Common problems and solutions

This topic lists questions or issues that you may face when working with ArcGIS Server and suggests possible solutions. If you don't find the problem you are looking for, you can also search for articles on the ESRI Support Center.

Installation and postinstallation




Web applications


Can I install ArcGIS Server for the Microsoft .NET Framework and ArcGIS Server for the Java platform on the same machine?

The .NET and Java versions of ArcGIS Server can coexist on the same machine. If you install them together, you need to follow the procedure below to ensure that your server directories correctly map to the virtual directories appropriate for your IIS or Apache Web server:

  1. Install either the .NET or Java version of ArcGIS Server.
  2. Remove the default server directories (arcgiscache, arcgisjobs, arcgisindex, arcgisinput, arcgisoutput) and their associated virtual directories using Manager or ArcCatalog.
  3. Install the other version of ArcGIS Server. You can keep the default server directories and virtual directories for this version.
  4. Use file system tools to create additional server directories for the version of ArcGIS Server that you installed in step 1.
  5. Register the new server directories and their associated virtual directories with ArcGIS Server using ArcCatalog or Manager for the version of ArcGIS Server that you installed in step 1.

What accounts should I use for the SOM and SOC accounts?

The server object manager (SOM) and server object container (SOC) accounts are used internally by the GIS server and need only have limited permissions on the machine. Chances are you'll only encounter them when you're installing ArcGIS Server on other machines, or when you're giving the GIS server permissions to access your data. In most cases, it's sufficient to use the default account names suggested by the postinstallation (ArcGISSOM and ArcGISSOC) and let the wizard create the accounts for you. The postinstallation creates local accounts, which are recommended over domain accounts for security reasons.

My computer name gets cut off in the postinstallation.

ArcGIS Server names cannot exceed 15 characters; if they do, you will encounter errors during the postinstallation and when trying to connect to the server. This is a known limit related to a Microsoft specification for Active Directory names.

Is an installation log or summary stored somewhere for me to review later?

The installation is not automatically logged, although if you run the installation from the command line, you can include parameters that create a log file. See the ArcGIS Server Installation Guide to learn about installing from the command line.

You can view which features of ArcGIS Server are installed through the Add or Remove Programs dialog box in Windows. Under ArcGIS Server for the Microsoft .NET Framework, click the Change button and choose Modify to view or change the list of installed components.

What preparations do I need to make before uninstalling or reinstalling ArcGIS Server?

When you uninstall and reinstall ArcGIS Server, your server and service configuration files are preserved. However, the web.config and Tasks.xml files are removed by the uninstallation process. If you manually edited these files, you will need to make a backup copy before uninstalling, then copy the information back in after reinstalling.

Preserving security information in the web.config file

If you added security information for your Web services, these were written to the web.config file and need to be preserved. Copy your web.config file to a location unrelated to ArcGIS before you uninstall ArcGIS Server. You can find the web.config file in <Virtual root directory>\<ArcGIS Server instance name>\Services (for example: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS\Services\web.config). After reinstalling, copy and paste just the security-related tags back into the new web.config file.

Preserving information about custom tasks

Tasks.xml is used for integrating tasks that you've developed into the Manager user interface, so you only need to back up this file if you've developed custom tasks. You can find Tasks.xml in <Virtual root directory>\<ArcGIS Server instance name>\Manager\Applications\App_Data (for example: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS\Manager\Applications\App_Data\Tasks.xml). Before uninstalling, copy this file to a location unrelated to ArcGIS. After reinstalling, replace the new Tasks.xml file with the old Tasks.xml file.

Why do some folders get left behind after uninstall?

When you uninstall ArcGIS Server, some folders and files get left on disk. These are left for your convenience if you re-install or upgrade ArcGIS Server. If you do not plan on using ArcGIS Server again, you can delete them.

