What Are WLIDSVC.EXE and WLIDSVCM.EXE and Why Are They Running?

By Lowell Heddings on September 30th, 2010

You’re no doubt reading this article because you’re wondering what those two processes are doing cluttering up Task Manager, and also wondering why they are in capital letters. You’ve come to the right place.

This article is part of our series explaining various processes found in Task Manager, including: svchost.exe, jusched.exe, dwm.exe, ctfmon.exe, wmpnetwk.exe, wmpnscfg.exe, mDNSResponder.exe, conhost.exe, rundll32.exe, Dpupdchk.exe, and Adobe_Updater.exe.

Do you know what those services are? Better start reading!

So What Are These Processes?

These two processes work together to form the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant service, which helps you stay logged into Windows Live. The WLIDSVC.EXE is the actual Windows Service, and the WLIDSVCM.EXE is the “Service Monitor”.

This service provides a number of benefits, including easier sign-in for multiple accounts when using Windows Live (screenshot from Microsoft’s site).

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It’s also absolutely required if you’re using Windows Live Messenger. In fact, if you disable the services, you’ll get the error message “Signing in to Windows Live Messenger Beta failed because the service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later. Error code 800706ba”.

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But Wait, I’m Not Using Windows Live Messenger?

That’s exactly the problem that I ran into and which prompted this article. I’m using Pidgin for all my instant messenger needs, and the only Windows Live application that I’ve got installed is Windows Live Writer, which I’m using to write this post.

You can see in the installer that there’s no way to de-select the Sign-In Assistant:

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Let’s Delve Into the Processes

If you’re looking at Task Manager, you should see the two processes at the bottom of the window. You can right-click on the processes and either choose “Go to Services” or you can “Open File Location”, which is what we’ll do here.

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Once you’re there, you can either view the properties or hover over the file name to see what it is. You’ll see the full name of the service in the tooltip.

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If you had selected Go to Services, you’ll see that this is a Windows Service, and you can immediately identify which one it is.

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Disabling WLIDSVC.EXE and WLIDSVCM.EXE

If you want to disable the service, simply open up Services.msc through the Start Menu search or Run box, or search in Control Panel for services. Once you’re there, you can find the Windows Live Sign-in Assistant in the list.

Important Note: if you are using a Windows Live application that requires sign-in, like Windows Live Messenger, you should NOT disable this service.

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Once you’ve double-clicked on the service, you can set it to Disabled in here.

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Second Step: Disable the IE Add-on

If you aren’t using Windows Live, but you do use Internet Explorer, you should probably get rid of the Sign-in helper plugin that’s installed into Internet Explorer. Head into Tools –> Manage Add-ons and change the dropdown to say “All add-ons”, and then find Windows Live ID Sign-in Helper in the list and click the Disable button.

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Did You Learn Anything? Let’s Recap

This service is used to provide helpers for Windows Live Sign-in, and if you are using Windows Live Messenger or another Windows Live application that requires sign-in to Windows Live, you need to leave it alone.

Also, we’ve got no clue why they are named in capital letters. Lazy programmers?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/30/10
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