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Testing Service Connectivity with PortQry

If you ask a bunch of systems administrators what tools do they use when troubleshooting remote services and ports, one of the top answers would definitely be the Telnet client! Windows 7 includes a Telnet Client but it is not installed by default. However, a tool that is more flexible and powerful than Telnet Client is PortQry. This tool has been around since Windows 2000 and version 2 has more features, you can download PortqryV2.exe from Microsoft’s Download Center as it is not included with Windows 7.

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Troubleshooting Windows Services auto-start

Quite often, Windows services fail to start automatically due to Registry incorrect modifications or even worse, registry corruption. Every service when installed creates a key in the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<Service Name> while a subkey with the name of Start (for Auto-start) is created under the service name.  I have encountered many incidents that these subkeys were modified either by a valid third-party application or some malware. Critical system services such as, the Task Scheduler can only have their auto-start state changed from the registry as this is disabled (grayed-out) from the services console. To learn more about Windows services tools visit Managing Services in Windows 7

It is very difficult to find how and why these subkeys are being modified, hence I decided to code an executable that monitors Services Start registry subkeys and alerts you if one of the keys you have specified has been modified.

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Managing Services in Windows 7

Services are applications that run in the background. They can start up on boot or when required and can run independently of the logged on users. The main tools that you can use when managing services are the Services Console (Services.msc), the Task Manager, the Sc.exe command line utility, and Group Policies. To troubleshoot services during startup use the msconfig utility.

The services console lists all services and provides information about each service such as, logon details, state, etc. To start the Service consoles type services in the Start search text box and click the Services link under programs.

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Speed up the Startup process

Although startup times are the result of many variables that differ from one computer to another, the following steps will help you optimize this time. Most commercial applications perform similar actions, therefore, it is wiser to have some knowledge about the startup process and perform the changes yourself, as you are in the best position to decide what is essential or not required in your system. Remember, that third party applications are generic and can do unwanted changes!

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