Problem: I am working on a service which will do some automated processing at a configurable time each night. It does some communication over the internet, formats some information, and creates a file. This file will be used by another program. I don't want to specify what program it is, because I've signed NDAs and I really don't think it's important to the question. My issue is that I cannot get this program to be run by the service. If I run my program as a regular console application, it works fine. I am calling the external program by sending a shell command with the path to the executable and several parameters (for configuration of how it will run and the path to the file I create with my program). My command is correct, as it will run being pasted into a command shell or if my program is run as a console application.
What I've tried: Calling the external program directly from my service (I'm using C# and the Process.Start method, but that's here nor there. I feel my question is more conceptual than my specific implementation). This does nothing. The program I am calling is set to run in an unattended mode (this makes it have no UI or anything). I have tried running a .bat file with the proper command and arguments from my service as well, with no luck (I tested the .bat independently). My service is set to be allowed to interact with the desktop.
My question: How can I get a Windows Service to run an external program? More generically, what is the preferred solution or pattern to use when one must call another process from a Service (Daemon in *nix-land)? If I should be able to call the program and my issue is implementation-specific, I will open a question on StackOverflow. But I would like to know what the standard approach for this problem is.
I know this is supposedly a bad design, because there's a chance there's no user logged in. But the program to be run shouldn't need any special permissions or care about which user it was ran as.
I cannot use the Task Scheduler as this was specifically forbidden in the requirements due to reliability issues. This is actually why the program runs as a service in the first place instead of as a scheduled task.