What is Services.exe?


Services.exe is a very important executable file associated with the Windows operating system. Called Service Control Manager, it runs in the background and launches other applications that are needed to run during startup and shutdown. It's also in charge of programs installed on your computer that run automatically or as needed. The file is located at C:\Windows\system32\services.exe. If you find another services.exe elsewhere, it is probably malicious.


  • When you boot your computer, services.exe initially calls on those Windows applications needed to run your computer. After which, it calls on third-party applications you've authorized to run during startup to load. The reverse happens during shutdown. Services.exe first kills off the applications currently running on your computer then it terminates Windows applications, which shuts down your computer.

What It Runs

  • Some applications you install run even without you actively running them. It is the job of the services.exe to run these applications for you. Before services.exe can run them, they need to be registered first in your system for services.exe to recognize them and call on them to run. Examples of these applications are your anti-virus, instant messaging, your speakers and the system clock.

Service Management Console

  • Services.exe has a console that you can use to check what services are running in your computer. It shows you the names of the services running, a brief description of what they do and whether they are set to run automatically, manually or are disabled. It also allows you to start, stop or disable services. To launch the console, go to the Start screen and "services.msc" (without the quotes). Press "Enter."

MS Configuration Tool

  • There are a host of applications that run when you start up your computer. Some of these are crucial Windows applications, while others are applications you've installed in your computer, which you've allowed to run every time you boot your computer. For Windows XP and newer Windows operating systems, the Microsoft configuration tool allows you to see and edit which services run during startup. To launch this tool, type "msconfig" (without the quotes) at the Start Screen and press "Enter."


  • When installing applications, take into account that running them during startup can slow down your computer. If you have many running, no matter how fast or powerful your computer is, it will take a long time to finish loading all of them during startup and will take a long time to terminate all of them during shutdown. You can opt not to run unnecessary applications automatically during startup and simply set them to run manually through the service management console.


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