Debugging Windows Service in Visual Studio

After some searching and testing how to debug a windows service, I found that for me the following solution is working very well.

First register your service as a service on your machine. This can be done with a few simple steps. How to do this is described in this article: http://kannekens.nl/registering-installing-a-windows-service/

Next add a line / lines Debugger.Break(); in your code where you want the debugger to start. Now compile in debug mode clicking in Visual Studio menu: Build, Build Solution while the Configuration Manager is set to Debug.

After the application compiled successfully we can stop and start the service to ensure these modifications are run:

I used the tips from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/framework/windows-services/how-to-debug-windows-service-applications and https://stackoverflow.com/questions/104235/how-can-i-use-debugbreak-in-c.

Right click the Visual Studio application and select more…, Run as administrator

Click Debug, Attach to Process in the Visual Studio menu.

This will open a dialog where you need to select the right process to debug. Check the Show processes from all users checkbox. Find your Service process and click Attach.

Registering / Installing a Windows Service

After you have written your Windows Service in Visual Studio you might want to run this to test and use the service.

You can run your service with a few simple steps: I used a service called ServiceName in the following examples.

First start a command prompt: cmd (as admin)

Install a service is done using sc create, syntax:
sc create ServiceName binPath=”pathto.exe”. If the command was successfull it will report SUCCESS.
Example:

Install a service is done using sc create, syntax:
sc create ServiceName binPath=”pathto.exe”.

If the command was successfull it will report SUCCESS. Example:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>sc create ServiceName binPath=”C:\repos\ServiceMonitor\ServiceName\bin\Debug\ServiceName.exe”
[SC] CreateService SUCCESS

To start the service use the command net start, syntax:
net start ServiceName

C:\WINDOWS\system32>net start ServiceName
The ServiceName service is starting.
The ServiceName service was started successfully.

To stop the service use the command net stop, syntax:
net stop ServiceName
Example:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>net stop ServiceName
The ServiceName service is stopping.
The ServiceName service was stopped successfully.

To delete / uninstall the service use sc delete, syntax:
sc delete ServiceName
Example:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>sc delete servicename
[SC] DeleteService SUCCESS