Run Syncthing as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

How to Run Syncthing 24/7 as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

Automatically start Syncthing in the background when your PC boots, without having to log on. Survive accidental shutdowns when you log off and other potential problems.

Syncthing keeps files synchronized between two or more machines. It is ideally suited for running "headless" in the background as the GUI is accessible from any web browser.

To configure Syncthing as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp:

  1. Download and install AlwaysUp, if necessary.

  2. If you don't have Syncthing installed, download the latest zip file from GitHub and expand it to a new folder on your hard drive. We have installed version 0.10.11 in C:\Syncthing for this tutorial and that folder will show up throughout this tutorial.

  3. Next, start AlwaysUp.

  4. Select Application > Add to open the Add Application window:

    Add Application

  5. On the General tab:

    • In the Application field, enter the full path to the Syncthing executable, syncthing.exe. Since we placed Syncthing in C:\Syncthing, this is C:\Syncthing\syncthing.exe. Your path may be different.

    • In the Name field, enter the name that you will call the application in AlwaysUp. We have used Syncthing (the default) but you can specify another name you like.

    Install Syncthing Windows Service: General Tab

  6. Click over to the Logon tab and enter the user name and password of the account in which you have configured and run Syncthing. By default, Syncthing stores its settings in the user-specific %AppData% folder and running it in the same account will ensure that Syncthing will find its configuration.

    Install Syncthing Windows Service: Logon Tab

  7. Click over to the Startup tab:

    • Check the Ensure that the Windows Networking components have started box. This tells AlwaysUp that Syncthing needs the TCP/IP networking stack to do its work.

    • Because only a single copy of Syncthing can run at any time (due to the use of a single network port), check the Stop all copies of the application running on this computer box, and the Also whenever the application is restarted setting below. This will ensure that other instances of Syncthing don't prevent the copy launched by AlwaysUp (as a windows service) from starting properly.

    Install Syncthing Windows Service: Startup Tab

  8. Since Syncthing will no longer be visible on your desktop, you may want to capture the messages from the console to a file. To do so, switch to the Extras tab, check the Capture output to this log file box and enter the full path to a text file.

    Install Syncthing Windows Service: Extras Tab

  9. Click the Save button. In a couple of seconds, an entry called Syncthing will show up in the AlwaysUp window. It is not yet running though.

    Syncthing Windows Service: Created

  10. And now that we are ready to start Syncthing as a windows service, let's configure the software to avoid launching the browser when it starts (since you won't be able to see it any more). To do so:

    1. Start Syncthing

    2. Open the web GUI in your browser (probably at

    3. Click the gear at the top right and select Settings from the menu that appears:

      Open Syncthing Settings

    4. Uncheck the Start Browser box:

      Syncthing Settings: Uncheck Start Browser

    5. Save your settings

  11. To start Syncthing from AlwaysUp, choose Application > Start "Syncthing". After a few seconds, the state should transition to Running and Syncthing will be working in the background. Open your browser and confirm that things work as expected:

    Syncthing Windows Service: Running

  12. That's it! Next time your computer boots, Syncthing will start up immediately, before anyone logs on. We encourage you to edit Syncthing in AlwaysUp and check out the many other settings that may be appropriate for your environment.

    For example, to completely hide Syncthing's console (and prevent the annoying Interactive Services Detection window from winking at you constantly), return to the Logon tab and check the When the user logs on, don't show the application's windows and tray icons box at the bottom.

    Hide Syncthing's Console

Syncthing not working properly as a Windows Service?

  • Consult the AlwaysUp Troubleshooter - our online tool that can help you resolve the most common problems encountered when running an application as a windows service.
  • From AlwaysUp, select Application > Report Activity > Today... to bring up a HTML report detailing the interaction between AlwaysUp and your application. The AlwaysUp Event Log Messages page explains the more obscure messages.
  • Browse the AlwaysUp FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions and troubleshooting tips.
  • Contact us and we will be happy to help!

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