Azure Devops – Self Hosted Agent Service Won’t Start – Incorrect Function

I setup a self hosted agent for Azure Devops this morning on Server 2012 R2 (legacy Visual Studio dependencies…) and found that I was unable to start the service. The error I received was “Error 1 Incorrect Function” when attempting to start the service in services.msc.

I was attempting to run the agent from within my user profile downloads folder. I originally was not aware the service would be running from this directory. I thought it would copy its binary files to program files directory or programdata, like 99% of all other apps. The service installs and attempts to run itself as the “network service” authority. This account does not have permission to a user profile folder by default, and the installation script is not able to grant it permission for some reason (I didn’t investigate this further). I removed the agent, moved the installation files to the root of c:, and then reinstalled. The agent service is now able to start successfully.