Services2 is a file-system plugin that can list, control and manage the services registered in the system.


1. General features

It is an alternative to the old Services plugin (Version 2.4) written by Serge Kandakov (KaSA).

2. System Requirements

3. Comparison with Services 2.4

Services2 has some advantages over Services 2.4 but due to its early development state it has some disadvantages, too. Note that some features which Services 2.4 has will not be implemented in this plugin.

3.1. Advantages

Things that the old Services plugin can't or doesn't do

3.2. Disadvantages

Things this plugin can't do, and in some cases never will

4. Plugin settings

You can change most of the options in the plugin's settings dialog (Alt+Enter on the "Services2" entry in TC's Network Neighborhood).

4.1. Location of plugin settings file

If you want to change any plugin settings manually you can use either

a) Services2.ini in the plugin's directory, or

b) fsplugin.ini in the directory where wincmd.ini is located (default).

Option a) is good for portable mode, option b) is useful on systems where Total Commander is installed in a directory where users can't write to (like %ProgramFiles%).

Important: If Services2.ini exists in the plugin's directory it is preferred over fsplugin.ini!

The full path of the INI file currently in use is shown in the settings dialog. As of version 0.5.0 there is a button that allows the user to open the plugin settings file in the editor defined in TC, so it can be edited directly without the need to navigate to it by hand.

4.2. The settings in detail

The settings are explained in the Services2.sample.ini file, but they're listed here for the sake of completeness.

Section [Services2]

Setting and default Description
ShowState = 1 1 - Show the service's states in the extension column of TC's file panel.
0 - Don't show the service's states.
ClassicTreeStyle = 1 1 - Use classic tree style and buttons (plus/minus signs instead of triangles) in the dependencies/dependents trees of the service properties dialog on Windows Vista and higher
0 - Use the style defined by the OS.
AllowDeleteInPanel = 1 1 - Allow deletion of services in TC's file panel
0 - Disable deletion of services in TC's file panel. Note that TC will ask for confirmation if F8/DEL is pressed in the file list, but the plugin will not actually delete the service. Also note that services can still be deleted via the service properties dialog.
LoadCustomColumns = 1 1 - Automatically load custom columns view when entering the plugin. Note that this setting only affects the default custom columns view which this plugin provides! More specifically the setting controls whether the plugin reports a custom columns default view to TC or not.
0 - Don't report a default view to TC. See FAQ section on how to completely disable custom columns view
Language = English.lng Specifies the language file to use by the plugin. Note: Strings missing in the specified language file are replaced with default English ones!
AddTxtExtensionOnDownload = 0 1 - Append an additional '.txt' extension when a service "file" is downloaded. This is a way to control whether the service "files" are loaded into TC's Lister plugins (if any are installed).
0 - Don't append '.txt' extension.
AddSvcNameToDependencyTrees = 1 1 - Service properties dialog: Add service names to dependencies/dependents trees in brackets. Note that the display name of dependent services is always shown (of course).
0 - Don't add service names to the trees.
ShowSvcNameAsName = 0 1 - Show the service's names instead of display names in TC's file panel.
0 - Show display names in TC's file panel.
EnableRemoteManagement = 1 1 - Enable management of services on remote computers, and show the "Remote Computer" subdir in the plugin's root.
0 - Disable remote computer management (hide the "Remote Computer" subdir).
Monitor = 0 0 - Show all plugin dialogs/windows on the active monitor, i.e. the monitor TC is on.
1..4 - Show all dialogs on the primary, secondary, tertiary or quaternary monitor, respectively.
Note: If you specify an invalid monitor, the value will be reset to 0, i.e. the active monitor will be used instead.
DisablePanelAutoRefresh = 0 0 - Enable the automatic refresh that is done every time the service properties dialog is closed. This is the behavior of previous plugin versions.
1 - Disable the automatic refresh when the service properties dialog is closed by Cancel, ESC key or the system methods like Alt+F4 and the X in the upper right corner. This avoids unnecessary refreshs of TC's panel which is especially helpful when there are a lot of custom columns shown. Note that this setting doesn't disable refreshs when there are changes made to a service, i.e. the service properties dialog is closed with the OK button (or ENTER).
RemoteComputerList = "" Specifies a list of computers, separated by a pipe (|), that will be shown in the "Remote Computer" subdir.

