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Posted 22 Nov 2006
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A Windows Service Application

, 29 Nov 2006
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A simple Windows service application to fork and monitor applications.


Recently, I came across a situation where I needed to make an application launch automatically when the PC starts up. And the problem was that the program that I needed to launch was designed as a GUI application. The best way I could think of to make it launch automatically was to create a service based application, so that once the user logs on to the computer, the application would be executed automatically by the service and monitor the application. Then, I thought of appending more than one application into a service and run it till the service is killed or stopped.


I searched a number of sites for some code that could help me create a simple Windows service application which can fork and monitor some applications, but I only found a lot of code on how to manage the current Windows services on the system. Later, I started to create my own with the help of MSDN.


This is a simple Windows based services application which is created using Win32 - VC++. The usage of this application is - it will act as a Windows service which is able to fork and monitor any number of sub processes which are running under this service. The applications can be of any type like GUI, non-GUI etc.

This application will help you know about the following topics related to a service application:

  1. How to create/install a new Windows Service.
  2. How to map some applications to a particular Windows Service, and control the application by the service. (How to connect to the Control Service Manager.)
  3. How to start/run Window services.
  4. How to stop/kill Window services.
  5. How to uninstall Windows services.

Code Usage

The code is very simple, and for the most part, self-explanatory. The application executable is given the name "WinService.exe". The user has to pass some command line arguments while executing this application, through the command prompt to make use of its different features.

""ApplicationName  FeatureExtension"

Note: The default service name would be "Sundar_Service". The user can change the service name in the code and rebuild the application.

Feature Extensions

ApplicationName -i  / -I - Create / Install New service
ApplicationName - Connect to Service Control Manager
ApplicationName -s / -S - Run / Start the service
ApplicationName -k / -K - Stop / End the service
ApplicationName -u / -U - Uninstall / Kill the service from windows

Create / Install New Service

"WinService -i" or "WinService -I"

Sample Image

When you type the above line on the command prompt and press Enter, you are able to view a new service in the Windows Services window with the name "Sundar_Service".

VOID Install(char* pPath, char* pName);

The Install method creates a service object and adds it to the specified service control manager database.

SC_HANDLE schService = CreateService(
            schSCManager,     /* SCManager database      */
            pName,            /* name of service         */
            pName,            /* service name to display */
            SERVICE_ALL_ACCESS,  /* desired access       */
              SERVICE_INTERACTIVE_PROCESS , /* service type  */
            SERVICE_AUTO_START,   /* start type              */
            SERVICE_ERROR_NORMAL, /* error control type      */
            pPath,                /* service's binary        */
            NULL,                 /* no load ordering group  */
            NULL,                 /* no tag identifier       */
            NULL,                 /* no dependencies         */
            NULL,                 /* LocalSystem account     */
            NULL        );        /* no password             */

Sample Image

Connect to SCM (Service Control Manager)

"WinService" or "WinService"

Sample Image

While executing the above command on the command prompt, the child processes which are mapped under the service "Sundar_Service" will get started. And these processes will be monitored by the service, so that the application can be started again if it gets killed for any reason.

VOID ExecuteSubProcess();

The "ExecuteSubProcess" method is defined with the "_beginthread" method for thread creation, which ensures the child process continues execution till the service is stopped by the user or Windows. This will also call the "StartServieCtrlDispatcher" method.


The "StartServiceCtrlDispatcher" connects the main thread of a service process to the service control manager, which causes the thread to be the service control dispatcher thread for the calling process.

VOID WINAPI ServiceMain(DWORD dwArgc, LPTSTR *lpszArgv)

The callback functionality mapped through the lpServiceStartTable structure will register the "ServiceHandler" method to the service and update its status. Also, this will execute its child applications.

VOID WINAPI ServiceHandler(DWORD fdwControl)

The "ServieHandler" method will control service functions, like "Start", "Stop", "Pause" etc.

Note: Child applications are attached as "1.exe", "2.exe", "3.exe", and "4.exe" where the user can update or change the application. This sample application will animate an icon on the system tray of Windows.

Run / Start Service

"WinService -s" or "WinService -S"

Sample Image

When the above line is executed on the command prompt, the service "Sundar_Service" will be started.

