70-270 Windows XP TechNotes
Internet Information Services (IIS)


- Internet Information
Services (IIS)

- Configuring Directories
- Configuring Permissions
- Restarts
- Troubleshooting

Internet Information Services (IIS)

Windows XP includes a stripped down version of Internet Information Services (IIS), which allows you to publish web pages and other web content to any operating system with a compliant browser. IIS on Windows XP is not designed to host public websites, but instead is meant for sharing resources with a small group of users. The version of IIS on Windows XP is limited to only 1 website and 10 simultaneous client connections, and has less advanced features compared to IIS on a Windows Server. To serve a larger number of websites to a larger number of users, you will need to use IIS on Windows 2000/2003 Server instead.

You can install IIS by using the Add/Remove Windows Components option in the Add or Remove Programs wizard. The Internet Information Services (IIS) component has many subcomponents including a WWW service, FTP service, SMTP service, FrontPage 2000 extensions, and the IIS snap-in. The latter is used for managing the IIS services in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). You can start the IIS snap-in by running the inetmgr command from the Run dialog box.

Following are some of the common configuration and management tasks and relevant considerations.

Configuring directories

The version of IIS on Windows XP allows for only one website, which is the Default Web Site in the IIS management console. By default, its home directory is c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ but you can change this path in the Default Web Site Properties. A website can have several subdirectories, i.e. www.techexams.net/forums. These subdirectories, as they appear in the URL, do not necessarily need to be a subfolder of the home directory. They can be located outside the c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ folder or on a shared folder in your local network. This is referred to as a virtual directory. To create a virtual directory, right-click the default website, or a subdirectory of the default website, and select Virtual Directory from the New submenu to start the Virtual Directory Creation Wizard. You will need to provide an alias, the name as it appears in the URL, and browse for the local directory you want the alias to point to. If you want to use a folder on another local computer, you must provide the full UNC path (i.e. \\workstation2\share).

You can also create a virtual directory by right-clicking a folder in Windows Explorer/My Computer (only on NTFS), select Properties and create one or more aliases on the Web Sharing tab.

Configuring Permissions

Another important basic configuration task for IIS is configuring authentication and file and folder permissions. When IIS is installed, a new user account for anonymous access is created automatically. It is named IUSR_ComputerName and needs appropriate NTFS permissions for the files and folders anonymous users should be able to access. You can disable anonymous access on the Authentication Methods dialog (click the Edit button on the Directory Security tab of the Default Web Site Properties) or change the account or password.

As you can read in the screenshot above, there are two ways to force username and password authentication. You can disable anonymous access for the entire website, or you can restrict access based on NTFS permissions. The latter would allow you to grant anonymous access to the website and public resources, while requiring username and password authentication for particular files and folders.


With the IIS snap-in you can restart the Default Web Site, the Default FTP Site, or the Default SMTP Virtual Server independently by selecting it and clicking the stop, and start button. You can also restart all the IIS services by right-clicking the local computer component in the IIS snap-in and choosing Restart IIS from the All Tasks menu.


Besides permissions issues and other incorrect IIS configuration settings, the most common problems with connecting to an IIS service such as the WWW service are caused by incorrect or incomplete TCP/IP settings and services. A common issue is the lack of a DNS service. Without DNS, users will not be able to access the website by using a friendly URL, but would have to use the IP address instead. In small networks you can use HOSTS files instead of a DNS server.

Another thing that might prevent access to IIS services is the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF). If enabled, ICF will block inbound traffic for all IIS services. To allow access, you should either disable ICF or configure ICF to allow traffic for particular IIS services. For more information check out our ICS and ICF TechNotes.


Current related exam objectives for the 70-270 exam:

Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting Network Protocols and Services

- Configure, manage, and implement Internet Information Services (IIS).

Date: Monday, November 23, 2004
Author: Johan Hiemstra
MCSE NT4 MCSA 2000/2003