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A wrapper executable that can be used to host any executable as an Windows service, in a liberal license
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winsw: Windows service wrapper in less restrictive license

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WinSW is an executable binary, which can be used to wrap and manage a custom process as a Windows service. Once you download the installation package, you can rename winsw.exe to any name, e.g. myService.exe.


See the project manifest.


Starting from WinSW 2.x, the releases are being hosted on GitHub and

Due to historical reasons, the project also uses Jenkins Maven repository as a secondary source. Binaries are available here.

The executables in all sources are strong-named assemblies, which are being signed by randomly generated keys. Do not rely on such strong names for security (as well as on other strong names as it recommended by Microsoft). They provide a unique identity only.


WinSW is being managed by configuration files: Main XML Configuration file and EXE Config file.

Your renamed winsw.exe binary also accepts the following commands:

  • install to install the service to Windows Service Controller. This command requires some preliminary steps described in the Installation Guide.
  • uninstall to uninstall the service. The opposite operation of above.
  • start to start the service. The service must have already been installed.
  • stop to stop the service.
  • restart to restart the service. If the service is not currently running, this command acts like start.
  • status to check the current status of the service.
    • This command prints one line to the console.
      • NonExistent indicates the service is not currently installed
      • Started to indicate the service is currently running
      • Stopped to indicate that the service is installed but not currently running.

Supported .NET versions

WinSW 2.x

WinSW 2.x offers two executables, which declare .NET Frameworks 2.0 and 4.0 as targets. More executables can be added on-demand. Please create an issue if you need such executables.

WinSW 1.x

WinSW 1.x Executable is being built with a .NET Framework 2.0 target, and by defaut it will work only for .NET Framework versions below 3.5. On the other hand, the code is known to be compatible with .NET Framework 4.0 and above. It is possible to declare the support of this framework via the exe.config file. See the Installation Guide for more details.


User documentation:

Developer documentation:

Release lines

WinSW 2.x

This is a new baseline of WinSW with several major changes:

  • Major documentation rework and update
  • New executable package targeting the .NET Framework 4.0. .NET Framework 2.0 is still supported.
  • Extension engine, which allows extending the wrapper's behavior. And a couple of extensions for it (Shared Directory Mapper, Runaway Process Killer)
  • New release hosting: GitHub and NuGet
  • Migration of the logging subsystem to Apache log4net
  • Bugfixes

See the full changelog in the release notes.

The version 2.x is fully compatible with the 1.x configuration file format, hence the upgrade procedure just requires replacement of the executable file.

WinSW 1.x

This is an old baseline of WinSW. Currently it is in the maintenance-only state. New versions with fixes may be released on-demand.

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