Today I encountered a strange problem with IIS6 restarting without notice on a server that had recently had the .NET Framework 2.0 installed on it. In our particular case the problem was made worse by the fact that the IIS restart was unsuccessful leaving the server in a some what crippled state. We traced the problem to clicking on the ASP.NET in the IIS Management MMC, not making any changes to the settings, then clicking OK on the properties dialog.
Usually making a change to the version of ASP.NET will cause a restart of IIS (and there are alternative ways that avoid the restart), however in this case it seems as though just viewing the tab and then clicking OK was enough to cause ASP.NET to restart the IIS Service. I’ve still not discovered precisely why this is happening, but for the time being I wanted to implement a work around to avoid the problem by disabling the ASP.NET Tab.

I thought doing this would be easy, after all enough people seem to have problems with the tab not being there. Common causes of the tab being missing seem to be running the IIS MMC on x64, or having installed an earlier beta of .NET 2.0. The fixes in most cases seem to be modifications to the registry or re-running aspnet_regiis -i to re-register ASP.NET.

While it is possible that by fiddling with the registry I could break the ASP.NET tab that didn’t seem to be a good solution, so I carried on digging. It turns out that the ASP.NET Tab is implemented as an MMC Snap-in extension, and can be disabled with two clicks of the mouse once you’ve found the setting. So, to disable the ASP.NET tab within the ASP.NET management MMC:

  1. Start the MMC console (Start > Run > ‘mmc’ OK)
  2. Open the IIS management mmc (Console > Open > ‘%windir%\system32\inetsrv\iis.msc’ OK)
  3. Edit the Snapin Settings (Console > Add/Remove Snap-in)
  4. Choose the Extensions Tab, and disable the ‘ASP.NET Management Extension’ by unticking ‘Add all Extensions’ and the unticking the ‘ASP.NET Management Extension’.
  5. OK the changes and then save the console (Console > Save )

Now when you start the IIS Manager the ASP.NET tab won’t be there.

Sadly the tab is still there in the Computer Management MMC (Computer Management > Services And Applications > Internet Information Services), and looking at the computer management MMC in the same way as above does not yield the same choice of Extensions, so if anyone knows how to influence Computer Management in the same way, please let me know!