Service unavailable and the stopped application pool

Have you ever watched Jeff Dunham? Specifically, do you know Achmed the Dead Terrorist? His go-to line is “I’ll kill you!”, which he says… whenever. That is how I felt after dealing with the latest “Service unavailable” error on my local ASP.NET site.

We use WSPBuilder in our current environment to deploy our web application. Usually, it works fine, but I noticed that I was getting the dreaded “Service unavailable” message. Nothing in the Event Viewer helped me, and setting my browser settings to hide the “friendly error messages” did nothing, and I was about ready to turn to alcohol or violence – I was kind of on the fence to which one.

Then, during my searches on Bing, I found a forum post on Issociate, and this quote is what got my attention:

“When a website is stopped, its icon changes, and at the Websites level, you see a “Stopped” state. When an Application Pool is stopped, its icon also changes, and at the Application Pools level, you see a “Stopped” state.”

Application pools have a stopped state, too? I know what an web site looks like when it’s stopped, but I wasn’t sure about an application pool. So I opened IIS and looked into the Application Pools folder and saw this:

 Application Pool in IIS

Application Pool in IIS

If you click on the image you can see the stopped pools have a few pixels that are red, and the started pools has a few pixels that are green.


I spent an hour deploying and redeploying and running IISRESET commands and (almost) throwing things at bystanders because of that half-dozen pixels? Who came up with that idea? How about a great big STOP sign on it? I know I’m creeping ever closer to 40, but come on, that’s is way too small an difference to just casually notice.

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