For the hanging agent/service, you might try: Control Panel -> AdministrativeTools -> Services, choose the offending service, right click (Properties) and check the "Allow service to interact with the desktop" checkbox (this checkbox will probably be in the LogOn tab). No guarantee it will change anything, but it is definitely worth a try, based on the symptoms you describe. Your hangs may be because the Service is not allowed to interact with the desktop and so is not allowed to create a (desktop) console window for stdin/stdout/stderr. If that fixes the problem, you need to alert the folks who wrote the agent/service; they should be able to fix the service so that it doesn't require the "Interact with the desktop" setting (it is generally considered poor style and less secure/robust for a service to interact with the desktop). BTW, which version of Windows is the service running on?