A+ Certification / Beginners

Understanding Windows Services

In this section, I introduce you to the concept of a service within the operating system and then give an overview of some of the most popular services found in Windows.

A service is a software component within the operating system that provides a specific feature of the operating system. For example, the spooler service is responsible for providing printing functionality to the operating system. In order for you to print, you must have the spooler service running. When you're troubleshooting a system that isn't working properly, make sure that you check that the service that manages that aspect of the operating system is running. You may also want to restart the service if it is running, which is essentially a "rebooting" of that service.

Restarting a Windows service

To stop, start, or restart a service in Windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start → Control Panel.
  2. Choose Performance and Maintenance → Administrative Tools.
  3. In the Administrative Tools window, double-click the Services icon.
  4. After the Services console opens, you can stop, start, or restart a service by right-clicking the service and then choosing the appropriate command from the context menu.

After you know how to stop and start a service, the next step is to understand some of the key services that exist within the Windows operating system and what the service offers to the system.

Server service

One of the critical services responsible for the networking of the Windows operating system is the Server service. The Server service provides file and printer sharing capabilities to the operating system. So, if you want to print to a printer that has been shared on Computer A from your system, Computer A needs to have the Server service running to allow your system to connect to it.

Workstation service

The Workstation service is the exact opposite of the Server service. The Workstation service is responsible for making the connection to the system that is running the Server service. Going back to the example in the previous section, if you want to print to a printer on Computer A, the Workstation service on your computer sends the request to the Server service on Computer A.

DHCP Server service

The DHCP Server service handles DHCP server functionality, which is a server that hands out IP addresses to clients on the network. This service must be running if you want the DHCP server to hand out the IP addresses to clients on the network. This service exists only on Windows NT and 2000 Servers, and Windows Server 2003.

Print Spooler service

As mentioned earlier, the Print Spooler service is responsible for the printing environment in Windows. If this service is not running, you will be unable to print.

Messenger service

The Messenger service is responsible for sending and receiving messages within the operating system. For example, some features of the operating system allow an alert to be sent to the network administrator - the Messenger service is responsible for the message (alert) being sent. You can send a message to another user on the network at any time by typing the following command into a command prompt:

Net send BOB "Hi there"

The above command sends a message to a user or computer called BOB, and the message that appears on Bob's screen says Hi there. In order for Bob to receive the message, your computer and Bob's computer need to have the Messenger service running.

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