C# Run Windows Form Application from Service (and in Vista)


I am writing an application in C# that needs to run as a service but also have user interaction. I understand that services have no UI, etc, so I've divided up my program into a windows form application and a service that can communicate with each other.

The problem I'm having is that I need the service to make sure the windows form application is always running and restart it if it is not. I'm able to detect if it is running, and restart it with the following code on Windows 2000/XP:


but on Vista, it runs the new process as a Local/System process which is invisible to the user. Does someone way around this? Is there some way to detect which user is currently logged on and run the new process as that user? I don't need to account for fast-user switching at this point. Something – anything – basic would suffice.

I would be grateful for any help or tips you have on the subject.

I need to clarify that I am setting the "Allow service to interact with desktop" option when the service is installed. This is what allows it to work on 2000/XP. However, Vista still has the aforementioned problem.

Best Solution

The general idea for this sort of thing is, if the user needs to interact with a service, they should launch a separate application. If you want to help them out, you can configure that separate application to start with windows by placing a shortcut in the start up menu. You can also build crash recovery into your application so it can automatically restart.

You shouldn't really rely on monitoring the forms application, what if no one is logged in? What if multiple people are logged in? It just gets messy doing things this way.

Having the service just sit there and broadcast to listeners is the way to go. When the forms application starts it can notify the service it wants to listen to events.