Section [Services2.Tools]

Setting and default Description
ShowIcons = 1 1 - Show icons in the list of external tools. This might slow down the list's opening operation because the plugin extracts the icon of every external tool. Disable this setting if that's the case.
0 - Don't show icons in the list of external tools.
AutoDetectArch = 1 1 - Automatically determine the architecture of all external tools. This adds some comfort to external tools management without having to check whether an executable is x86 or x64. However, it requires the plugin to open every external tool's executable file which can cause slowdowns by anti-virus software and the like.
0 - Disable automatic architecture detection. If this feature is disabled, the architecture of every external tools must be set in Services2.Tools section using the x64 key (see section The keys in detail)
I1_Shortcut = A+ENTER I2_Shortcut = F3
I3_Shortcut = ""
I4_Shortcut = S+F3
(Pre-defined) keyboard shortcuts for internal tools.
I1 - View executable properties
I2 - View executable in Lister
I3 - View service DLL properties
I4 - View service DLL in Lister
The value has the same format as for the shortcuts for external tools, as detailed in section Keyboard shortcuts. To disable a shortcut just set its value to an empty string (with or without quotes).

5. Remote service management

For service management on remote systems to work correctly, several conditions have to be met.

The credentials of the local and remote users must match. This is true for every Windows version, local and remote. See section Limitations of remote computer management for more details.

Managing services on a remote Windows system running Vista or later is much more challenging, when done on a standard system which has UAC (User Account Control) and Windows Firewall enabled, and where the user is a member of the administrators group but TC - and thus the Services2 plugin - is not running elevated (as administrator).

For some reason Vista and later require administrator privileges on the remote system, even to list the services! Additionally, a system policy is required that tells the system to create an elevated instead of a filtered access token. See Microsoft KB article 951016 Description of User Account Control and remote restrictions in Windows Vista for a detailed explanation. You can either use the LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy.reg file shipped with this plugin, or add the registry value manually to the remote system: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]

The aforementioned restrictions can be circumvented by either disabling UAC on the remote system, or using an account that's not subject to UAC approval mode on the remote system, like the built-in administrator account.

Additionally, the Windows Firewall - if enabled - must allow remote service management, which it doesn't by default. Either start the Windows Firewall MMC snap-in (WF.msc), and enable the rules of the group "Remote Service Management" there. Or use the WinFirewall*.cmd scripts shipped with this plugin.

There's another factor to consider when managing services on Vista or later from a system running XP or older, or vice versa. Due to the way remote service management works, either a SMB1 server or SMB1 client is required on Vista or later to allow RPC (remote procedure call) access to the remote system. Since Microsoft and others are deprecating SMB1 with Windows 10, even as far as automatically uninstalling SMB1 client and server protocols "when they're not needed", this issue gets increasingly important.
When managing services on Vista or later from XP or older, the remote system must have a SMB1 server installed and enabled! When managing services on XP or older from Vista or later, the local system must have a SMB1 client installed and enabled!
See Microsoft KB article 2696547 How to detect, enable and disable SMBv1, SMBv2, and SMBv3 in Windows and Windows Server for more information.
There's also a helper script available to enable SMB1 server in the \remote subdirectory.

6. Internal and External Tools

As of version 0.5.0 there is support for internal and external tools. With this feature you can

This greatly simplifies the analysis of (unknown) services and their executables, especially such from vendors that are unable or unwilling to give their services meaningful names and/or descriptions.

