How to view started services from the command prompt

Checking your running services from the command line in Windows is pretty easy.

Normally, IT administrators check Services from Administrative Tools. In Windows 8 and 8.1, it’s just a matter of pressing the Windows Logo Key + w and typing services.  But I have to ask: why should the graphical user interface get all the fame?

If you love working out of the command line, I’ve got a quick tip for viewing your started services from it.

Check it out.

Press Windows Key + x and hit the letter c.

Now in the command window type:

net start

Using net start to display services

You’ll see a long list of services currently started on your PC.


Net start has actually been around since the antediluvian days of Windows XP.  I remember using a different but related command, net send, to shoot annoying messages to pretty girls in the school library.  It was like an evolved form of note passing.

I felt smart and actually thought girls would find my geekiness alluring and therefore, would give me a chance – but alas! it never happened.

Let me give you a little bit of advice:

Net send is not a suave way to pick up girls in the library.  Hahaha, those were the days.

Image Credit Jeffrey Beall via Flickr

Anyway, if you want to see the full list of net start commands check out the reference sheet on TechNet.  Here’s some of my favorite net commands:

Let’s say you have a service on your PC called EvilTrackingAgent. After being appalled that the service author was brazen enough to name it EvilTrackingAgent you realize you can use an entire net family of commands to manipulate that service.

For example, net pause EvilTrackingAgent pauses the service and net stop EvilTrackingAgent stops it.  But what’s the difference?

The first just puts the service in abeyance but leaves it running in memory so existing connections to the service are preserved but new connections are rejected.  Conversely, net stop releases the resource entirely and cancels the service.

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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista Tagged with: , ,