Manually Installing a Service as a Windows Service

This page describes how to manually install and configure an Ice service as a Windows Service using the IcePatch2 service as a case study. For the purposes of this discussion, we assume that Ice is installed in the directory C:\Ice. We also assume that you have administrative access to your system, which is required by many of the installation steps discussed below.

On this page:

Selecting a User Account for the IcePatch2 Service

The IcePatch2 service can run in a regular user account, therefore we will follow our own recommendation and use the Local Service account.

Preparing a Directory for the IcePatch2 Service

The service needs a directory in which to store the files that it distributes to clients. A common mistake is assuming that a service will be able to access a file or directory that you created using your current account, which is likely to cause the service to fail in a way that is difficult to diagnose. To prevent such failures, we will ensure that the directory has the necessary permissions for the service to access it while running in the Local Service account.

Selecting a Directory for the IcePatch2 Service

The directory tree for our IcePatch2 service is shown below:


Creating the Directory for the IcePatch2 Service

Since Local Service is a built-in account, its user directory should already exist and have the proper access rights.

Opening the LocalService directory in Windows Explorer may require administrative permission. Once opened, the AppData subdirectory may not be visible without modifying the folder options to show hidden files and directories.

You can verify its access rights in a command window using the icacls utility:

> cd \Windows\ServiceProfiles
> icacls LocalService

The AppData subdirectory should inherit these same rights. Now we can create the remaining subdirectories:

> cd LocalService\AppData
> mkdir Local\ZeroC\icepatch2\data

If you want to further restrict access to files or subdirectories, you can modify them as necessary using the icacls utility. Note however that certain actions may cause a file to revert back to the access rights of its enclosing directory. For example, modifying a file using a text editor is often the equivalent of erasing the file and recreating it, which discards any access rights you may have previously set for the file.

You can also manage privilege settings interactively using Windows Explorer. For example, right click on the LocalService directory, select Properties, and select the Security tab. Click the Advanced button to modify the settings.

Populating the Directory for the IcePatch2 Service

Now you can copy the files that will be distributed to clients into the data subdirectory. The new files should inherit the access rights of their enclosing directory. For the sake of discussion, let's copy some Slice files from the Ice distribution into the data directory:

> cd Local\ZeroC\icepatch2\data
> copy \Ice\slice\Ice\*.ice

Next we need to run icepatch2calc to prepare the directory for use by the IcePatch2 service:

> cd Local\ZeroC\icepatch2\data
> icepatch2calc .

Configuration File for the IcePatch2 Service

IcePatch2 requires a minimal set of configuration properties. We could specify them on the service's command line, but if we later want to modify those properties we would have to reinstall the service. Defining the properties in a file simplifies the task of modifying the service's configuration.

Our IcePatch2 configuration is quite simple:

IcePatch2.Endpoints=tcp -p 10000

The IcePatch2.Directory property specifies the location of the server's data directory, which we created in the previous section.

We will save our configuration properties into the following file:


We must also ensure that the service has permission to access its configuration file. The Ice run time never modifies a configuration file, therefore read access is sufficient. The configuration file likely already has the necessary access rights, which we can verify using the icacls utility that we described earlier:

> icacls C:\Ice\config\icepatch2.cfg

Creating the IcePatch2 Service

We will use Microsoft's Service Control (sc) utility in a command window to create the service.

See for more information about the SC utility.

Our first sc command does the majority of the work (the command is formatted for readability but must be typed on a single line):

> sc create icepatch2 binPath= "C:\Ice\bin\icepatch2server.exe
  --Ice.Config=C:\Ice\config\icepatch2.cfg --service icepatch2"
  DisplayName= "IcePatch2 Server" start= auto
  obj= "NT Authority\LocalService" password= ""

There are several important aspects of this command:

  • The service name is icepatch2. You can use whatever name you like, as long as it does not conflict with an existing service. Note however that this name is used in other contexts, such as in the --service option discussed below, therefore you must use it consistently.
  • Following the service are several options. Note that all of the option names end with an equals sign and are separated from their arguments with at least one space.
  • The binPath= option is required. We supply the full path name of the IcePatch2 server executable, as well as command-line arguments that define the location of the configuration file and the name of the service, all enclosed in quotes.
  • The DisplayName= option sets a friendly name for the service.
  • The start= option configures the start up behavior for the service. We used the argument auto to indicate the service should be started automatically when Windows boots.
  • The obj= option selects the user account in which this service runs. As we explained, the Local Service account is appropriate for most services.
  • The password= option supplies the password associated with the user account indicated by obj=. The Local Service account has an empty password.

