I have one computer with kinda strange problem.

User notified me that all of a sudden some services that used to work, are not starting anymore. Those include: AU, Computer Browser, DHCP Client, Server, Secondary Logon, Workstation, Windows Audio...

I can start those services manualy, but when I restart computer they are not started, although they are set to automaticly start regularly.

I looked at the Event Viewer, and all the services have one common error in System. it's:

"xxx service failed to start due to the following error: The pipe state is invalid."

I tried doing windows repair, but didn't help. Everything's exactly the same.

When i asked him what's he been doing, he said, he was uninstalling some software but all regularly and it all went fine. After next restart this happened. Some software are Vmware server 2, recuva, some photoshop plugins and that's all he can remember.

I checked, and it's not a virus of any sort, computer is perfectly clean.

Any ideas people?


From your description, I take it´s a workstation, not a server.

With errors like this, it probably is less effort to reinstall the operating system than find and repair the error.

This also describes the reason why users dont get admin permissions where I am responsible.

  • Yeah, it's aworkstation, but in a way a major one. This dude wouldn't have called me if it wasn't an emergency. There are a lot of things on that machine and reinstalling would be a great thing to avoid if not necessary :) thanks – Boris Vezmar Dec 16 '09 at 14:54

Googling suggests that there is a confused driver or application caused by uninstalling one of the applications. I'd suggest a couple ways to approach it...

System restore, try rolling it back to fix the issue.

Reinstall some of the applications to see if that fixes what's corrupted or missing.

Restore from backup if this is a server, not a workstation.

Otherwise signs point to "not good" for getting it fixed since it's a weird reference error that came about from uninstalling an application and you're not sure which one triggered it or where. You might be able to try logging things with Sysinternals tools to get a clue about where to try prodding next, but if you can't restore from a rollback or application reinstalls aren't fixing it, you'll save yourself a ton of time by just fixing a nice caffeinated beverage or three and sighing really heavily and backing up essential data...format, reinstall.

Then look at getting an imaging program to back up the system to a "clean" state after reapplying the user's documents and applications so you can restore it if it happens again :-)

  • System restore didn't help. Though I noticed one strange thing. Of usual 7-8 svchost.exe in task manager, the one with all the services not running here is simply missing. I get it that it is the problem. Why is that one not starting, and how to get it fixed? Thanks – Boris Vezmar Dec 17 '09 at 14:02
  • I think the service hosts is a generic "daemon controller process" that spawns off the background services. Not necessarily tied to specific processes. But I haven't researched it in depth...it's not a situation where you can say svchost.exe number 2 isn't running properly so you have to restore XYZ.exe to get it running. You may have to reinstall the apps to see if it untangles or wipe and reinstall, which I think most of the people with this issue on Google ended up doing. – Bart Silverstrim Dec 17 '09 at 14:20

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