How to: Create Windows Services

When you create a service, you can use a Visual Studio project template called Windows Service. This template automatically does much of the work for you by referencing the appropriate classes and namespaces, setting up the inheritance from the base class for services, and overriding several of the methods you're likely to want to override.

Warning

The Windows Services project template is not available in the Express edition of Visual Studio.

At a minimum, to create a functional service you must:

  • Set the ServiceName property.

  • Create the necessary installers for your service application.

  • Override and specify code for the OnStart and OnStop methods to customize the ways in which your service behaves.

To create a Windows Service application

  1. Create a Windows Service project.

    Note

    For instructions on writing a service without using the template, see How to: Write Services Programmatically.

  2. In the Properties window, set the ServiceName property for your service.

    Set the ServiceName property.

    Note

    The value of the ServiceName property must always match the name recorded in the installer classes. If you change this property, you must update the ServiceName property of installer classes as well.

  3. Set any of the following properties to determine how your service will function.

    Property Setting
    CanStop True to indicate that the service will accept requests to stop running; false to prevent the service from being stopped.
    CanShutdown True to indicate that the service wants to receive notification when the computer on which it lives shuts down, enabling it to call the OnShutdown procedure.
    CanPauseAndContinue True to indicate that the service will accept requests to pause or to resume running; false to prevent the service from being paused and resumed.
    CanHandlePowerEvent True to indicate that the service can handle notification of changes to the computer's power status; false to prevent the service from being notified of these changes.
    AutoLog True to write informational entries to the Application event log when your service performs an action; false to disable this functionality. For more information, see How to: Log Information About Services. Note: By default, AutoLog is set to true.
    Note

    When CanStopor CanPauseAndContinueare set to false, the Service Control Manager will disable the corresponding menu options to stop, pause, or continue the service.

  4. Access the Code Editor and fill in the processing you want for the OnStart and OnStop procedures.

  5. Override any other methods for which you want to define functionality.

  6. Add the necessary installers for your service application. For more information, see How to: Add Installers to Your Service Application.

  7. Build your project by selecting Build Solution from the Build menu.

    Note

    Do not press F5 to run your project — you cannot run a service project in this way.

  8. Install the service. For more information, see How to: Install and Uninstall Services.

See Also

Introduction to Windows Service Applications
How to: Write Services Programmatically
How to: Add Installers to Your Service Application
How to: Log Information About Services
How to: Start Services
How to: Specify the Security Context for Services
How to: Install and Uninstall Services
Walkthrough: Creating a Windows Service Application in the Component Designer