When I started in this field, the concept of services always made me nervous because I never quite understood what they did or what that meant. Services is such an ambiguous term that it can mean different things in different contexts. The services I am discussing are services that are running on your machine and taking up a port.
The way to view these services is through the applet in the Administrative Tools subset of the Control Panel (as seen in the picture below):
Once you select this applet, you will be provided with a list of your services with some of their basic information in another MMC that looks like the following:
From here, you can manage how these services work. The buttons at the top of the window will allow you to stop and start the service, access help, and execute the normal functions. The more important functions will be accessed by right clicking on the service that you are concerned about and dropping down to "Properties". You will be presented with the following Pop-up box (I am selecting the DNS Client service for our discussion):
The main function that you will use on the "General" tab is the Startup Type. You can select from Automatic, Manual, or Disabled. The next tab that we want to look at is the Logon Tab. This is an important one and looks like the following:
This is very important. If you have multiple users on this machine, you might have to Log On as System, but there are other instances where you might want to log in as a specific account, like a service account that was created for this specific function.
The next tab that we will look at is the Recovery Tab. If you have a service that can become problematic, as many can, this will be important for you. It looks like the following:
Here you can set the computer up with parameters for how to act if the service stops. Most people set it up to restart the service, You can choose from the following actions:
Restart the Service
Take no action
Run a file
Reboot the computer
I would only recommend the last one in a controlled environment and only if needed. You would not want to reboot a PC when nobody is around to log it back in....
The last tab is the dependencies tab, which looks like:
In my example, I have no dependencies, but there are services that will, and you will need to be aware of the effects of dependent services stopping suddenly.
Good luck with your use of Services as I am sure that it is something that you will deal with quite frequently in your daily life as an administrator.
Let me know if you have any ideas for more "How To" articles.