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Recently I noticed a service in my windows 10 (v.1903, non-insider) installation with these properties:

  • Service name: AarSvc_70f96
  • Display name: Agent Activation Runtime_70f961
  • Description: Runtime for activating conversational agent applications
  • Path to executable: C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe -k AarSvcGroup -p

It is set to manual and cannot be disabled. Information on this service is very scarce but there are a few mentions like this where the last part of the service seems to be a random hexadecimal number (AarSvc_xxxxxx).

According to this, it is new to version 1903.

Does anyone have any more information as to what it is, if it should be disabled and how it could be disabled?

5

Reading over this Microsoft page, it seems this service relates to digital Assistants, such as Cortana and how they use the Windows.ApplicationModel.ConversationalAgent Namespace that appears to have been added in Windows 10 version 1903 (see the "Develop Windows Apps" section).

Provides applications the ability to expose functionality through any digital assistant supported by the Windows platform Agent Activation Runtime (AAR).

I don't see any reason to disable it, but in the one link you provided in your question, one of the dependencies of this service is Windows Audio. If this service is stopped or disabled, the Agent Activation Runtime service will be unable to start according to that page:

Agent Activation Runtime is unable to start, if the Windows Audio service is stopped or disabled.

I wouldn't recommend stopping Windows Audio however, as that will probably lead to a lot of unwanted issues.

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  • 1
    The only reason to disable it would be the fact that we shouldn't have to run services we don't need, especially obscure ones. But, of course, you are right, disabling windows audio would probably lead to bigger problems. – papnikol Sep 4 '19 at 17:08
  • I have no proof but i personally believe a (pirated) Adobe Acrobat can be silently going through cloud activation by this Agent Activation Runtime even I have tried to disabled all adobe related services – elliotching Aug 3 at 14:22
5

It's possible to set this service to disabled. Open Regedit, and navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\AarSvc_70f96

Note that the trailing five digits will be different on every system. They can be determined by checking the "Service Name" entry shown when you double click on the service entry in the Services MMC plugin.

Inside that key is an entry "Start" which is a 32 bit DWORD value. Set that value to 4, the service will be disabled, and will not start at boot time.

You will also see another service AarSvc immediately above the one with the five digit random number. According to this page: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/application-management/per-user-services-in-windows services of this sort are Per User services, and to completely disable them, the version without the five digits, AKA the template service, should also have its "Start" value set to 4.

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  • Thanks for the info, have you noticed any problems by disabling it? – papnikol Sep 15 '19 at 10:06
  • @papnikol I've not noticed any problems as a result of disabling it. However it should be noted that I have Cortana completely disabled, and no other third party "assistant" installed on my system. – dgnuff Sep 16 '19 at 9:19
  • that is my case too, there could be issues for someone using Cortana – papnikol Sep 20 '19 at 17:22

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