Troubleshoot ‘Windows Process Activation Service’ failed to start


I was setting up a IIS test environment for testing the mobile redirection this afternoon. That’s a test box which may serve for other purpose as well. For some reason, the WAS service (Windows Process Activation Service) just refused to start with the message ‘Error 3: The system cannot find the path specified’.

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I am not a web admin, so IIS is a bit unfamiliar to me. Thanks to Process Monitor, I started the capture and added a filter rule for the command line ‘C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe -k iissvcs’ (this is how Windows starts the WAS service). I found something useful:

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Based on above, I guess someone might remove the C:\inetpub\temp\apppools folder. I manually created that folder then tried to start the service again. Nice and easy, it works this time!

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12 thoughts on “Troubleshoot ‘Windows Process Activation Service’ failed to start

  1. thankkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  2. I started getting the ‘Error 2: the system cannot find the file specified’ error after a recent windows update. Even after uninstalling and reinstalling all the IIS and windows process activation service (WAS) windows components, I still received this error when attempting to manually start the WAS from Services.

    After using Process Monitor to try to find out why the WAS wouldn’t start, I found an error message that seemed to indicate that a file was required by the WAS:
    C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\Config\applicationHost.config.tmp
    (Process Monitor showed multiple NAME NOT FOUND errors when attempting to start the WAS)

    I made a copy of C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\Config\applicationHost.config and renamed it applicationHost.config.tmp in the same directory, and then WAS started! From there, I could start IIS fine and my issue was resolved.

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