IIS manager showing blank screen

While working away on a web project this week, I had a heart-stopping moment when trying to connect to the web site/s – including SharePoint, K2, AchieveForms, and some custom web services and websites also.

First thing I noticed after firing up the VM, was that I couldn’t browse to the “home page”.

So, I went to have a look in the IIS manager – and this is what I saw.  

Uuummm – IIS is empty !    Uh-oh !


So – I tried to do an IISRESET :

Attempting start…

Restart attempt failed.

IIS Admin Service or a service dependent on IIS Admin is not active.  It most likely failed to start, which may mean that it’s disabled.

Alright then – so, I went to look for the IIS Admin service, within the “Services” area of Control Panel.  

But – got the following error when trying to start :

Windows could not start the IIS Admin Service on Local Computer. 

For more information, review the System Event Log.


Oh crap – this is getting WORSE !

So – peer into Event Log – and found the following error :

IIS Config – XML document must have top level element.   

Configuration Source : C:WINDOWSsystem32inetsrv32MetaBase.xml


Got that sinking feeling like I’m back-pedalling somehow, but not actually moving.

I found the file within the INETSRV folder, and not surprised it’s error’ing – as the XML config file is size 0 KB !    (contents == nothing)



OK – now, don’t panic !

Some quick web-searching, and the posts I’ve seen mention having to get a repair disk for Windows, and so on – sounds expensive (time).  

I was sitting wondering if I have a backup copy of the VM somewhere ?!?    And then I noticed the folder under “INSETSRV” – entitled “MetaBack” :


It looks like IIS takes a backup of it’s config, and saves it away in this folder – this could save me some time (aka save my butt)

There are TWO files in the folder :

Initial Backup – created automatically by IIS setup.SC1

Initial Backup – created automatically by IIS setup.MD1

Contains a whole heap of XML, with configuration settings and so forth.   There are TWO files within the INETSRV folder also :

MBSchema.xml – looks to be OK

MetaBase.xml – busted / 0 KB

So – a quick look at the contents, and deduced that it’s the “Initial Backup – created automatically by IIS setup.MD1” file that I want/need.

After copying this over – and renaming to “MetaBase.xml” – I should be able to start the “IIS Admin” service – and then IISRESET, right ?


Attempting start…
Internet services successfully restarted

It’s alive – I can see the server and Application Pools + Web Sites within IIS.


But uh-oh, where’s SharePoint, K2, etc…!?!

A working IIS is no good to me without the actual “applications”…!    I guess that MetaBack folder was simply some old (initial) version of the file/s.


Quick call to another developer, who has been dev’ing with a copy of the same VM, and asked him to email me the two files – MBSchema.xml + MetaBase.xml

*fingers crossed*

And….    Hey – now, we’re talking !!!    They’re all back !

*phew*   That coulda been a big-time burner !

I think I might actually set a scheduled task/reminder to take a backup copy of those files – could come in handy.

The golden files are these – for future reference :

MBSchema.xml – about 260 KB

MetaBase.xml – about 90 KB


If you have a glitch like this (corrupted MetaBase) – have a look into the “MetaBack” folder, it might save you – or get you going again at least.

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