The sc utility should report success if it was able to create the service as specified. You can verify that the new service was created with this command:

> sc qc icepatch2

Alternatively, you can start the Services administrative control panel and inspect the properties of the IcePatch2 service.

If you start the control panel, you will notice that the entry for IcePatch2 does not have a description. To add a description for the service, use the following command:

> sc description icepatch2 "IcePatch2 file server"

After refreshing the list of services, you should see the new description.

Creating the Event Log for the IcePatch2 Service

By default, programs such as the IcePatch2 service that utilize the Service class log messages to the Application event log. Below we describe how to prepare the Windows registry for the service's default behavior, and we also show how to use a custom event log instead. We make use of Microsoft's Registry (reg) utility to modify the registry, although you could also use the interactive regedit tool. As always, caution is recommended whenever you modify the registry.

Using the Application Log for the IcePatch2 Service

We must configure an event log source for events to display properly. The first step is to create a registry key with the name of the source. Since the Service class uses the service name as the source name by default, we add the key icepatch2 as shown below:

> reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\Application\icepatch2

Inside this key we must add a value specifies the location of the Ice run time DLL:

> reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\Application\icepatch2 /v EventMessageFile /t REG_EXPAND_SZ /d C:\Ice\bin\ice36.dll

We will also add a value indicating the types of events that the source supports:

> reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\Application\icepatch2 /v TypesSupported /t REG_DWORD /d 7

The value 7 corresponds to the combination of the following event types:


You can verify that the registry values have been defined correctly using the following command:

> reg query HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\Application\icepatch2

Our configuration of the event log is now complete.

Changing the Source Name for the IcePatch2 Service

Using the configuration described in the previous section, events logged by the IcePatch2 service are recorded in the event log using the source name icepatch2. If you prefer to use a source name that differs from the service name, you can replace icepatch2 in the registry commands with the name of your choosing, but you must also add a matching definition for the property Ice.EventLog.Source to the service's configuration file.

For example, to use the source name Ice File Patching Service, you would add the registry key as shown below:

> reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\Application\Ice File Patching Service"

The commands to add the EventMessageFile and TypesSupported values must be modified in a similar fashion. Finally, add the following configuration property to icepatch2.cfg:

Ice.EventLog.Source=Ice File Patching Service

Using a Custom Log for the IcePatch2 Service

You may decide that you want your services to record messages into an application-specific log instead of the Application log that is shared by other unrelated services. As an example, let us create a log named MyApp:

> reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\MyApp"

Next we add a subkey for the IcePatch2 service. As described in the previous section, we will use a friendlier source name:

> reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\MyApp\Ice File Patching Service"

Now we can define values for EventMessageFile and TypesSupported:

> reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\MyApp\Ice File Patching Service" /v EventMessageFile /t REG_EXPAND_SZ /d C:\Ice\bin\ice36.dll

> reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog\MyApp\Ice File Patching Service" /v TypesSupported /t REG_DWORD /d 7

Finally, we define Ice.EventLog.Source in the IcePatch2 service's configuration file:

Ice.EventLog.Source=Ice File Patching Service

Note that you must restart the Event Viewer control panel after adding the MyApp registry key in order to see the new log.

Registry Caching for the IcePatch2 Service

The first time a service logs an event, Windows' Event Log service caches the registry entries associated with the service's source. If you wish to modify a service's event log configuration, such as changing the service to use a custom log instead of the Application log, you should perform the following steps:

  1. Stop the service.
  2. Remove the unwanted event log registry key.
  3. Add the new event log registry key(s).
  4. Restart the system (or at least the Event Log service).
  5. Start the service and verify that the log entries appear in the intended log.

After following these steps, open a log entry and ensure that it displays properly. If it does not, for example if the event properties indicate that the description of an event cannot be found, the problem is likely due to a misconfigured event source. Verify that the value of EventMessageFile refers to the correct location of the Ice run time DLL, and that the service is defining Ice.EventLog.Source in its configuration file (if necessary).

Starting the IcePatch2 Service

We are at last ready to start the service. In a command window, you can use the sc utility:

> sc start icepatch2

The program usually responds with status information indicating that the start request is pending. You can query the service's status to verify that it started successfully:

> sc query icepatch2

The service should now be in the running state. If it is not in this state, open the Event Viewer control panel and inspect the relevant log for more information that should help you to locate the problem. Even if the service started successfully, you may still want to use the Event Viewer to confirm that the service is using the log you expected.

Testing the IcePatch2 Service

Ice includes a graphical IcePatch2 client in the demo/IcePatch2/MFC directory of the Ice distribution. Once you have built the client, you can use it to test that the service is working properly.

See Also