file, is that a better method?

  5. Hi Junior.

    Unfortunately Microsoft didn’t provide specific guidance for Windows 7 (which is now out of support). However they do say for Windows Server 2016: “It is strongly recommended that you have the RPCSS service running.”

    It’s difficult to say if you need the service or not. Try stopping the service and and see if your system (or any programs that you use) complain. If that experiment goes well, you can disable the service.

  6. Jean-Paul says:

    You absolutely do need this.

  7. Jean-Paul says:

    Curious if Windows keeps adding services. I know a server 2019 should be hardened, my 21H2 Win10 system shows many more.

    C:\WINDOWS\system32>SC ENUMDEPEND rpcss 225000
    [SC] EnumDependentServices: entriesread = 194

  8. Yes, Jean-Paul, it’s good practice to disable Windows Services that aren’t necessary for your server. For example, if your server doesn’t print, you may want to disable the Spooler service. Doing so would have avoided exposure to the recent PrintNightmare vulnerability!

    Windows 11 21H2 shows a bit fewer dependencies:

    C:\Windows\system32>SC ENUMDEPEND rpcss 30000 | find /c "SERVICE_NAME:"

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