Q: Unable to start various system services; "Error 5: Access is denied"

While the usual set of services are configured to start automatically, they, well, don't... And attempting to make 'em start manually results in either "access is denied" or "dependency service or group failed to start" errors. Only a small handful load on their own, but they don't include, for eg, the Remote Procedure Call service.

The user account is supposed to have administrative access; the User Accounts panel (accessed via Control Panel) is blank, and (since I'm running XP Home) I have no access to Local Users and Groups. Rebooting into safe mode and logging in via the administrator account results in the exact same symptoms.

I was not present when the problem started, but am told it occurred after the system crashed and was rebooted. Start up times are extended but do not include any error messages.

I cannot use the Restore service as it will not start. Likewise for the Windows Installer service. Services that DO start are:

Plug and Play
Java Quick Starter
Event Log (which records no errors)
Bonjour Service
AVG Free8 Watchdog Service
Ati Hotkey Poller
Apple Mobile Device

Last Known Good Configuration boots in the exact same way.



I found a thread online pointing out that if you check out this section of your registry, you can get some rather more solid info on your services:


By looking up the RPC service here, I found it relied on "c:\windows\system32\svchost.exe" in order to load. Sure enough, attempting to manually run that gave access denied errors.

I rebooted to safe mode and checked the permissions (by opening the file Properties then checking the Security tab) - the Everone group already had Full Control, but on disabling/re-enabling access the error messages went away. I rebooted normally and the RPC service was back up and running, along with all the others.

Unfortunately, after rebooting once more the permissions whacked up again and I was forced to repeat the procedure. At this point I'm fairly certain some malware is involved, but you can consider the original issue fixed. Thanks for your time.  :)

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Views: 26,948 Last updated: July 4, 2018 Applies to: