Windows is an extremely large operating system, so to keep it modular and administrable Microsoft has split it into components known as services. Each service is responsible for a core part of Windows functionality, such as network usage or printing. Third party applications can also add their own services to the service database. To view the installed services, expand the Services and Applications snap-in and click the Services item that appears. In Windows NT run the Services applet in the Control Panel.
The interface for service management differs massively between Windows NT and Windows 2000/XP. The Windows NT version is relatively primitive and liable to hang services if not used carefully, whereas the Windows 2000 and XP version is more resilient, configurable and informative.
Most services can exist in three states: Started, Paused and Stopped. When a service is started, it is operating normally. When paused, a service maintains its existing state but does not accept any further work. An example of this is the Workstation service which, when paused, will maintain existing network connections but refuse new ones. Finally, when a service is stopped, it is not loaded in memory and therefore not operating. It is a useful troubleshooting technique to stop and start a service to fix an issue, for example if a print job has become stuck and is preventing any further printing from taking place. Services are actually special types of applications, registered with Windows to behave in a specific manner.
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