Troubleshooting Hung Services

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 10 Jan. 2007 / Last Updated on 10 Jan. 2007]

How to troubleshoot hung services.

It can be tricky to determine when a misbehaving Windows service has hung and is no longer responding. That's because Windows services can be in one of several states:

SERVICE_STOPPED

SERVICE_STOP_PENDING

SERVICE_START_PENDING

SERVICE_RUNNING

If a service has stopped, both the Services.msc console and the Net.exe command will report it as stopped, and if the service is running, both tools will report it as running. But if the service is in the SERVICE_STOP_PENDING or SERVICE_START_PENDING state, both Net.exe and Services.msc will report it as running! That's why you should use the Sc.exe command instead to troubleshoot hung services as this command will return the true state in these conditions.

Mitch Tulloch is President of MTIT Enterprises, an IT content development company based in Winnipeg, Canada. Prior to starting his own company in 1998, Mitch worked as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Productivity Point International. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking and security and has written 14 books and over a hundred articles on various topics. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch is also a professor at Jones International University (JIU) where he teaches graduate-level courses in Information Security Management (ISM) for their Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. For more information see http://www.mtit.com.

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