Locations where you may notice persisting files include:

  • <ArcGIS Server install location>\server\user\cfg—This location stores your service configuration files. On re-install, these files are read so that you don't have to manually re-create your services. These files are also used to re-create your existing services after you upgrade ArcGIS Server.
  • The default server directories created by a one-machine install, for example C:\arcgisserver—Leaving these folders preserves map and globe caches and other server resources that you might want to keep if you perform a re-install. Server directories that you created and registered on your own are also not affected by the uninstall.
  • Selected folders in the ArcGIS Server instance directory—Some folders are preserved in your ArcGIS Server instance directory (the default example of an instance directory is C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS) for your convenience when using Manager after a re-install. For example, the GIS server connections you had made when building Web applications in Manager and the list of applications you had created in Manager are preserved.

I get the error message "Your ArcGIS Server license has expired."

If you receive the message "Your ArcGISServer license has expired", please contact ESRI customer support to obtain a new license, then rerun the Authorize ArcGIS Server portion of the GIS Server Post Install.

Will ArcGIS Server work when disconnected from the network?

If you have set up a distributed system where the Web server, server object manager (SOM), and server object containers (SOCs) are all on separate machines, ArcGIS Server will not function without the network. If, however, all these components are running on the same physical machine, ArcGIS Server will operate correctly as long as all data is referenced using local paths rather than shared network directories with UNC paths. For example, when you publish a resource such as a map document, publish it from your C:\ drive and ensure that all layers reference local data through local paths as well.

Additionally, if the computer is part of a domain and you have disconnected the computer from the domain, you must use local accounts for the SOM account, SOC account, ArcGIS Web Services account, and the account you use for logging in to Manager.

How do I configure ArcGIS Server to run in a Windows Workgroup environment?

When using ArcGIS Server in a Windows Workgroup environment (not to be confused with ArcGIS Server Workgroup), there are a few important steps you need to follow to make sure that GIS server authentication functions correctly. See the section "Network environments" in the topic How the GIS server works for instructions.

If my data is on a machine that does not have ArcGIS Server installed, how can I give a local SOC account permissions to it?

Occasionally, the situation may arise that your data is on a machine with no components of ArcGIS Server installed and you are following the recommended practice of using local accounts for the SOC account. You will need to use the operating system tools to create a local SOC account on the machine containing your data. Create a local account on the machine hosting your data and assign it the same name and password as the SOC account on all the other machines in your deployment. The GIS server will then be able to recognize that it has permissions to access your data.

Can I set up my servers in a failover or round-robin configuration?

Failover and round-robin are techniques to provide a backup server in case one server in your configuration goes down. As you design your Web applications in Visual Studio, you can specify additional GIS servers that the application will use and whether they will act in a failover or round-robin mode. Failover and round-robin can also be implemented programmatically using the Connection Library included with the ADF.

Learn more about using the Connection Library to implement failover and round-robin in your Web applications

How can I find out what my ArcGIS instance name is?

You are asked to enter the ArcGIS instance name when you install ArcGIS Server. If someone else performed the installation or you cannot remember what you entered, there is an easy way to tell what the instance name is.

In Windows, navigate to Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcGIS Server for the Microsoft .NET Framework. If you see the shortcut ArcGIS Server Manager, then you have the default instance name, which is ArcGIS. If you have some other instance name, it is appended to the Manager shortcut in parentheses, for example: ArcGIS Server Manager (Instance1).

Each instance has its own folder in the C:\Inetpub\wwwroot directory. If you can navigate to C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS, then your instance name is probably the default of ArcGIS.

How can I find out what license level of ArcGIS Server is installed?

Often, a simple way to determine the license level of ArcGIS Server installed on your machine is to increase the level of logging, restart the Web server, and then view the updated log file. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In ArcGIS Server Manager, click the GIS Server module. By default, the Server Activity Log displays. Click Server Log Properties.
  2. When the Server Logging Properties dialog box displays, select the drop down box under Log level and choose Info:Simple. Save or write down the Log file path. This path will vary depending on your install configuration.
  3. Click OK to accept the changes.
  4. Log out of Manager and restart your Web server. Once your Web server is restarted, the log file is overwritten with the Info:Simple server log level configuration, thus revealing the license level of ArcGIS Server installed.
  5. Follow the log file path you recorded eariler and open the most recently modified .dat log file. The license level of ArcGIS Server installed is indicated in the first message line.

