Creating a service for Visual Basic 2008 Express

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One of the drawbacks to using VB 2008 express is that some of the functionality is removed. This is perfectly fair, I mean you can download and use it for free!

Well how do you go about creating a service with it then? Well this kind soul has so helpfully created a template that you can load into visual studio.

Alternate download here

Ok, so the trick with that is to place the zip file under “My Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Templates\ProjectTemplates\C:\Documents and Settings\Luiz.BRASVALOR\Meus documentos\Visual Studio 2005\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual Basic”

Now, when you go to new projects you should be able to see the Windows Service as a template. So select that, now for a quick test you could follow this example

Basically add a timer (Right clicking on the Toolbox, and Choose Items, add System.Timers.Timer) Do not use the forms timer!

Add the Following Code to the Timer1_Elapsed:

Dim eventlog1 As New EventLog
If Not EventLog.SourceExists(“MyApp1”) Then
EventLog.CreateEventSource(“MyApp1”, “Application”)
End If
EventLog1.Source = “MyApp1”
EventLog1.WriteEntry(“This is a simple event log entry”)

End Sub

And For OnStart():

Protected Overrides Sub OnStart(ByVal args() As String)
‘ Add code here to start your service. This method should set things
‘ in motion so your service can do its work.
Timer1.Enabled = True
End Sub

Here is where you have to take a different path though, since we are using Express we can’t go right click add installer. Instead, as it shows here

You need to add your own installer code. So, right click on your project in the solutions explorer and go add new class.

Then copy and paste this in.

Imports System
Imports System.Collections
Imports System.Configuration.Install
Imports System.ServiceProcess
Imports System.ComponentModel

<RunInstallerAttribute(True)> _
Public Class MyProjectInstaller
Inherits Installer
Private serviceInstaller1 As ServiceInstaller
Private processInstaller As ServiceProcessInstaller

Public Sub New()
‘ Instantiate installers for process and services.
processInstaller = New ServiceProcessInstaller()
serviceInstaller1 = New ServiceInstaller()

‘ The services will run under the system account.
processInstaller.Account = ServiceAccount.LocalSystem

‘ The services will be started manually.
serviceInstaller1.StartType = ServiceStartMode.Manual

‘ ServiceName must equal those on ServiceBase derived classes.
serviceInstaller1.ServiceName = “Your Service”

‘ Add installers to collection. Order is not important.
End Sub
End Class

The only important thing that you might need to change is the ServiceName = “Your Service” change to what ever you want your service to be called.

Ok, build your service.

Now you need to install your service. One way is to use the installutil.exe, this is located in

C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\   your dot net version here \ InstallUtil.exe

So run InstallUtil.exe and pass it the path to your compiled service. If all goes well if you go start, run, services.msc, your should see what ever you named your service show up. Go ahead and start your service and you should see sample messages appear in your event log.

Now, my newest favorite method of installing services is using an undocumented method call

This post talks about it

Add a reference to System.Configuration.Install and then

Imports System.Configuration.Install

Just create a form with two buttons and then paste
Private Sub Button1_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click

System.Configuration.Install.ManagedInstallerClass.InstallHelper(New String() {“C:\Test\YourService1.exe”})
Catch ex As Exception
End Try

End Sub

Private Sub Button2_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button2.Click
System.Configuration.Install.ManagedInstallerClass.InstallHelper(New String() {“/u”, “C:\Test\YourService1.exe”})
Catch ex As Exception
End Try
End Sub

Then you can just click on the buttons to install and remove your service!