I realize this is almost identical to this question but the big difference is that the methods described in the MSKB article DO NOT WORK for installed Tomcat services. They work for simple Windows services but not for the Tomcat services we need to control.

Any further ideas?

Edit (details): If I have 100 Tomcat container services, do I have to grant this permission explicitly on the group for each service? Is there a way to get a DOMAIN group set up to have permission to stop/start 100 different Tomcat services across 15 machines?

Edit (more info): We are using Ant sshexec (jsch) and get Access Denied errorlevel 5 when calling net stop service_name.


3 Answers 3


I'm not sure what you've tried to do before, but here's what I just did and had success:

1) Downloaded the Tomcat 5.5.27 Windows Service installer and installed it.

2) Dumped the TomCat5 service security descriptor using "sc sdshow tomcat5", which showed me:


This is a pretty common security descriptor for services. I've seen it verbatim on some Microsoft services. The SYSTEM and built-in Administrators have "full control", "Power Users" can stop, start, and pause the service, and "Authenticated Users" can query properties of the service (I'm glossing over a bit here).

3) I created a limited user called "bob" on my box, opened a "RUNAS" command-prompt as him, and got his SID from "WHOAMI /ALL" (a command that's on Windows Server 2003 but not on XP... don't know about Vista and Windows 7 off the top of my head). I verified that Bob could not stop / start the Tomcat service (using "NET STOP tomcat5"). I received the same error you report in your post.

4) From my regular administrator command-prompt, ran the following:

sc sdset tomcat5 D:(A;;CCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRRC;;;SY)(A;;CCDCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRSDRCWDWO;;;BA)(A;;CCLCSWLOCRRC;;;AU)(A;;CCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRRC;;;PU)(A;;RPWPDT;;;S-1-5-21-1409082233-484763869-854245398-1009)

This SDDL string gives Bob's SID (S-1-5-21-1409082233-484763869-854245398-1009) rights to stop, start, and pause the service (RP, WP, and DT, respectively).

5) I flipped back to my "Bob" command prompt and verified that I could now stop and start the service using NET STOP and NET START.

I'd recommend creating a group to delegte this right to, putting a user in that group, getting the group's SID (using WHOAMI or any other tool) and modifying the security descriptor this way.

I would think that using Group Policy to modify the security descriptor would work fine. I have seen cases where some services don't like the default permission that a group policy-based modification puts on a service (look at this posting about the Windows Search service if you want to see what I'm talking about: http://peeved.org/blog/2007/12/07), but that has been uncommon in my experience.

If you want more background on security descriptors for services, have a look at http://msmvps.com/blogs/alunj/archive/2006/02/13/83472.aspx and http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914392.

  • If I have 100 Tomcat container services, do I have to grant this permission explicitly on the group for each service? Is there a way to get a DOMAIN group set up to have permission to stop/start 100 different Tomcat services across 15 machines? Jun 2, 2009 at 19:46
  • You're going to have to set it on all 100 service instances, but you can definitely script that. You absolutely can name a domain group's SID in the security descriptor. That actually sounds pretty easy, since you're talking a single group, and thus a single security descriptor to be set on all 100 services. The hardest part is going to be building that list of 100 services initially. Hopefully you already have all their names in a file somewhere. You should be able to iterate thru that list once you've got a tested and working security descriptor. Make sense? Jun 2, 2009 at 20:11
  • Actually, w/ 100 services to do, it's probably easier to script the "sc sdset" commmand than it would be to do it with group policy. You can run the same script on all 15 machines, and any services that don't exist on a given machine will just be ignored. You can keep the script around and run it on new machines / add new services to it / etc. Jun 2, 2009 at 20:12
  • So there's no entry point to make all the services similar so we can grant the one user permission on all of them domain wide. Bummer. I'll accept this answer in a few days unless someone can make me happier! Jun 2, 2009 at 21:35
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "entry point". Each service has its own security descriptor. They do not "inherit" from any kind of "parent" security descriptor. Microsoft just didn't architect it that way. You can make the user a member of "Power Users" or "Administrators" and they'll have rights to stop / start most any service (including your Tomcat instances) because the default security descriptor for every service I've ever seen names "Power Users" and "Administrators". Jun 2, 2009 at 23:06

You could set up a Windows Scheduler job to run the command. A scheduler job can be set up to run a command under some other user's credentials. You can then set the security on the job so that only a certain set of users can run it.

You'll need Admin rights to create the scheduled task, but you can then give other people rights to run it. Even though it's a scheduled task, you can set it so that it only runs on demand.

For example let's say you create a job (open Control Panel>Scheduled Tasks, then right-click and choose New>Scheduled task) called: StartTomcat

Go to the "Task" tab.

Set the "Run" and "Start in" values to the command line that starts Tomcat. Also Set the "Run As" line to be a user that's allowed to start and stop Tomcat, and click the "Set password..." button to provide the user's password. Finally, remove the check from the Enabled box, since you only want to run the job on demand.

Then go to the "Security" tab.
Add the people you want to allow to run the task, and grant them only "Read & Execute" permissions on the task.

Finally, create a batch file to execute the task. The batch file will contain the line:

   schtasks /run /tn StartTomcat

Put the batch file in a place that's accessible to the users that need to run it. It might even be possible to put the batch file on a separate machine, but you'll need some additional parameters to the schtasks line. You can look up those parameters in Windows Help.

  • i've not tested this, but it sounds like the cleanest solution.
    – Ian Boyd
    Jun 2, 2009 at 20:31
  • 1
    "Cleanest"? Phhh... that's silly. The poster says he's got 100 instances to start / stop, so this method implies 100 "Scheduled Tasks" be created. Just modifying the security descriptors on the services will allow the delegated users to use the standard Windows service control tools to stop / start the services. What could be "cleaner" than that? This is a dodgy hack. Jun 2, 2009 at 21:15

You need to find out what makes these Tomcat services so special that the normal methods for controlling them in Windows don't work. How don't they work? Is it simply an Access Denied problem? If so, ProcMon would be highly useful for figuring out specifically where the access needs to be granted.

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