Optionally, you can set the log level back to its original value.

I see more ArcSOC.exe processes than running service instances. This can happen even after I stop all my services.

ArcGIS Server uses an ArcSOC.exe process internally for directory management. You will still be able to see this process running in Windows Task Manager even if you stop all your services in Manager or ArcCatalog.

Additionally, geoprocessing services use multiple ArcSOC.exe processes to manage scheduling and status of jobs. For each geoprocessing service configuration, you will see one ArcSOC.exe process plus two ArcSOC.exe processes for each running instance. For example, if you have one geoprocessing service with three running instances, you will see seven ArcSOC.exe processes. These processes go away when you stop the service or shortly thereafter.

Similarly, the search service uses an associated geoprocessing service that may increase the number of ArcSOC.exe processes you see.

I can't get the context-sensitive help to display in ArcCatalog.

When using ArcCatalog to administer your ArcGIS Server, you may get an error message if you attempt to use the ? button to get help. This happens on the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system, which do not ship with the WinHlp32.exe executable necessary to view the help. Microsoft provides WinHlp32.exe as a free download. See Microsoft article 917607 for background information and download instructions, or follow the prompts on the error message.

I can't log in to Manager.

To log in to Manager, you must use an account that is a member of the agsadmin group on the SOM machine. If you want to create Web applications with Manager, the account must also be an Administrator on the Web server machine.

Logging in to Manager in Windows XP also requires that simple file sharing be disabled. In the simple file sharing model, all attempts to log on to the computer from across the network are forced to use the Guest account. Manager and Web ADF applications need to authenticate as the ArcGIS Web Services account and not the Guest account. Therefore, you need to disable simple file sharing if it is not disabled already. To disable simple file sharing, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start and click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options and click the View tab.
  3. In the Advanced Settings section, uncheck the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box.
  4. Click OK.

If the Web server name hosting the Manager application contains underscore characters in the name, attempting to log in to Manager in an Internet Explorer browser will fail without any error message.

Options for working around this issue are as follows:

  • Substitute the IP address of the Web server in the URL in place of the name containing the underscore.
  • If you are physically logged in to the Web server, use LOCALHOST in the URL instead of the name containing the underscore.
  • Use a Web browser other than Internet Explorer to log in to Manager.
  • If possible, rename the Web server so that it does not contain underscore characters.

Many options in Manager are unavailable (appear dimmed).

When you restart the ArcGIS Server Object Manager service, the server may be depicted as being offline the next time you log in to Manager. As a result, many options in Manager are unavailable.

You can make the options available again by closing Manager and reopening it.

I am unable to connect to map services published with ArcGIS Server 10 using ArcGIS Explorer 900 or 1200.

When connecting to map services published with ArcGIS Server 10, ArcGIS Explorer 900 and 1200 may return the following error: Unable to add service(s). To correct this issue, you must install the ArcGIS Explorer 1200 ArcGIS Server 10 compatibility patch.

I added a service, but I can't see it in the Services Directory.

Information in the Services Directory is cached so that you can have fast performance when navigating its links. If you add, remove, or modify a service, you must clear the cache in order for the changes to appear in the Services Directory. Navigate to http://<server name>/<instance name>/rest/admin, log in, then click Clear Cache Options. You can set up a schedule for automatically clearing the cache, or you can clear it manually. Once the cache is cleared, you should be able to see your new service in the Services Directory.

What OGC-compliant services can I publish with ArcGIS Server?

Using ArcGIS Server, you can publish Web Map Services (WMS), Web Feature Services (WFS), and Web Coverage Services (WCS).

Learn more about OGC support in ArcGIS Server

I'm having trouble creating a service that contains layers from a geodatabase.

To understand how to configure the correct permissions required for ArcSDE and other geodatabase layers, see Preparing resources for publishing.