The first two items mentioned above (properties and TC Lister) are internal tools and always available - provided that the service executable is found, of course.

6.1. How to configure external tools

Create a new section named [Services2.Tools] in the plugin's INI file. See section Plugin settings above on how to find the correct INI file.

There can be several keys in this section:


where n is a number from 1 to 15 (currently).

The values of some keys can contain the following placeholders:

Placeholder is replaced with Valid in key(s)
{FileName} the fully-qualified path of the service executable Params only
{SvcDll} the fully-qualified path of the service DLL, if any Params only
{FileNameOnly} the file name only, i.e. path removed Params and WWW
{SvcName} the service name WWW only
The placeholders are case-sensitive, i.e. {filename} is NOT replaced!

Quotes are automatically added to the File key value only, so they must be set explicitly in all other key values if they contain spaces!

6.2. The keys in detail

Name A string which will be shown in the list of external tools. If it's empty the value of File is used instead (path removed, i.e. file name only). You can use an ampersand here to manually define a character that will be used as keyboard hotkey, e.g. "&Firefox" will create an item that can be called by pressing "f" when the list of external tools is opened.
File The path to the external tool. It can contain either a fully-qualified path or a simple file name that is located somewhere in the %PATH%. It can also contain environment variables like %ProgramFiles% or %SystemRoot% and so on.
Params A string that contains any command-line parameters for File. The value can contain environment variables as well.
x64 A Bool (either 0 or 1) that defines the architecture of File.
0 defines that File is a 32 bit executable
1 defines that File is a 64 bit executable
Please note that this key is not required as long as AutoDetectArch is enabled in [Services2.Tools] section.
WWW A string that can contain a web address that will be opened in the system's default web browser. Characters forbidden in URLs will be replaced by %hexvalue! This applies to the placeholders only, not the whole WWW string, of course.
Shortcut A string that can contain any shortcut which is assigned to this external tool. Shortcuts allow quick access to internal and external tools using the keyboard. They are useful if you don't want to use the small button to open the list of external tools, too.
See section Keyboard shortcuts for details on the string's format and supported keys and modifiers.

If File is not found at runtime the item of this external tool will be disabled. The minimal set of keys required for a working external tool consists of Name and WWW or File and Params.

See Services2.sample.ini, section [Services2.Tools], for some examples.

6.3. Keyboard shortcuts

Supported modifiers: Alt, Shift, Ctrl
Supported keys:

The syntax is the same as in TC itself, for example "CA+F5" means Ctrl+Alt+F5. See section "Settings in the file wincmd.ini" of TC's help.

For internal tools there are some shortcuts pre-defined and assigned to the following functions:

To disable or change them, see section The settings in detail, INI section [Services2.Tools].

6.4. An important note on 64 bit systems

You may have wondered why there is an x64 key and the AutoDetectArch setting which the plugin uses to determine the architecture of external tools.

All 32 bit applications are subject to file-system redirection because of WOW64. There are numerous articles on the internet about this topic, see for example Wikipedia for an outline. When a 32 bit application accesses %SystemRoot%\system32 it is redirected to %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 by the system.

Many service executables are located in the %SystemRoot%\system32 directory and the service's configuration points to this path in such cases. Now, with that in mind, what would happen if a 32 bit external tool is launched with "%SystemRoot%\system32\svchost.exe" as parameter? It would load the "wrong" file, i.e. %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\svchost.exe. There are even cases where there's no file with the same name in %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 but only %SystemRoot%\system32 (e.g. lsass.exe), so 32 bit external tools would not be able to load the service executable at all.

Therefore Services2 replaces "%SystemRoot%\system32" with "%SystemRoot%\SysNative" in the paths of all service executables if the external tool's executable is a 32 bit binary (unless the service is a WOW64 service). Furthermore, Services2 replaces "%SystemRoot%\system32" with "%SystemRoot%\SysWOW64" in the paths of all service executables if the service is a WOW64 service and the external tool's executable is a 64 bit binary.

