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Good day,

A friend of mine is experiencing intermittent hang-up problems with his IIS 4.0 web server.

Whenever a hang-up occurs, the operation of the Windows NT 4.0 Server (with service pack 6a) is not affected but the IIS console is inaccessible, forcing my friend to restart his server.

The IIS 4.0 web server is running on a dual Pentium 3 running at 750MHz with 1 GB of RAM and 40 GB hard drive, hosting a single ASP application accessed by less than 40 users since 1998. He hasn’t experienced any hang-up problems before until sometime in the middle of last year, 2006.

I’ve enabled the logging of the IIS server; the last recorded log entry in most logs end with users logging out of the ASP application and being re-directed back to its login page.

Log excerpt
2007-01-05 09:07:55 x.x.x.x GET /prog1/logout.htm 304
2007-01-05 09:08:01 x.x.x.x POST /prog1/Receiving/main_product2.asp 200
2007-01-05 09:08:15 x.x.x.x POST /prog1/Receiving/main_product2.asp 200
2007-01-05 09:08:25 x.x.x.x POST /prog1/Receiving/main_product2.asp 200
2007-01-05 09:08:31 x.x.x.x GET /prog1/ 302
2007-01-05 09:08:31 x.x.x.x GET /prog1/login.asp 200

Since ASP being a scripting language that is natively implemented and supported by the IIS server, I checked the Application Configuration settings with hopes that it might give me a clue on what might be causing the intermittent hang-up.

The App Mappings, App Options, Process Options and App Debugging have been set to their default settings except for one.

In the App Options, I noticed that the default value for the ASP Script timeout has been reduced from 90 seconds to 80 seconds. If my understanding is correct, the ASP script must complete its execution within the given time frame otherwise it will be stopped by the IIS.

After restoring the default value back to 90 seconds, the IIS 4.0 server still crashed a few hours after I left my friend’s office. Recently, I’ve increased the time from 90 seconds to 120 seconds (or two minutes).

I’ve also interviewed the developers responsible in maintaining the ASP application and they told me haven’t made any significant changes in the code that would cause the intermittent hang-up of the IIS server.

I understand that most of you guys reading this post would probably recommend upgrading my friend’s operating system and web server to Windows 2000 / IIS 5.0 or Linux / Apache HTTPd web server but unfortunately his employer is quite adamant of keeping the old operating system and resolving the current problem.

It has been quite a long time since I worked on an IIS 4.0 web server, my online search for answers with regards to intermittent hang-ups have been less successful and I would really appreciate any form of help that I can get.

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