"Failed to connect to a windows service" on startup


New Member
Hey all,

Occasionally when I start up my HP ProBook 4520s I get an error saying
"Failed to connect to a windows service. Windows could not connect to the System Event Notification Service service. This problem prevents standard users from logging on to the system. As an administrative user, you can review the System Event Log for details about why the service didn't respond.". When this happens all task bars go grey and there is no longer a Windows theme. Basically looks like a really old version of windows. Also when I try restart it takes about 15 minutes to reboot. Most of the time a reboot fixes the problem temporarily.

I tried looking in the system log, but there are so many items from the last 15minutes and I cannot figure out which one corresponds to the error.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before?

Thanks in advance.



Honorable Member
Some things to try:

Try doing a System Restore at boot using a restore point dated before this error to see if it fix this.

Start computer in safe mode.
logon on to administrator.
Click the start button
Search "cmd.exe"
Select it and then "ctrl - shift - enter" to allow elevation request
Type in - "netsh winsock reset" press enter
Then Restart your computer

Your firewall might be stopping the connection. COMODO is the worst for this. Try shutting down the firewall and reconnecting.

Add the DNS and IP address in your file C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (open in Notepad) To do this:
1) Got to START/RUN and type in CMD
2) Ping to the DNS address, like Giveaway of the Day - free licensed software daily. Today: ThunderSoft Flash Gallery Creator 1.0 - ThunderSoft Flash Gallery Creator is a software easy to use to create business web photo gallery, interactive flash gallery. Provide ... Note the IP address
3) Open up C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (again open up with Notepad) and enter in the IP address followed by the DNS address (without the http://) and save the file. Now try to reconnect and see if it works.


If you have a wireless printer, remove it and restart.

If any of these don't help, get back to us.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Hold your mouse over the flag in the tray. You may have an option to check for current issues. If so, go there and see if any info is given on the problem. If not, go to the action and see if you can find any info. There may be something in the archived messages section.

If there is nothing in the Action Center, the message says to check the Event Viewer (eventvwr.msc) to find info on the problem. So open it and look for an Error or possibly Warning message concerning the problem around the time it occurs. If you find something, double click the specific error and look at the message on the general tab. You can copy and paste that for us. You can also use the Event Log Online Help to send the info to Microsoft.

But if it can't connect, the service may not be starting. If you open the services control panel (services.msc) and check for the "System Event Notification Service", you should look to see if it is Started and how it starts (should be Automatic). If it is not running and you can't start it, right click and check the dependencies to see if they are running.

Msconfig.exe might also be useful, as you can check to see if that service, and the ones it depends on, are checked to start during boot.

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