Over the past year or so we've been wrestling with an intermittent error from classic ASP when trying to instantiate .NET components with Server.CreateObject. Everything works fine 90% of the time, and now and then we'll start seeing this error:

Server object error 'ASP 0177 : 8000ffff'
Server.CreateObject Failed
<FileName>.asp, line <LineNumber>

Once this error starts happening, it generally persists until we move the application to another application pool or restart IIS. Recycling the app pool does not fix the problem.

Unfortunately, the error message and number are fairly generic, so it's been pretty tricky to track down. There are lots of people with very similar issues posting all over the web that have solved them in various ways. None of the solutions we found have ever worked for us. Most of them were people seeing the error all the time (eg. permissions errors), but we found very few people seeing our behaviour where the code would just randomly stop working.

After many, many months of searching, we found some reports of similar behaviour being caused by installing an Internet Explorer 7 patch. Many people were rolling the patch back with some success. Rolling back patches doesn't seem like the best thing in the world, so we've always avoided the complications that go with it.

The Solution

Eventually, we found the solution. It's in this Microsoft knowledgebase article KB945701. The problem appears to be a failure to read some IE-related values from the registry. The hotfix on the page above (which is included in the latest service pack, so you probably do not need the hotfix) adds the ability to ignore these errors by setting a registry key:

  • Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    Note If the FEATURE_IGNORE_ZONES_INITIALIZATION_FAILURE_KB945701 subkey does not exist, you must manually create it. If you're using a 64 bit OS, you may need to use HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_IGNORE_ZONES_INITIALIZATION_FAILURE_KB945701 instead (thanks Brad Baker!)
  • Right-click FEATURE_IGNORE_ZONES_INITIALIZATION_FAILURE_KB945701, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  • Type w3wp.exe to name the new registry entry, and then press ENTER.
  • Right-click w3wp.exe, and then click Modify.
  • In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.

After setting this registry key, a simple app pool restart will apply the change. No longer will your .NET COM components randomly stop working with no real solution except shuffling application pools!