Microsoft® Windows NT® supports an application type known as a service. A Win32-based service conforms to the interface rules of the Service Control Manager (SCM). It can be started automatically at system boot, by a user through the Services control panel applet, or by a Win32-based application that uses the service functions included in the Microsoft® Win32® application programming interface (API). Services can execute even when no user is logged on to the system.

Windows NT also supports a driver service, which conforms to the device driver protocols for Windows NT. It is similar to the Win32-based service, but it does not interact with the SCM. For simplicity, the term service refers to a Win32-based service in this overview.

Note Windows 95 supports a subset of the functionality provided by the Windows NT SCM. For more information, see Windows 95 Service Control Manager.

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