NI services

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This page attempts to document the Windows Services installed by National Instruments products.

Service Name Summary Description
National Instruments Domain Service Security account system for network-connected instrumentation; optional
National Instruments PSP Server Locator Publish/Subscribe Protocol server for network-connected instrumentation
National Instruments Time Synchronization
National Instruments Variable Engine used for "network published shared variables"
NI Configuration Manager
NI Service Locator NI proprietary port-mapper
NILM License Manager used for network "floating licenses"
OpcEnum "OLE for Process Control" protocol
Lookout Citadel Server data logging database used by older/legal software (?)
NI-488.2 Enumeration Service Finds GPIB devices


National Instruments Domain Service

  • Appears to be a NI proprietary user/group account system [1]
  • Does not appear to have any relationship to Microsoft NT/Active Directory domains (Windows network accounts/logons)
  • Uses NI-PSP to find domains [2]
  • If you're not using NI domain accounts, you can disable this service

National Instruments PSP Server Locator

  • NI-PSP = Publish/Subscribe Protocol [3]
  • Presumably lets software find PSP servers on the network
  • If you're not using networking or inter-process communication, you can disable this service

National Instruments Time Synchronization

  • Presumably lets network computers/equipment keep their clocks in sync
  • Note that many OSes have their own time sync service, which may "fight" with other time sync systems
  • If you don't need/want NI to sync clocks for you, you can disable this service

National Instruments Variable Engine

  • FIXME document this
  • If you're not using "network published shared variables", it appears you can disable this service without ill effects

NI Configuration Manager

  • What exactly this does is unclear, but many NI components stop working if it isn't running
    • MAX will complain "There was a problem connecting to the database"


  • OPC = "OLE for Process Control", a protocol commonly used with industrial automation equipment (e.g., PLCs)
  • Wikipedia: OLE for Process Control
  • If you're not using OPC, you can disable this service

Lookout Citadel Server

  • FIXME document this

NILM License Manager

  • This is part of the network license manager
  • Apparently a semi-custom version of FLEXlm/FLEXnet [4]
  • If you're not using network licenses, you can disable this service. Stand-alone machine licenses do not need it.

NI-488.2 Enumeration Service

  • Populates the GPIB.INI file [5]

NI Service Locator

  • This appears to be an NI proprietary port-mapper
  • A "port mapper" is a type of service which lets programs find other services by name, rather than using a fixed TCP port number.
  • Try http://localhost:3580/dumpinfo on the computer running the NI Service Locator
  • NI KB 37BF79OH, What Is The NI Service Locator And How Do I Troubleshoot?"
  • Wikipedia: Portmap - Another port-mapper (no relation to the NI one)
  • You can disable this service, but anything that uses NI Locator will fail
    • The "Example Finder" feature of several NI products needs this

See also