Windows Tip Sheet

Unlocking IIS 6.0, Part 4

Streamline administration of IIS with its command-line tools.

This week’s tip is last in a series of four tips specific to IIS 6.0.

IIS 6 is the most administrator-friendly version of IIS that Microsoft has released. While its graphical user interface isn’t vastly different from prior versions, it offers a complete suite of command-line management tools that make scripting IIS configurations a breeze. Most of these new tools are actually written in VBScript (proving the power and capability of that language to any lingering doubters), but you can run them just like any other command-line tool (meaning no scripting experience is required).

Most of these tools’ real usefulness comes into play for Web farms, where you’re configuring multiple Web servers over and over, or where you’re administering remote IIS servers. There are specific tools for managing SMTP, FTP and Web sites, as well as for managing IIS overall. Iisback is my favorite tool, as it allows you to quickly and easily back up the IIS configuration metabase. If you need to restore an IIS server after a reinstall or crash, having a backup of the metabase makes the task extremely easy. Iiscnfg lets you work with portions of the metabase. For example, you could export a portion of the metabase from one IIS machine and import it into another machine, creating cloned Web sites, FTP sites or whatever.

Iisweb and Iisvdir let you work with individual Web sites and virtual directories, respectively, configuring various settings. I like to write batch files that use Iisweb to configure most of the Web site settings in IIS. I then schedule that batch file to run every night. Doing so ensures that any changes made by rogue administrators (or just by mistake) are reset to my desired configuration each night, minimizing the effects of a misconfiguration. It also makes it easier to consistently configure multiple IIS servers at once, simply by changing the server name in the batch file. Iisftp and Iisftpdr do the same thing for FTP sites and virtual directories, making it easier to consistently configure individual or batches of FTP sites.

Leveraging these command-line tools can make IIS administration more effective and efficient, as well as helping to maintain consistent and correct configurations across multiple IIS servers.

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About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is Curriculum Director for IT Pro Content for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at

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