Windows 2003 Server and 404 errors in reporting

I’ve ran a few times into a strange phenomenon when dealing with clean installed Windows 2003 SBS servers. In particular Windows 2003 SBS R2 with SP1 – but I’m sure other versions are affected as well.

The symptoms: A clean installation of the server refuses to show the Backup overview and Server Performance and Server Usage Reports. Instead you get a 404 error telling you the page can not be found. If you send reports by mail, those users will see the same thing.

When you navigate to http://localhost/Backup or http://localhost/Monitoring or http://localhost/Remote – all 3 sites give you a 404 error while for example http://localhost/ClientHelp and http://localhost/exchange work just fine.

Please note that if you can’t see these last 2 pages as well or you do not get error 404 but something else, you probably have a different problem.

The problem:
Windows SP1 and consecutive updates pull in updates for Microsoft ASP.NET and add ASP.NET 2.x to the server. The defaults then become to use ASP.NET 2.x instead of 1.1. The reporting modules do NOT work with ASP.NET 2.0 or higher.

Open up server management, expand on the left pane the ‘Advanced’ section. Next, expand, ‘IIS’, ‘YourServerName’, ‘Websites’ and finally ‘DefaultWebsite’. Click on ‘DefaultWebsite’ and the right pane should show a listing of components in your default site.

In the right pane, do for each broken service (‘Backup’,’Remote’ and ‘Monitoring’) the following: right mouse click on the name and select ‘Properties’. In the popup select the tab called ‘ASP.NET’ and look for the selected ASP version. Most likeliy you will see something like ‘2.0.x.y’. Switch the version to ‘1.1.x.y’ and click ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’. You now switched that folder to the correct version, now repeat for the other broken services.

Check if you can now open up the pages that previously gave you a 404 error – they should work. Note that displaying them can take a while because they have to parse the Windows event logs to show you the reports.