Configuring Auto-Start

When auto-start is enabled, a hosted WF or WCF service is instantiated automatically when the IIS service is started by the operating system. The service will automatically start when its server is started. This occurs before the first request is received in order to decrease the initial response time.

Auto-start settings control three levels of auto-start functionality:

  • How a specific service is started, either on demand or automatically through auto-start.

  • How the services within an application are started, either on demand or automatically through auto-start. You can make this setting either for all services within an application or individual services within it.

  • How an application pool is started, either on demand or always running.

The following list contains steps to enable auto-start feature for your services by using IIS Manager.

  • Enable auto-start feature of AppFabric at the application pool level. The startMode attribute of an application pool in the applicationHost.config file enables/disables the AppFabric auto-start feature. Note that the AppFabric does not use autoStart attribute of the application pool. To enable the auto-start feature, set the value of startMode attribute to alwaysRunning.

    You also need to make sure that application pool is configured to use Integrated Managed Pipeline mode and that it uses .NET Framework version 4.


    The autoStart attribute and startMode attributes of an application pool are different. The startMode attribute is the one that the auto-start feature of Windows Server AppFabric uses. The Start application pool immediately setting in the Edit Application Pool dialog box or Start Automatically setting on the Advanced Settings dialog box of an application pool configures the autoStart attribute, not the startMode attribute.

  • Enable auto-start feature at the application level. If you set the auto-start mode to “All” for an application, the auto-start feature is enabled for all the services in that application. If you set the auto-start mode to “Custom”, you can enable the auto-start feature only for the services that you want to automatically start in the application.

  • If the auto-start mode at the application containing service is set to “Custom”, enable auto-start feature for the service that you want to automatically start.

  • Enable net.pipe binding for the Web site and net.pipe protocol for the application.

    The Windows Server AppFabric automatically adds the Service Management Service, a WCF service, to all applications with the serviceManagement attribute enabled. This attribute is enabled by default. This service requires that the net.pipe binding enabled for the Web site and that net.pipe protocol is enabled for the application. If you do not have these settings enabled, the auto-start feature fails to start this service and you will see error messages in the event log. For detailed information about the service, see Service Management Service.

The topics in this section describe how to perform these steps by using IIS Manager or PowerShell cmdlets.

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