You might need to stop and restart the Cluster service on a cluster node during some troubleshooting or maintenance operations. When you stop the Cluster service on a node, services or applications on that node will fail over, and the node will stop functioning in the cluster until the Cluster service is restarted.

If you want to leave a particular node functioning so that it supports the services or applications it currently owns, and at the same time prevent additional services and applications from failing over to that node, pause the node (do not stop the Cluster service). For more information, see Pause or Resume a Node in a Failover Cluster.

Membership in the local Administrators group on each clustered server, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Also, the account you use must be a domain account. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at

To start or stop the Cluster service on a cluster node by using the Windows interface
  1. In the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in, if the cluster you want to manage is not displayed, in the console tree, right-click Failover Cluster Manager, click Manage a Cluster, and then select or specify the cluster that you want.

  2. If the console tree is collapsed, expand the tree under the cluster you want to manage.

  3. To minimize disruption to clients, before stopping the Cluster service on a node, move the applications that are currently owned by that node to another node. To do this, expand the console tree under the cluster that you want to manage, and then expand Services and Applications. Click each service or application and (in the center pane) view the Current Owner. If the owner is the node on which you want to stop the Cluster service, right-click the service or application, click Move this service or application to another node, and then choose the node. (For an explanation of the Best possible command option, see "Additional considerations" in this topic.)

  4. Expand the console tree under Nodes.

  5. Right-click the node that you want to start or stop, and then click More Actions.

  6. Click the appropriate command:

    • To start the service, click Start Cluster Service.

    • To stop the service, click Stop Cluster Service.

Additional considerations

  • You can also perform the task described in this procedure by using Windows PowerShell. For more information about using Windows PowerShell for failover clusters, see and

  • To open the failover cluster snap-in, click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Failover Cluster Manager. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Yes.

  • On a cluster with more than two nodes, from the options next to Move this service or application to another node, you can choose Best possible. This option has no effect if you have not configured a Preferred owners list for the service or application you are moving (in this case, the node will be chosen randomly). If you have configured a Preferred owners list, Best possible will move the service or application to the first available node on the list.

  • In the center pane of the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in, you can view information about the state of a node. To specifically check whether the Cluster service is running on a node, right-click the node and click More Actions. On a node that is started, Start Cluster Service is dimmed, and on a node that is stopped, Stop Cluster Service is dimmed.

  • If you are using the Node and File Share Majority quorum option, at least one of the available cluster nodes must contain a current copy of the cluster configuration before you can start the cluster. Otherwise, you must force the starting of the cluster through a particular node. The cluster will then use the copy of the cluster configuration that is on that node and replicate it to all other nodes. To force the cluster to start, on a node that contains a copy of the cluster configuration that you want to use, open the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in, click the cluster, and then under Actions (on the right), click Force Cluster Start. (Under most circumstances, this command is not available in the Windows interface.)


    When you use this command on a given node, the copy of the cluster configuration that is on that node will be treated as the authoritative copy of the configuration and will be replicated to all other nodes.

  • The Cluster service performs essential functions on each cluster node, including managing the cluster configuration, coordinating with the instances of the Cluster service running on other nodes, and performing failover operations.

Additional references