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I have an IIS6 machine, running multiple web applications. Once in a while, IIS recycles W3WP. When i look at the error codes, W3WP.exe usually exits with return code -2 (0xfffffffe) but one in a while it exits with -3 (0xfffffffd). While the end result is the same, i was wondering if there's any difference/reason to these particular return codes?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

According to this post, -3 indicates that WAS (Windows Process Activation Service) had to kill a worker process, whereas -2 means that the process closed OK.

So I suspect that when you see -3, it means that the worker process was doing something at the time it was recycled, but -2 means the worker process wasn't busy and was OK with just quitting when asked.

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  • A return code of 0xFFFFFFFF means that the worker process exited due to a fatal error.
  • A return code of 0xFFFFFFFE means that the worker process exited normally.
  • A return code of 0xFFFFFFFD means that the worker process was killed.
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