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Services best practices

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Services best practices

Save the default state of services.

Perform adequate testing and backup procedures before changing default settings.

  • Changing the default settings for services might prevent key services from running correctly. It is especially important to use caution when changing the Startup type and Log on as settings of services that are configured to start automatically.

  • In most cases, it is recommended that you not change the Allow service to interact with desktop setting. If you allow the service to interact with the desktop, any information that the service displays on the desktop will also be displayed on an interactive user's desktop. A malicious user could then take control of the service or attack it from the interactive desktop.

Verify service dependencies before starting or stopping services.

  • Ensure that a service you are starting does not depend on a service whose startup type is set to Disabled or Manual. Also, make sure that a service you are stopping is not required for a dependent service to function properly. For more information, see View service dependencies.

Notify connected users before stopping or pausing services.

  • Stopping or pausing certain services affects connected users. For example, if you stop the Server service, all file, print, and named pipe sharing over the network is disabled. Also, the affected computers can no longer be administered remotely, so you must start the Server service locally.

    Stopping or pausing a service does not change the startup type of that service. For example, if you stop a service that is configured to start automatically (Startup type is set to Automatic), that service starts automatically when the computer is restarted.

When you start disabled services, be sure to select the appropriate startup type.

  • To improve performance and security in the Windows Server 2003 family, several services have been disabled by default that were previously enabled on Windows 2000. If you want to enable any of these services, you must select the appropriate startup type. For a table that lists the default settings and provides information about the appropriate startup type for a disabled service, see Default settings for services. Note that these settings apply only to new installations, not upgrades; all previous service configurations are preserved during upgrades to the Windows Server 2003 family.

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