VOID RunService(char* pPath, char* pName)

The user-defined RunService method will use the "StartService" method to start a service after getting the service control manager control handle and the service handle.

if(StartService(schService, 0, (const char**)NULL))

Sample Image

Sample Image

Stop / End Windows Service

"WinService -k" or "WinService -K"

Sample Image

This command will stop the service by sending the "SERVICE_CONTROL_STOP" control code to service the control manager using the "ControlService" method. This will lead to executing the user case functionality in the "ServiceHandler" method to stop the service.


Uninstall / Kill the Service from Windows

"WinService -u" or "WinService -U"

Sample Image

This command will uninstall the service from the Windows Service Manager database, after all its child processes have been stopped.


The "DeleteService" method marks the specified service for deletion from the service control manager database.

Sample Image


Sample Image

VOID WriteLog(char* pFile, char* pMsg)

The "WriteLog" method would log all the errors and the status of the service in the application path as "Sundar_Service.Log", with the service name as the log file name.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Shanmuga Sundar.V
India India
Module Lead working in leading MNC company, india - bangalore.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionCreate a windows GUI service Pin
arunselvan6989@gmail.com26-Jun-14 0:20
memberarunselvan6989@gmail.com26-Jun-14 0:20 
BugServices not running in Windows 7 machine Pin
Member 819679019-Jan-14 19:07
memberMember 819679019-Jan-14 19:07 
GeneralRe: Services not running in Windows 7 machine Pin
BrannigansLaw20-Nov-14 13:52
memberBrannigansLaw20-Nov-14 13:52 
Questionservice not running in windows 7 Pin
Member 819679018-Nov-13 22:30
memberMember 819679018-Nov-13 22:30 
QuestionIt works on warm start, but it doesn't work on cold start Pin
leolsh200011-Sep-13 0:53
memberleolsh200011-Sep-13 0:53 
QuestionInstall Automatically Pin
rajendran_t2-May-13 4:04
memberrajendran_t2-May-13 4:04 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Michael Haephrati7-Mar-13 0:04
mvpMichael Haephrati7-Mar-13 0:04 
Questionu did good job !!! Pin
Member 986162124-Feb-13 22:30
memberMember 986162124-Feb-13 22:30 
Questionproblem in pause Pin
samira baigy14-Aug-12 1:33
membersamira baigy14-Aug-12 1:33 
QuestionAttachProcessNames() do not show when started Pin
alan9323-Jul-12 14:45
memberalan9323-Jul-12 14:45 
QuestionError 87? The parameter is incorrect? Pin
alan9313-Jul-12 10:50
memberalan9313-Jul-12 10:50 
QuestionHigh CPU usage after starting service Pin
stanlysamuel27-Jun-12 1:56
memberstanlysamuel27-Jun-12 1:56 
AnswerRe: High CPU usage after starting service Pin
Paolo Botti23-Jul-12 6:41
professionalPaolo Botti23-Jul-12 6:41 
QuestionHow could i start windows service as administrator? Pin
kadvanimayur21-Jun-12 21:24
memberkadvanimayur21-Jun-12 21:24 
QuestionHigh CPU usage after starting service Pin
h12126646-Jun-12 18:16
memberh12126646-Jun-12 18:16 
AnswerRe: High CPU usage after starting service Pin
Paolo Botti23-Jul-12 6:42
professionalPaolo Botti23-Jul-12 6:42 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Sutharsan9-Mar-12 21:05
memberSutharsan9-Mar-12 21:05 
Questionhow to start a service in local system Pin
sanathbt13-Oct-11 0:09
membersanathbt13-Oct-11 0:09 
Questionservice not running in windows 7 Pin
Avinash Pachar3-Aug-11 0:16
memberAvinash Pachar3-Aug-11 0:16 
AnswerRe: service not running in windows 7 Pin
rtischer827721-Nov-12 5:02
memberrtischer827721-Nov-12 5:02 
GeneralRe: service not running in windows 7 Pin
mapartha5-Dec-12 23:38
membermapartha5-Dec-12 23:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Member 771198813-Jun-11 21:57
memberMember 771198813-Jun-11 21:57 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pin
g_satish11-Jun-11 22:18
memberg_satish11-Jun-11 22:18 
General100% CPU Hog Pin
Member 36461377-Jun-11 23:31
memberMember 36461377-Jun-11 23:31 
GeneralRe: 100% CPU Hog Pin
Member 36461377-Jun-11 23:43
memberMember 36461377-Jun-11 23:43 

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