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The setup for ADFS 2.0 installs a new service adfssrv in addition to the ADFS website.

What is the purpose of this service? The documentation does not contain any information about it.

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This is the adfs service. This service publishes the endpoints that one communicates with. So when you request federation metadata, the service responds. See ADFS console's service/endpoints for a list of URLs that are handled by this service.

The website is merely used to serve the web pages for /adfs/ls virtual directory for purposes like home realm discovery.

This is a key difference from the old ADFS 1.0 included in-box with the OS. That runs as a web application in IIS. The new version 2.0 is a separate service.

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