IIS won't start after upgrade to 1803 - WAS fails with Error 2 - "Cannot find the file specified"

After the upgrade to 1803, IIS AppPools are not started since the Windows Process Activation Service is not running. Attempting to start it and it stops within a few seconds.

Event Viewer shows:

ID 5215: The Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) failed to execute initialization for offline setup. The data field contains the error number. (80070002)

ID 5005: Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) is stopping because it encountered an error. The data field contains the error number. (80070002)

ID 7023: The Windows Process Activation Service service terminated with the following error: The system cannot find the file specified.

I tried uninstalling/reinstalling IIS and WAS through Windows Features - \Windows\iis.log does not show any issue. Machine keys seem ok. applicationHost.config is at its default state. \inetpub\temp\appPools looks OK and is empty.

I ran procmon to try to see if anything of interest showed while attempting to restart WAS but there is no indication of what file it is unable to access prior to termination.

Thanks,

Gary Davis

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Thanks but that issue (data is not valid) is not the issue I have (cannot find the file). I have tried a clean-install applicationHost.config in place of mine and it gets the same error when attempting to start the WAS.

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I rolled back to 1709 and that fixed my WAS.

Someday I will retry the April 2018 install.

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I have this exact same problem with 1803. Initially I rolled back and things were ok, but then I took 1803 again, and a patch on top of it. Apparently I only was set for 1 restore point, so now I'm stuck on 1803.

Regardless I have tried LOTS of stuff that I collected around the interwebs... to no avail. I'm very close to having to reinstall completely at this point since I need IIS to develop.

Things I've tried:

- Messing with the machinekeys folder to see if there were permission issues.

- A full uninstall of .NET, IIS, and Windows Process Activation services. Manually deleted associated directories after unintall, reinstalled. Same issue. : / 

- Have tried to fix various other errors I see at startup with a few other services, but they seem unrelated (dcom errors, etc).

I was also (possibly coincidentally) having issues with my audio not working. I found an obscure post that had me give network permissions to the administrators group and it resolved that issue (but had no effect on the WAP issue above).

REALLY struggling with this one, and I no longer have the ability / option to roll back. 

-Brian

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Just a follow-up on my case... I actually have it starting again. It looks like there are quite a few different reasons that could cause this same error.

In my case, WAS was expecting a .tmp file in ->  C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\Config\applicationHosts.config.tmp.  I only had the actual config file, so I made a copy and changed it to .tmp... that + some other cleaning of various machine keys based on other threads seemed to do the trick (actually not sure if I really needed the machine key changes at all... I probably didn't).

I had to track this down using procmon and looking for where the WAS service tried (and failed) to find a file... which is essentially the error it is throwing (without actually telling us the file in question!!!!).

-Brian

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Interesting...When I had this issue, I created an applicationHost.config.tmp empty file and then attempted to start the WAS service which failed as usual with the file-not-found. Before terminating, it replaced my applicationHost.config with the empty .tmp file which was no longer there. I did not try creating all three .tmp files so maybe that is why it failed???

I did not try anything with the machine keys.

Gary

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Hello, we had the same issue very often on customer PC.
We now find a solution to get the WAS-Services started after upgrade 1803.
Just delete the registry entry "NanoSetup" with running cmd command.
"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\WAS\Parameters" /v NanoSetup /f

Now you can start the service again.

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You sir are a god amongst men! This has been wrecking my head for days and this absolutely solved it thank you!

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Thank you so much for this tip. I've been tearing my hair out over this and your answer here really helped.

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Last updated March 22, 2021 Views 8,514 Applies to: