›› Alerter Service

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The Alerter service allows a network administrator to send pop-up messages through a network to an individual user or group of users. You can think of the Alerter service as being similar to an instant messenger in that messages are sent instantly through a network. However, please don't think the Alerter service is the same as an instant messenger. A true instant messenger requires instant messaging software to be installed on the computer, but with the Alerter service, the instant messaging capabilities are built right into Windows.

For those connected to a network, the Alerter service can be very useful. An example of when you may need this service is if you need to tell your co-workers that the meeting has changed from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. or if the print server will be shutting down at 5:00 p.m. Generally, anything you would need to send an email for can be sent through Alerter across the LAN.

Many people feel that the Alerter service is not necessary and superfluous. The argument has been made that Alerter poses a high security risk as it is vulnerable to hacker attacks. So if you are a home user and not connected to a network, you will not need this service, and it's a pretty safe bet to say that you can disable it. However, if you are connected to a network, you should check with your System Administrator for the proper setting before you disable it.

If you are a system administrator, it is probably best to keep Alerter disabled since it is prone to hacker attacks and poses a high security risk. According to Microsoft, the reason that Alerter was disabled in Service Pack 2 was due to the high security risks for incoming network attacks and Alerter's infrequent and limited use. Microsoft's recommendation is that you find alternative software to send administrative alerts or simply keep Alerter disabled until you need to use it.

Note: In order to receive messages from Alerter, be aware that the Messenger and Workstation services must be up and running on your computer. Be aware that the startup type is set to Disabled with Windows XP Service Pack 2, and any programs that you may have had running Alerter in Windows XP or Service Pack 1, will not be able to send a message or receive messages as before.

Service Name Alerter
Display Name Alerter
Executable File Name svchost.exe
Dependencies Workstation, Messenger
Reciprocal Dependencies None
Default Startup Type Manual (XP SP1), Disabled (XP SP2)
Recommended Startup Type Disabled

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