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Event ID 7023: The Windows Process Activation Service terminated (System cannot find the file specified)

Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) activates and manages worker process that IIS uses to host web applications. If your web applications stop responding requests, WAS is one of the services you should check first.

While troubleshooting an issue with WAS, I saw this error in the Event Viewer:

Event ID 7023

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

Event ID 7023: The Windows Process Activation Service terminated

Solution for Event ID 7023 Windows Process Activation Service terminated

Follow the steps below to fix this issue:

  1. Check c:/windows/system32/inetsrv/ folder. applicationHost.config file might be missing or it might be empty. If that’s the case, go to c:/inetpub/history/ folder and copy the applicationHost.config file from here to c:/windows/system32/inetsrv/ folder. Try to start Windows Process Activation Service again
  2. Go to c:\inetpub\temp\ folder. Check if there is an apppools folder. If there is not, create this folder. Try starting Windows Process Activation Service
  3. Open registry editor. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WAS\Parameters. Delete NanoSetup entry. Try to start WAS again
  4. Go to c:/windows/system32/inetsrv/ folder. Duplicate applicationHost.config file. Name the new file applicationHost.config.tmp. Check if you can start Windows Process Activation Service

Here are three useful posts about troubleshooting this issue:

If you believe that this issue occurred after a Windows update, check this post out: Windows Process Activation error (NetFx40_IIS_schema_update.xml)

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