I'm trying to preview a map service in ArcCatalog, but the image is blank.

If you see a blank Preview tab with coordinate values appearing below as you move the mouse, it's likely that ArcCatalog can't get the map image from the virtual directory you have associated with your output directory. In this situation, ArcCatalog has all the information about the map except for the actual image, which is why you see the coordinates as you move the mouse. The best chance of fixing the problem is to check the virtual directory settings using your Web server administration software, making sure that the virtual directory is correctly pointing to the output directory on disk.

If you want to verify that the problem is with the output directory, adjust the map service's properties so that the supported image return type is MIME only. This setting does not use an output directory. If you see the image with MIME only and you don't see it with MIME + URL, then you know there is a problem with the output directory and/or the virtual directory.

You can browse to the output directory on disk to make sure that the images are being created inside. If you see images being added to the output directory as you try to preview the map service, then the problem is with the virtual directory settings.

I started creating a map cache, and it's taking a long time. When will it finish?

The amount of time needed to create your map cache depends on the type of cache you are building (fused or multilayer), the scale levels you have chosen, and the amount of server resources you have dedicated to generating the cache. These factors are discussed in detail in the section Anticipating cache creation time in the topic "Planning a map cache".

How can I migrate my services from a development machine to a production machine?

You can copy your <ArcGIS>\server\user\cfg folder from the development machine and paste it on the production machine in the same location, overwriting the original cfg folder. You will then need to manually restart the ArcGIS Server Object Manager Windows service. If your services' data resides in a different folder structure on the production machine, you will need to modify the service properties to reference the new paths to the data.

ArcGIS Server Internet connections to nonpooled services are very slow.

Using nonpooled services over an ArcGIS Server Internet connection is not recommended; instead, use an ArcGIS Server local connection.


Internet connections use the services in a purely stateless fashion. Each request to a service via the Internet results in a context acquisition and release on the back-end DCOM component of the service. If the service is nonpooled, each context release results in the destruction and re-creation of a service instance. This can be computationally expensive, especially if a client is making multiple requests to the service. For example, a simple Web ADF mapping application might connect to the service to get the Map object, the MapDescription, and the ImageDescription, then execute a draw request. Each of these operations involves a context acquisition and release. If the service is nonpooled and the client is connecting via the Internet, each of these operations results in the creation and destruction of a service instance, thereby slowing performance.

I recently updated my map and globe caches. Are client applications automatically aware that the updated tiles are available?

If you update an area of a map or globe cache, users of ArcMap, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Explorer who have already visited that area and extent must clear their local image caches before they can see the updates. As a server administrator, you need to alert your users when updated data is available so that they know to clear their caches. Consult the help system for your client application for instructions on how to clear the local cache.

ArcGIS Server places locks on my data.

By default, ArcGIS Server map services use schema locking to prevent other users from altering the geodatabase schema while the service is running. If the schema locks are impeding your workflow, you can disable them by manually adding the SchemaLockingEnabled tag to your service configuration file and setting it to false. For more information about editing the service configuration file and how to use this tag, see Service configuration files.

I published a globe service, and some layers disappeared.

Globe services cannot be published inside other globe services. It's likely that the missing layers come from other globe services that were in the ArcGlobe document (.3dd) that you tried to publish. For example, the default ArcGIS Online services in ArcGlobe are globe services that are hosted by ESRI and are removed when you publish a globe service.

If you want to see the missing layers, add your globe service to a new .3dd or .nmf document. Then you can connect to the appropriate servers (such as ArcGIS Online) and add the layers that were originally removed from your globe service.

Geoprocessing services fail when I send large jobs.

There are several adjustments you can make to allow sending large datasets to a geoprocessing service.

For ArcGIS Server Internet services, make sure the maximum message request size is large enough. In your ArcGIS Instance directory (for example: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS), open the services directory, find the web.config file, then edit the maxRequestLength in the httpRuntime tag. If the tag is not there, you'll need to add it:


The default size in kilobytes of the maxRequestLength is 4096. You can increase this size as shown above to allow larger requests.

