Find and Control All Hidden Running Services on MS Windows Server 2003 / Vista / XP System

Posted on in Categories News last updated January 10, 2008

Under Linux / UNIX it is very easy to find out all running services and shutdown unwanted services. All you have to do it go through the following directories or configuration files:
=> /etc/init.d/
=> /etc/rcX.d/
=> /etc/xinetd./d
=> /etc/inetd.conf
=> /usr/local/etc/rc.d

You can also use tools such as CentOS / RHEL ntsysv tool / Debian / Ubuntu service configuration tool. Ultimately, netstat command always displays a list of all open ports:
# netstat -tulpn

Controlling Services under MS Windows Server

Shutting down services under Windows Vista or Server 2003 is not straightforward. Microsoft allows different ways to start an application at system startup or user login which results into a true messy system. MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP does a good job but it is not sufficient. There is a nice utility called Autorun:

This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.

Autoruns’ Hide Signed Microsoft Entries option helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting images that have been added to your system and it has support for looking at the auto-starting images configured for other accounts configured on a system. Also included in the download package is a command-line equivalent that can output in CSV format, Autorunsc.

Use autoruns utility to manage all startup programs under Windows. You’ll probably be surprised at how many executables are launched automatically!

Windows Server 2003 / 2008 / XP / Vista - Autoruns to control Services
(Fig. 01: Autoruns in Action)