IIS Express - Turning on Windows Authentication

So I brought up a new machine and tried to run my ASP.NET web site in IIS Express that uses Windows Authentication and was greeted with the following error:


The requested page cannot be accessed because the related configuration data for the page is invalid.


This configuration section cannot be used at this path. This happens when the section is locked at a parent level. Locking is either by default (overrideModeDefault=”Deny”), or set explicitly by a location tag with overrideMode=”Deny” or the legacy allowOverride=”false”.


Every time I bring up a new machine I always forget to update the IIS Express setting to fix this error and have to do a google search to figure out where the IIS Express configuration is stored. So I figured I should finally document the fix for it.

The error is caused by this section in the web.config

			<windowsAuthentication enabled="true" />
			<anonymousAuthentication enabled="false" />			

To fix this open up the IIS Express applicationhost.config. This file is stored at C:\Users[your user name]\Documents\IISExpress\config\applicationhost.config

Update for VS2015+: config file location is $(solutionDir).vs\config\applicationhost.config

Look for the following lines

<section name="windowsAuthentication" overrideModeDefault="Deny" />
<section name="anonymousAuthentication" overrideModeDefault="Deny" />
<add name="WindowsAuthenticationModule" lockItem="true" />
<add name="AnonymousAuthenticationModule" lockItem="true" />

Change those lines to

<section name="windowsAuthentication" overrideModeDefault="Allow" />
<section name="anonymousAuthentication" overrideModeDefault="Allow" />
<add name="WindowsAuthenticationModule" lockItem="false" />
<add name="AnonymousAuthenticationModule" lockItem="false" />

Save the file and refresh your asp.net web page. It may take a moment to load as it load the new configurations into IIS Express.

Dialogue & Discussion

back to top 