Create Windows Services in C#

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Create Windows Services in C#

In this post, we go over how to get started using C# and .NET by creating a basic Windows service with these technologies.

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Here I’m going to explain Windows Services in C# .NET.

  • Introduction of Windows Services.
  • How to create Windows Services in C# .NET.


Windows Services normally start when the OS boots and runs an application in the background. Windows Services executes applications in its own session. It either starts automatically or we can manually pause, stop, and restart it.

You can find services in the following ways

  • Go to Control Panel select “Services” inside “Administrative Tools.”
  • Open Run window (Window + R), type in services.msc, and press enter.

How to Create a Windows Service

Step 1

Open Visual Studio, go to File > New and select Project. Now select a new project from the Dialog box and select “Window Service” and click on the OK button.

windows service

Step 2

Go to Visual C# -> ”Windows Desktop” -> ”Windows Service,” give your project an appropriate name and then click OK

windows service 

Once you click OK, the below screen will appear, which is your service

windows service

Step 3

Right-click on the blank area and select “Add Installer.”

Adding Installers to the Service

Before you can run a Windows Service, you need to install the Installer, which registers it with the Service Control Manager.

windows service

After Adding Installer, ProjectInstaller will add in your project and ProjectInstakker.cs file will be open. Don’t forget to save everything (by pressing ctrl + shift + s key)

windows service

The Solution Explorer looks like this:

windows service 

Step 4

Right click on blank area and select “View Code”

windows service

Step 5

Its has a Constructor, which contains the InitializeComponent method.

The InitializeComponent method contains the logic which creates and initializes the user interface objects dragged on the form's surface and provides the Property Grid of Form Designer.

Very important: Don't ever try to call any method before the call of InitializeComponent method.   windows service

Step 6

Select the InitializeComponent method and press the F12 key to go the definition.

windows service 

Step 7

Now add the below line while installing the service:

this.serviceProcessInstaller1.Account = System.ServiceProcess.ServiceAccount.LocalSystem;

You also can add a description and display the service name (optionally).

this.serviceInstaller1.Description = "My First Service demo";  
this.serviceInstaller1.DisplayName = "MyFirstService.Demo";  

windows service

Step 8

In this step, we will implement a timer, and code to call a service at a given time. We will create a simple write in a text file.

windows service

Service1.cs class 

using System;  
using System.Collections.Generic;  
using System.ComponentModel;  
using System.Data;  
using System.Diagnostics;  
using System.IO;  
using System.Linq;  
using System.ServiceProcess;  
using System.Text;  
using System.Threading.Tasks;  
using System.Timers;  

namespace MyFirstService {  
    public partial class Service1: ServiceBase {  
        Timer timer = new Timer(); // name space(using System.Timers;)  
        public Service1() {  
        protected override void OnStart(string[] args) {  
            WriteToFile("Service is started at " + DateTime.Now);  
            timer.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(OnElapsedTime);  
            timer.Interval = 5000; //number in milisecinds  
            timer.Enabled = true;  
        protected override void OnStop() {  
            WriteToFile("Service is stopped at " + DateTime.Now);  
        private void OnElapsedTime(object source, ElapsedEventArgs e) {  
            WriteToFile("Service is recall at " + DateTime.Now);  
        public void WriteToFile(string Message) {  
            string path = AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory + "\\Logs";  
            if (!Directory.Exists(path)) {  
            string filepath = AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory + "\\Logs\\ServiceLog_" + DateTime.Now.Date.ToShortDateString().Replace('/', '_') + ".txt";  
            if (!File.Exists(filepath)) {  
                // Create a file to write to.   
                using(StreamWriter sw = File.CreateText(filepath)) {  
            } else {  
                using(StreamWriter sw = File.AppendText(filepath)) {  

Code explanation - the above code will call a service every 5 seconds and create a folder if none exist and write our message.

Step 9: Rebuild Your Application

Right-click on your project or solution and select Rebuild.

windows service

Step 10

Search “command Prompt” and run the program as an administrator:

windows service

Step 11

Fire the below command in the command prompt and press Enter.

 cd C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319windows service

Step 12

Now Go to your project source folder > bin > Debug and copy the full path of of the Windows Service.exe file

windows service   windows service

Step 13 

Open the command prompt and fire the below command and press enter.


InstallUtil.exe + Your copied path + \your service name + .exe

Our Path

InstallUtil.exe C:\Users\Faisal-Pathan\source\repos\MyFirstService\MyFirstService\bin\Debug\MyFirstService.exe

windows serviceStep 14

Open services by following the below steps:

  1. Press Window key + R.
  2. Type services.msc
  3. Find your Service.

windows service  

windows service


windows service                    

Service Output  

windows service

A log folder will be created in your bin folder. 

If you want to uninstall the service, fire the below command.

  1. Syntax InstallUtil.exe -u + Your copied path + \your service name + .exe
  2. Our path InstallUtil.exe -u C:\Users\Faisal-Pathan\source\repos\MyFirstService\MyFirstService\bin\Debug\MyFirstService.exe


In this article, we learned how to create a Windows Service and install/uninstall it using the InstallUtil.exe from a command prompt.

I hope that I have explained each step clearly and that it can be easily understood by all developers. You can leave feedback/comments/questions to this article. Please let me know if you like and understand this article and how I could improve it.

I also uploaded this project on GitHub, here.

If you enjoyed this post, Faisal has also written a great article on C# Best Practices.

.net, .net development, c#, web dev

Published at DZone with permission of Faisal Pathan . See the original article here.

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