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Windows: Use WMIC to Start or Stop a Service from the Command Line

By using the Windows Instrumentation command-line interface (WMIC), you can easily start or stop a service without having to use the GUI. Once you become familiar with the steps, it will be much faster than having to access the Services applet in the Administrative Tools. This Tech-Recipe applies to Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.


1. Open a command prompt.

2. Input WMIC and press Return. You will see a prompt that looks like this:
wmic:root\cli>

3. At the new prompt, execute the following command:
service get caption,start,startmode

This will generate a list of all available services and their current status.

4. To start a service,go to the prompt and execute the following command:
service where caption="" call startservice

where service caption is the caption of the service you wish to start (use the exact caption provided by the previously generated list).

For example, if I were wanting to start the Terminal Services service, my command would look like this:
service where caption="Terminal Services" call startservice

5. When prompted, input y to confirm that you wish to start the service and press Return.

The service will be started.

6. To stop a service,go to the prompt and execute the following command:
service where caption="" call stopservice

where service caption is the caption of the service you wish to stop (use the exact caption provided by the previously generated list).

For example, if I were wanting to stop the Terminal Services service, my command would look like this:
service where caption="Terminal Services" call stopservice

7. When prompted, input y to confirm that you wish to stop the service and press Return.

The service will be stopped.

Rob Rogers
Rob Rogers
Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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