With this approach all internal and external tools always load the correct file, regardless of the architecture of TC, this plugin, the external tool or the service itself.

6.5. A special note on Windows XP x64 Edition

By default, there is no %SystemRoot%\SysNative pseudo-directory available for 32 bit applications on this OS. That may result in non-working internal and external tools. You have two options here:

Sysinternals Junction:

  1. Launch a 64 bit command prompt (CMD) and navigate to the folder where junction.exe is located
  2. type "junction %SystemRoot%\SysNative %SystemRoot%\System32" (without the quotes) and hit Enter
  3. the tool should say something like

    Created: C:\WINDOWS\SysNative
    Targetted at: C:\WINDOWS\system32

NTFS Links:

  1. Install the tool according to its help file, e.g. on a button or start menu in TC
  2. Navigate to %SystemRoot% in both of TC's panels
  3. Set the cursor on system32 directory (doesn't matter if left or right panel)
  4. Call the tool from the button/start menu create in first step
  5. Important: Replace the "*.*" at the end of the target path with "SysNative" so that the path points to "C:\Windows\SysNative"
  6. Confirm the creation of the junction

7. Known Issues and Limitations

7.1. Known Issues

7.2. Limitations of remote computer management

Due to the nature of managing services on a remote machine, there are some limitations that are important to be aware of.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the plugin load the custom columns view although the option "Load Custom Columns View upon entering the plugin" is disabled?

The option controls whether the plugin reports a default custom columns view to TC or not. In case the default custom columns view is changed by the user, TC switches to this custom columns view automatically when the plugin is entered, regardless of the plugin's setting, because the option "Switch to this view when entering the plugin" in TC's custom columns view is enabled by default. So, to really disable the loading of custom columns view the option "Switch to this view when entering the plugin" in TC's custom columns view must be disabled as well.

Why is "Service is WOW64" in the service properties dialog not ticked on some services although they clearly use a 32 bit executable?

The checkbox is only ticked when a service has a flag set in the registry which tells the system that this service is a WOW64 service. This happens if the service executable is located in %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 but its executable path points to %SystemRoot%\system32 and therefore subject to file-system redirection. The flag is not necessarily set if the service executable is located in places that are not subject to file-system redirection, like %ProgramFiles(x86)%.

Why does the properties dialog and TC Lister show "C:\Windows\SysNative" as location although the service properties show "C:\Windows\system32"?

Take a look at An important note on 64 bit systems section above for a detailed explanation.

Why are there services without information about their executables on a remote system?
Why is there no "Automatic (Delayed)" startup type on a remote system?

Take a look at Limitations of remote computer management section above for a detailed explanation.

Why do I get error 5 "Access denied" when trying to access a remote system?

See Remote service management section for an explanation and the registry value that's required on remote systems running Vista or later.

Why do I get error 1722 "The RPC server is unavailable" when trying to add a remote machine to the list or access a remote system that's already in the list?

You're probably trying to remotely manage services on a system running Vista or later from XP or older, or vice versa. Take a look at Remote service management section for a detailed explanation as well as some options to make it work.

9. License

The plugin's cog icon "Fatcow-Farm-Fresh-Cog", part of the "Farm-Fresh Web Icons" package:
(C) Fatcow Web Hosting, licensed under CC Attribution 3.0

All other icons (except the Delphi main icon) were made by my brother.

This software is provided "as is". No warranty provided. You use this program at your own risk. The author will not be responsible for data loss, damages, etc. while using or misusing this software.

The software must not be modified, you may not decompile or disassemble it.

This plugin is copyrighted freeware.

10. Thanks to

11. Contact

If you have found a bug, have a suggestion, improvement, criticism, translation, you can contact me, Dalai, in English or German, at:

Please put "Services2" somewhere in the subject.

There is a discussion thread in the official TC forum which can be used, too: