How-To

How to Start, Stop, Pause or Restart Services in Windows 10

Services in Windows 10 are the behind the scenes helpers that keep the OS running smoothly. Find out the basics of how to manage them.

Your computer’s operating system requires a vast number of stagehands behind the scenes to keep it running smoothly. These are called services and you often never see them unless there is a problem. Services ensure certain features of the operating system are available when the user needs them.

Some of the responsibilities of services include the ability to scan your drive for viruses, access a network share, manage your printer, date and time and even power settings. Some services are on demand, so, they will only start when you connect a device such as a smartphone or try to pair your Bluetooth headphones.

Ideally, these services start, stop, and restart automatically without any user interaction. But every now and then, something goes awry—either a service fails to start or an unneeded service eats up resources or causes conflicts.

With that in mind, in this article, we’ll show you how to find the Services interface and modify their behavior.

How to Find and Modify Services in Windows 10

The Services interface is based on the Microsoft Management Console, which is part of the family of administrative tools in Windows. You can launch services by opening Start, typing: services then hitting Enter. Or, you can press Windows key + R, type: services.msc then hit Enter.

Services feature a very basic interface, but within it are hundreds of services, most bundled with Windows 10 and others added by third parties. At the top are menus for customizing the view of your services and changing their startup behavior. By default, we are in detail view, which displays columns with the description, running status, startup type and Log On As.

When you want to know what a service does, select it and make sure the Extended tab at the bottom of the window is enabled. This will give you a short description of what it does.

You can also tell when a service is running or not by checking the Status column. Also, if the service is running, the play button on the command bar is grayed out, while options such as stop, restart and sometimes pause might be available. If you want to Start a service that’s not running, just select it then click Start on the command bar.

Some services are set to manual while others are automatic. Automatic services are those that startup with Windows 10, while those that are manual are only triggered on demand by a program or device. If there is a service you think you need to have started with Windows, you can change it by right-clicking the service, then clicking Properties.

The Properties window provides a number of options for modifying the behavior of a service.

The General tab describes the service’s short name, full name, description, path, startup type and status and ability to define how the service is supposed to start.

The Log On tab lets you choose which account on the system or Windows Domain can run the service.

If some catastrophic happens, and you need to have a service up and running, the Recovery tab, lets you define certain triggers for restarting the service. So, you can have the service attempt to start after a restart or after a certain period of time.

Some services will have dependencies, so it’s important to know what they are before you modify them. Modifying a service behavior can have adverse effects on other services and programs. This very important to keep in mind. The Dependencies tab is probably the first tab you should look at before making any changes.

To change a service startup behavior, select the General tab, then click in the “Startup type:” list box then choose one of the four available options:

  • Automatic (delayed) – Service start after Windows 10 is completely booted
  • Automatic – Service will start when Windows 10 starts
  • Manual – Service will not start automatically, but it can be started by another process or device.
  • Disabled – Service will not start unless you enable it from the Services interface

Make sure you click Apply after you choose your setting.

This will then enable the Service status button and the Start button. Click it to start the service immediately.

The Stop button will be enabled after the Service status changes to Running. Click OK.

You should reference this area of the system when troubleshooting issues with common products and services such as Bluetooth, Audio, Windows Defender and Networking. Sometimes, services might not behave as intended, but this is very rare. For example, if you are having trouble with Bluetooth, it’s possible the broadcasting services might not be running when you can’t pair a device. So, don’t be afraid to take a peek behind the curtains to see how things are running.

If there any is anything else you would like to know about services, drop a line in the comments and let’s continue the conversation.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. George  

    Careful on what services you stop though. You could end up freezing the OS.

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