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beginning to encounter this error:

"It has taken too long to refresh the W3SVC counters, the stale counters are being used instead."

on our IIS6/Win2k3 boxes circumstantially whenever the HTTP requests get in the region of 500p/sec.

Doesn't crash IIS or any of the wroker processes so as far as we can tell the service is not interrupted, but it is causing dr.watson to spawn a process which starts consuming a lot of processor time, which does lead to 503 "Service unavailable" responses.

No clue how to diagnose what's going on let alone fix it, and google/ms is of little use. Any ideas?

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I realize this is for IIS 7, but this MS article says you should just restart the W3SVC process when that happens.

Another MS Technote that seems to be related:;en-us;267831 (referenced here).

These are pure speculation on my part, though :)

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I've seen this as a side effect of resource contention on servers that were running out of memory or had the CPU pegged, so I don't think the Dr Watsons and the fact that this shows up once you get to around 500 requests/second are unrelated. If you can find out what resource Windows is running out of (sounds like CPU time in this case) and fix that, the error about counters not refreshing should go away.

I'd suggest looking into the Dr Watsons first. Those shouldn't even be running unless something has crashed and they were invoked as a post-mortem debugger to create a memory dump. The event logs should show what program has crashed.

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