How to ease troubleshooting: View running services in command line

Learn how listing the current state of your system's services via the Command Prompt can save administrators time and help ease troubleshooting system problems.

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 For most systems administrators troubleshooting a problem, time is a luxury they don't have. Any time-saving trick that's easy to use (and remember) can keep them from blowing their top during an already stressful situation.

Although Windows gives admins the ability to click around and find the information they need, the interface is often frustratingly slow and the information they require is buried beneath layers and layers of property pages and category breakdowns. To combat this, most administrators turn to the command line and its simple and quick commands to retrieve their desired information.

One highly useful slice of information when troubleshooting is the current state of your system's services. But I hate having to dig into Control Panels, the Computer Management mmc or using RunServices.msc to get that information. I'm often already troubleshooting an issue using a command line interface and having to click out of it is a nuisance, plus I'm often on a system that is exhibiting GUI performance issues and waiting for another window to open is frustrating.

To view running services from the command line, you need only use the built-in Net utility. You normally use this utility to start, stop, pause and continue services (among other things) but you can also use it to list out all the running services on your computer. Just type: NET START.

The output looks something like this:

C:\>NET START

These Windows services are started:

Application Layer Gateway Service

Automatic Updates

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

About the author: Tim Fenner(MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, Network+ and A+) is a senior systems administrator who oversees a Microsoft Windows, Exchange and Office environment. He is also as an independent consultant who specializes in the design, implementation and management of Windows networks.


This was first published in June 2007

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