Messenger Service Defaults in Windows XP

Transmits net send and Alerter service messages between clients and servers. This service is not related to Windows Messenger. If this service is stopped, Alerter messages will not be transmitted. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Default Settings

Startup type:
Windows XP HomeAutomatic
Windows XP ProfessionalAutomatic
Windows XP Home SP1Automatic
Windows XP Professional SP1Automatic
Windows XP Home SP2Disabled
Windows XP Professional SP2Disabled
Windows XP Home SP3Disabled
Windows XP Professional SP3Disabled
Display name:Messenger
Service name:Messenger
Service type:share
Error control:normal
Path:%SystemRoot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs
Registry key:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Messenger

Default Behavior

Messenger is a Win32 service. It is starting automatically along with the operating system in all editions of Windows XP SP0, Windows XP SP1. This service is disabled and isn't loading or starting in all editions of Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3.

When the Messenger service is started, it is running as LocalSystem in a shared process of svchost.exe. Other services and drivers are allowed to run in the same process. If the Messenger fails to start, the technical information about the error is added to the Event Log. Windows XP startup should proceed, but a message box should be displayed informing the user that the Messenger service has failed to start.


Messenger depends on the following system components:

Restore Default Startup Configuration of Messenger

Before you begin doing this, make sure that all the services on which Messenger depends are configured by default and function properly. See the list of dependencies above.

1. Run the Command Prompt.

2. Depending on the version of your operating system, copy the commands below, paste them into the command window and press ENTER.

For Windows XP SP0 Home, Windows XP SP0 Professional, Windows XP SP1 Home, Windows XP SP1 Professional:
sc config Messenger start= auto
sc start Messenger

For Windows XP SP2 Home, Windows XP SP2 Professional, Windows XP SP3 Home, Windows XP SP3 Professional:
sc stop Messenger
sc config Messenger start= disabled

3. Close the command window and restart the computer.

The Messenger service is using the msgsvc.dll file that is located in the C:\Windows\System32 directory. If the file is removed or corrupted, read this article to restore its original version from Windows XP installation media.