I'm trying to test a WCF project that I've published which was created in VB.NET. When I go into IIS manager and try to start the website, it says

Websites cannot be started unless both the Windows Activation Service (WAS) and the World Wide Web Publishing Service (W3SVC) are running. Both services are currently stopped.

So to fix this, I've gone into 'Services' and scrolled down to 'World Wide Web Publishing Service' which isn't currently running. I tried to start this and was then presented with another message

Windows could not start the World Wide Web Publishing Service service on local computer. Error 1068: The dependency service or group failed to start

When looking in the properties, the dependencies branched out as follows

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When looking back in services, all of these were running except one.

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The only one which isn't running is Windows Process Activation Service

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When I try to start this service it says

Windows could not start the Windows Process Activation Service service on Local Computer

Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified

How can I start these services so that I can start my website in inetmgr?


I am using Windows 10 64-bit. My IIS version I'm not sure of, but based on a quick Google search I'd imagine it's version 8 or higher.

  • (1) Do you have in the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\WAS\Parameters and item called NanoSetup, and what happens if you rename it and reboot? (2) Disable the IIS feature, restart, enable again, restart. (3) Check if file C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\Config\applicationHost.config.tmp exists and if not copy applicationHost.config to that name.
    – harrymc
    Oct 20, 2018 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


It seems that people experience this problem from time to time and in particular after Windows Updates are installed due to a registry key that's added to the registry which seems to cause problems.

According to the answer on the post Windows Process Activation Service Error 2:The system cannot find the file specified, you can simple delete a specific registry key and then restart the service to resolve.

  • The issue seems to be, that windows adds an incorrect parameter to the WAS service startup parameters. I fixed the issue using the following steps:

    • Start regedit (just type it into start)
    • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WAS\Parameters
    • Delete the NanoSetup variable. This variable is preventing WAS from starting
    • Start the WAS service using task manager or by typing "net start WAS" in Command Prompt
    • Start the W3SVC service the same way
    • You can now start your website in IIS again


Furthermore, this fix above and additional fixes are listed in the IIS won't start after upgrade to 1803 - WAS fails with Error 2 - "Cannot find the file specified" and Upgrade to Windows 10 1709: IIS fails. posts so it'd be worth a read over thoses threads if you continue to have problem for further troubleshooting steps.

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