IIS 6 file corruption flaw impairs OWA

Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 running on Windows Server 2003 (pre-SP1) can throw errors when attempting to load Outlook Web Access (OWA) because of file corruption in the compressed files directory.

When file corruption occurs, IIS may generate the error: "The HTTP verb used to access this page is now allowed." Other errors can happen as well, including arbitrary script crashes that don't seem to relate to a specific issue. Pages returned to the client won't render correctly, will hang in the middle of loading, or just won't load at all.

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More Outlook Web Access administration resources:

Configuring IIS to authenticate OWA users

OWA 'Loading' problems with Internet Explorer security zones

OWA Administration Guide

Outlook Web Access FAQs

The problem has already been tagged by Microsoft as a known issue, and the next service pack for Windows Server 2003 should address it.

In the meantime, there's a Microsoft hotfix already available for it that patches the W3core.dll component to revision 6.0.3790.99 (10/29/2003).

While waiting for the next Windows Server 2003 service pack, there are two other possible interim workarounds:

  1. Pause IIS and delete the files in the IIS Temporary Compressed Files folder whenever the problem crops up -- or on a regular basis via a script to keep the problem from becoming chronic. If you elect to do this automatically, bear in mind that you'll want to do it at a time when traffic is low (4 a.m., for instance) to avoid disrupting employee productivity.

  2. Disable compressed files in IIS. This isn't always an option though. It's not possible to selectively disable content compression on only one site in IIS; and compressing (and caching) static content provides a bit of a savings on bandwidth and processing speed.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

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This was first published in May 2007

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