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And are any of those things not programmatically available (.Net) from Microsoft.Web.Administration?

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When you recycle an application, the worker processes (w3wp.exe) are shut down and new ones started.

When you perform an IIS Reset you restart the following Windows services:

IIS Admin Service

Windows Process Activation

World Wide Web Publishing

The worker processes depend on these services, so naturally ALL worker processes (not just the ones pertaining to the application you would like to recycle) are shut down, and can not be started until the WWW Publishing is ready to process requests again.

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Are the restarts done asynchronously? An iisreset.exe returns faster than a net stop and net start on W3SVC does. – Brian Deacon Jan 31 '12 at 12:00
IISReset forces a fast stop for the Inetinfo process when it's present. I think the other methods wait for a clean exit. MWA isn't designed to replace tasks performed by IISReset, so the question becomes: why IISReset? – TristanK Jan 31 '12 at 13:24
You can iniate IISReset "gracefully" with IISReset /noforce, that way it will wait for the processes to shutdown, instead of forcing an abrupt process termination. Recycle from MWA all you want, avoid IISReset – Mathias R. Jessen Jan 31 '12 at 19:20

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