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.NET Standard-based Windows Service support for .NET

This repo contains a library for running a .NET Core application as Windows service without the need for a wrapper assembly or the full (desktop) .NET Framework. It is built using P/Invoke calls into native Windows assemblies.

Usage scenarios include:

  • Running on Windows Nano Server (no full framework but can run Windows services)
  • Shipping a modern service application using the latest .NET Core version to systems where you cannot upgrade to new versions of .NET, but you want to use new framework features.
  • Build truly portable applications that can for example run as service on Windows and as daemon on Linux, just using runtime checks / switches

How to use the example application


  • .NET Core SDK 2.0.3 or higher (.csproj based tooling)
  • Windows machine
  • Elevated command prompt: Run cmd as administrator.
> cd samples\TestService
> dotnet restore
> dotnet run --register-service --urls http://*:5080
Successfully registered and started service "Demo .NET Core Service" ("Demo ASP.NET Core Service running on .NET Core")

Open http://localhost:5080 in a browser. You should see Hello world.

The "Services" administrative tool should show the service: running service running service

> dotnet run --unregister-service
Successfully unregistered service "Demo .NET Core Service" ("Demo ASP.NET Core Service running on .NET Core")

The service may show up as disabled for some time until all tools accessing the Windows services APIs have been closed. See this Stack Overflow question.


Add a NuGet package reference to DasMulli.Win32.ServiceUtils.

Write a Windows service using:

using DasMulli.Win32.ServiceUtils;

class Program
    public static void Main(string[] args)
        var myService = new MyService();
        var serviceHost = new Win32ServiceHost(myService);

class MyService : IWin32Service
    public string ServiceName => "Test Service";

    public void Start(string[] startupArguments, ServiceStoppedCallback serviceStoppedCallback)
        // Start coolness and return

    public void Stop()
        // shut it down again

You can then register your service via sc.exe (run cmd / powershell as administrator!):

sc.exe create MyService DisplayName= "My Service" binpath= "C:\Program Files\dotnet\dotnet.exe C:\path\to\MyService.dll --run-as-service"

Now go to Services or Task Manager and start your service.

sc will install your service as SYSTEM user which has way to many access rights to run things like web apps. See its reference for more options.

If you want to get rid of it again, use:

sc.exe delete MyService

You can also create a service that registers itself like the example provided by taking a look at the sample source.

Also take a look at the ASP.NET Core MVC sample which has additional logic to set the correct working directory. When running it in development and not from the published output, be sure to pass --preserve-working-directory to it when registering so that it will run from the project directory (e.g. run dotnet run --register-service --preserve-working-directory from and administrative command prompt).

Pause & Continue support

To create a service that supports being paused and later continued or stopped, implement IPausableWin32Service which extends IWin32Service by Pause() and Continue() methods you can use to implement your pause & continue logic.


  • No custom exceptions / error codes. Everything will throw a Win32Exception if something goes wrong (Its message should be interpretable on Windows).
  • All exceptions thrown by the service implementation will cause the service host to report exit code -1 / 0xffffffff to the service control manager.
  • Currently, no direct support for services supporting commands such as power event and system shutdown
    • However, consumers can now use IWin32ServiceStateMachine to implement custom behavior. Copy SimpleServiceStateMachine as a starting point to implement extended services.


Helper classes to set up and run as windows services directly on .net core. A ServiceBase alternative.








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