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Shell Hardware Detection (System Services for the Windows Server 2003 Family and Windows XP Operating Systems)

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

Service Name: ShellHWDetection

Executable Name: svchost.exe -k netsvcs

Log On As: LocalSystem

Description: The Shell Hardware Detection service monitors and provides notification for AutoPlay hardware events. AutoPlay is a feature that detects content such as pictures, music, or video files on removable media and removable devices. AutoPlay then automatically starts applications to play or display that content. This simplifies the use of specialized peripheral devices such as Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) Audio Layer-3 (MP3) players and digital photo readers. It also makes it easier for users who are unfamiliar with the software needed to access various content types.

AutoPlay supports a variety of media content types and applications. Both independent hardware vendors (IHVs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) can extend this support to include their hardware devices and applications. A user can configure a different AutoPlay action for any combination of pictures, music files, and video.

Supported media and device types include the following:

  • Removable storage media, such as Zip disks by Iomega

  • Flash media, such as the CompactFlash specification from the CompactFlash Association, the SmartMedia specification from the SSFDC Forum, and the Memory Stick specification developed by Sony

  • PC Cards

  • External USB or IEEE 1394 fixed drives

Supported content types include the following:

  • Pictures (.jpg, .bmp, .gif, .tif)

  • Music files (.mp3, .wma)

  • Video (.mpg, .asf)

If this service is stopped, you lose the hardware AutoPlay functionality, My Computer icons and labels are displayed in Classic View, and shell performance is also affected.

If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on this service will fail to start.

Available on: Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition and Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

Installed through: Default operating system installation

Startup type: Automatic

Service status: Started

This service depends on the following system components:

Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

The following system components depend on this service:

Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)

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