The data is invalid error



World Wide Web Publishing service has a dependency to Windows Process Activation Service (WAS). You may see the errors below when you try to start WAS:

“Error 13: The data is invalid:

Event 7023: “The Windows Process Activation Service service terminated with the following error: The data is invalid.”


The first thing to check is the IIS configuration file (C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\config\applicationHost.config). Any issues with this file will prevent IIS functioning properly.

Open applicationHost.config file. Make sure you see <configuration> in the beginning and </configuration> at the end. You may see unknown characters that mean the file is corrupted. Sometimes, you may not see any content at all which is also an issue.

Sample for a corrupted applicationHost.config file:

If there is something wrong with this file, try one of these:

  • Replace the file If there is a backup
  • If you don’t have a backup of the file, you may have backed up the entire server. Try to extract the file from that backup
  • If there is another server hosting the same websites with the same configuration, get the parts of the file from that server to fix the corruption
  • You can also try to fix the corrupted part manually. Sometimes, only a few closing tags are missing
  • If none of the options above works, you will need to uninstall and install IIS back. This will create a brand-new configuration file. In this case, you will need to create the sites from scratch

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