The dependency service failed to start: 3 ways to fix it

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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dependency service won't start

Our lives have become so dependent on the Internet that we literally live there. And if something cuts off the Internet connection, our work and our very livelihoods are severely affected, so it is likely that error The dependency service failed to start is the culprit.

So, it can be that your Windows PC’s connection to the Internet has indeed been cut off. Pointless to say, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible.


What causes dependency service errors?

Even shifting from an Ethernet to a wireless connection, or vice versa, to fix the problem will not bring any relief. It is not a hardware issue, something deep inside the Windows OS’s services is broken.

Almost by impulse, the first place you will go to fix any internet connection issues will be the network sharing center. This is where you would normally troubleshoot and fix connection errors.

Still, this error is a little tricky. Trying to troubleshoot it will only return another error – “The Diagnostic Policy Service is not running’. That will stop you dead in your tracks.

Steps to fix dependency service start errors

  1. Use Normal Startup to load all the services and drivers
  2. Add localservice and networkservice to your Administrator group
  3. Enable all network related services to start automatically

The thing with the Windows OS’s internet configuration settings is there is a whole host of services all layered on top of each other that you need specific permissions for. Fail to get any one of those and your connection is as good as blocked.

In response, the problem here is the localservice and networkservice that have been removed from your administrator group because of some file corruption.

This essentially means you have lost administrator privileges for accessing the Diagnostic Policy Service and as a result, you can’t troubleshoot the error.

You will need to get the local service and networkservice added back to your administrator group.

But since the loss of the services can be due to a simple temporary misconfiguration and something as serious as a virus infection it is best to consider the simpler restart fix first.

Solution 1 – Use Normal Startup to load all the services and drivers

Using the normal start-up to restart your PC will force load all drivers and services and hopefully resolve the connection error.

The other startup types – diagnostic and selective startups will only load the basic services and, with the selective startup, only those you will have pre-selected.


Follow these steps to shift to Normal Startup:

  1. Click the Windows start icon, type msconfig, and hit enter to bring up the System Configuration folder,
    dependency service failed to start
  2. In the window that comes up, check the normal start-up option and click OK.
  3. After the PC restarts, check to see if the error still comes up. If it does, proceed to this next fix.

ALSO READ: How to fix loss of Internet connection on Windows 10 PCs

Solution 2 – Add localservice and networkservice to your Administrator group

In the majority of cases where this error crops up, restoring the local and networkservice back under your administrator privileges is usually all you need to do. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the command prompt line by clicking Windows start icon and typing cmd into the search bar,
  2. In the drop-down list that comes up, right click cmd.exe and click Run as administrator,
  3. The command prompt will come up. Type net localgroup administrators localservice /add and hit enter,
  4. Type in net localgroup administrators networkservice /add and hit enter again. You should get this;
    dependency service failed to start
  5. Type exit to close the command prompt.

Restart your PC and try connecting to the internet again. You should be good to go. If the error still comes up, try this next fix.

Solution 3 – Enable all network related services to start automatically

There are cases where some of your PC’s services will need to be enabled and set to automatically run on startup for you to restore your internet connection. Here is a list of services you should enable:

Application Layer Gateway Service,
Network Location Awareness (NLA),
Network Connections,
Plug and Play,
Remote Access Connection Manager,
Remote Procedure Call (RPC),
Remote Access Auto Connection Manager,

To enable these services, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Windows start icon, type services.msc, and hit enter,
    dependency service failed to start
  2. Search for each of the above services and on each, right click and choose Properties,
    In the properties folder, look for Startup type and change it to Automatic. It is normally set to Manual,
    dependency service failed to start
  3. Click OK and proceed to the next service.

It is important that you set the startup type to Automatic and not Manual. The implication is with the latter the services will run from when you start the PC and, with the former, you have to enable them every time you face connection issues, which is exhausting.

Failing to connect to the internet is rough. You can’t work, or play, which is an absolute disaster for some people.

The fixes we have discussed here should help solve ‘The dependency service failed to start’ error. Remember though to scan and clean your PC of viruses if you notice it behaving strangely or suffering more bugs than usual.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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