When working with large geoprocessing jobs, you may also need to increase the maximum time a client can use a service. You can configure this on the Pooling tab of the Service Properties dialog box. The default is 600 seconds, or 10 minutes. See Tuning and configuring services to learn about the time-outs associated with a service.

When I run my Web mapping application, the map is blank.

A frequent reason the map appears blank is that it references a stopped, unavailable, or nonexistent map service. Network traffic, permissions issues, and modifications to service and file system properties can all lead to a blank map. The section "Administering the server" in this help system documents how to prepare for and avoid these issues.

Your map may also appear blank if your Web server machine has an underscore (_) character in its name. See ESRI Knowledge Base article 32503 for more information about this limitation.

I get an Access Denied error message when running a Geoprocessing task.

When running a Geoprocessing task inside a Web application, you have the option to save a file of information about the results, which you can use in future application sessions. The place where the file is saved is determined by the VirtualDirectory property of the Geoprocessing task. At run time, if the account that runs the Web application does not have sufficient access to this directory, you will see the Access Denied error message. A workaround is to open the application in Visual Studio, right-click the name of the project in the Solution Explorer, then click Add ArcGIS Identity. Through ASP.NET impersonation, the user name and password you specify are used to run the application. This user name and password should have read and write permissions to the VirtualDirectory of the Geoprocessing task.

When I run a Geoprocessing task in a Web application, I don't see the Save and Check task results links.

These links are only available if the VirtualDirectory for the Geoprocessing task has execute permissions set to Scripts only in IIS Manager.

Learn more about configuring the VirtualDirectory for the Geoprocessing task

The Search Attributes task produces unexpected results or an error message.

Searches against an ArcGIS Server map service can sometimes return more records than expected. This is because of the way the search works. When you define the Search Attributes task in Manager, you specify the layers to search and the fields in those layers to search. Although it appears in Manager that specific fields will be searched for specific layers, in reality you are simply defining a list of layers to search and a list of fields to search in. Thus, if two layers have the same field name, the field will be searched in both layers.

If the Search Attributes task is configured to work with two layers that have the same name, and a match is found in both, the application may return an error. This is a known issue.

When I run a task, the results are not highlighted on the map. Additionally, sometimes the results don't have check boxes next to them, and the Zoom To and Pan To options are not available.

When you run a task, each result feature is normally listed next to a check box that can be used to highlight the feature. Also, you can right-click a result and get options to Zoom To or Pan To the selected feature.

The check boxes may be missing, and therefore the feature cannot be selected. This happens when the Shape field of the dataset has been marked as hidden in the map document. The Web application cannot get the geometry that it needs, and the check boxes are omitted.

When the dataset's Shape field is hidden, results from a Query task don't have check boxes, the selected feature is not highlighted on the map, and the Zoom To and Pan To options are not available.

With results from a search or identify operation, the check boxes appear, but the selected feature cannot be highlighted on the map.

To allow features to be selected and navigated to, follow these steps:

  1. Start ArcMap and open the source map document for your map service.
  2. Open the layer properties for the layer that your task is using.
  3. Click the Fields tab. You'll see a list of the fields in the layer.
  4. Make sure the check box next to the Shape field is checked.
  5. Save the map document and restart the service.

How do I optimize the performance of my Web application?

To make sure your Web application is optimized for performance, review the topic Performance tips for Web applications. ESRI is constantly researching ways to improve performance in the core software and ways that you can improve the performance of existing applications by adjusting hardware and software settings. Best practices are continually added to the Web help in the topic linked above.

My GIS server consistently fails under a heavy load.

If your GIS server is failing or experiencing severe performance degradation under a heavy load (over 25 concurrent requests per second), it may be that the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (lsass.exe) has become overworked. ESRI Knowledge Base Articles 32620 (Windows Server 2003) or 32622 (Windows XP) explain how to adjust your server to work around this situation.