Computer Tips and Tricks
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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Windows Server 2003 Service Timeout

Frequently on Windows Server 2003 when rebooting, a service may fail to start and the following message appears over the logon screen:
Or when trying to start or restart a service manually you may receive this message.
This is because the timeout delay is set to low for the service to complete its startup process and causes it to fail.

Increasing the timeout delay gives the service more time to load. It can be increase with a simple registry tweak.
  • Load regedit (START - RUN - type regedit - Click OK.)
  • Navagate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control]
  • Create a new DWORD value called "ServicesPipeTimeout"
  • Set the value to 35000 - Decimal. This is the number of milliseconds that you want to give the services to start.

  • Now the server will need a reboot. If it is a vital server, it is best to schedule one out of hours.
In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 an extra startup option has been added "Automatic (Delayed Start)" to the properties of all services.
This effectively can be used to achieve the same result, but instead of effecting the entire system, can be placed on an individual service. This feature prevents a service from starting until all other services are started. This can be extremely useful if you have a service you need started AFTER others have kicked in.

In my experience this is where I usually experience a timeout, where a service is trying to start, but is waiting for other services first, and eventually gives up. The are of course other scenarios.

*Thanks to the reader below, for pointing out that I had NOT explained this properly before. Hope this helps.


Anonymous said...

I don't think you're correct in your last assertion. The delayed start feature instead means don't start the service immediately upon startup of the system. It waits a bit, which can be useful when too many things are happening at once at startup. I don't think it equates to the other timeout (about the services control panel) at all.

Emalf said...

Thank you for this. You are quite correct. This feature DOES NOT increase the the timeout on a service. It delays the service's startup. It is most useful if you have other services you need to have started first.

Thanks again, I will amend the above post.


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