How do I grant start/stop/restart permissions on a service to an arbitrary user or group on a non-domain-member server?

Solution 1:

There doesn't appear to be a GUI-based way of doing this unless you're joined to a domain - at least not one I could find anywhere - so I did a bit more digging and I've found an answer that works for our situation.

I didn't understand what the string representation meant in the knowledge base article, but doing a bit of digging led me to discover that it's SDDL syntax. Further digging led me to this article by Alun Jones which explains how to get the security descriptor for a service and what each bit means. MS KB914392 has more details.

To append to the service's existing security descriptor, use sc sdshow "Service Name" to get the existing descriptor. If this is a plain old .NET Windows Service - as is the case with ours - the security descriptor should look something like this:


We needed to grant permissions RP (to start the service), WP (to stop the service), DT (to pause/continue the service) and LO (to query the service's current status). This could be done by adding our service account to the Power Users group, but I only want to grant individual access to the account under which the maintenance service runs.

Using runas to open a command prompt under the service account, I ran whoami /all which gave me the SID of the service account, and then constructed the additional SDDL below:


This then gets added to the D: section of the SDDL string above:


This is then applied to the service using the sc sdset command (before the S: text):


If all goes according to plan, the service can then be started, stopped, paused and have it's status queried by the user defined by the SID above.

Solution 2:

I just had the same problem.
You could use SubInACL.exe from the Resource Kit. Download the standalone utility here:

Use msiexec /a PathToMSIFile /qb TARGETDIR=DirectoryToExtractTo to extract the files if you don't want to install the .msi

  1. Open a command prompt as Administrator
  2. Go to the directory where you placed the .exe
  3. Run subinacl /service SERVICE_NAME /grant=COMPUTER_NAME\USERNAME=TOP

T = Start service
O = Stop service
P = Pause/continue service

Full reference: How to grant users rights to manage services in Windows 2000
or type subinacl /help

Note: don't try subinacl /service SERVICE_NAME /perm as it could get you into trouble (lesson learned :P). The name could be misleading (perm != permission), as it deletes all permissions to all users (even Admin!).

Solution 3:

You're looking for Computer Configuration - Policies - Windows Settings - Security Settings - System Services

There you can not only define the service start type, but you can configure the security ACLs for each service as well. By default, the interface will only list the services that are installed on the machine you're running the GP Editor on.

To add services that only exist on another machine:

  • export the service's reg key from the other machine
  • import on the gpedit machine
  • apply the policy
  • delete the imported key

Solution 4:

I used SubinAcl (as suggested by patrx) to be able to start MySQL as a regular domain user (not admin) and it works perfectly! (the command needs however to be executed as a -local at least- Admin)

The command is:

[PATH_TO_SUBACL]\subinacl.exe /service MySQL /grant=[Domain User - Without domain]=TOP

Just note that I entered the user without prefixing it with the domain ... otherwise command fails on parsing command!