I have installed Tor as a service on my Windows machine, because I occasionally need to tunnel things through Tor (e.g., SSH-over-Tor) and want to be able to do this without having to run the Tor Browser all the time.

The service and the tunneling of things works just fine. However, while the service is running, the Tor Browser refuses to start. (If I stop the service, it starts just fine.) This is because the Browser is launching the Tor process itself, and you either can't have two copies of the process run simultaneously, or there is some other kind of conflict (e.g., they both are trying to listen to the same ports).

What is the proper way of fixing this? Is there a way to tell the Browser not to try to launch a Tor process but to use the running service instead? Or should I run the service with a separate torrc file and tell it to listen to different ports? (And how do I do this?)

  • Tor Browser should use port 9150 and tor should use use 9050. Check your torrc to make sure that you didn't change this value. If this were Linux, I would check to see which ports are being used by both processes. I don't know Windows that well, so this might be something for you to research. Maybe there's a powershell command? Also, maybe there's a way to see why an application died? – JSEvans Jun 14 at 14:38
  • I don't think that you understand the question. I didn't change any ports. The Browser dies the moment it tries to launch the Tor process - either because two copies of the process cannot run simultaneously, or because they both try to listen to the same ports. Is it possible to tell the Browser to use the Tor service instead of trying to launch the process itself? The torrc file does not contain any port-specifying directives, but when the Browser launches the process, it specifies the ports as command-line options. I couldn't figure out how to change those either. – Bontchev Jun 14 at 20:19
  • If you are using the Tor Expert Bundle, it should not be using the same port. torproject.org/download/tor – JSEvans Jun 15 at 16:55
  • I am not using the Tor Expert Bundle; in fact I had never heard of it before. I just installed Tor as a Windows service, as the Tor Project documentation explains. It is the same executable that the Tor Browser tries to launch and uses the same torrc file. As I said (multiple times) that file does not define any ports (so obviously the defaults are used) but when trying to launch Tor as a process, the Browser specifies the two ports as command-line options. I found no way to control that or to tell the Browser to use the service, instead of trying to launch a process. – Bontchev Jun 16 at 12:06

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