How can I compare a before / after IIS configuration.

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What is the easiest way to compare IIS configuration before and after a change.

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Starting with IIS 7 there is a built-in method of capturing IIS configuration changes using AppCmd.

The AppCmd documentation can be found at Getting started with AppCmd.exe

Creating a Backup

The steps for taking a backup are:

  1. Open an Admin Command Prompt.
  2. Browse to the folder c:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\
  3. Run "AppCmd add backup"

Complete Changes

Once a backup is created you can then make your configuration changes.

After the changes are complete then take another backup as explained above.

Comparing the Backups

The simplest way to compare the configuration backups is to download and install a free program named WinMerge. WinMerge can be found at

Once installed then:

  1. Open the folder "C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\backup" in Windows Explorer,
  2. This is a protected folder so you need to specify that you really want access,
  3. You will then see two or more dated folders containing the backups,
  4. Select the two folders you want to compare and right-click and open in WinMerge.

Winmerge will clearly show all of the changed files and allow you to browse in and view the actual configuration changes.

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