Start stopped application pools with AppCmd in a loop. In my routine, I occasionally have to start multiple website application pools when they are in a stopped state. On more than one web server. Being a lazy system administrator, I find it too much work to log on every server. Therefore I start those application pools in a loop. A condition for me to start application pools is that the application pool autostart parameter is set to true. This is because I set autostart to false when I disable hacked websites, and those application pools may not be started until all problems are resolved of course. To start application pools, I use the AppCmd command.

Remote AppCmd usage

Utilizing AppCmd with a CMD shell FOR loop, it is very easy to start all application pools matching this condition, on multiple web servers at once. All you need is a text file to list your server hostnames in.

Text file with server hostnames

We need a text file to work with. Create a text file called allservers.txt, and put all your servers in there. One server name (or hostname) per line:

srv1.example.com
srv2.example.com
srv3.example.com
srv1.example.net
[...]
srv201.example.net

We use CMD’s internal command FOR to run through this file, line by line in a loop.

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AppCmd command to conditionally start all IIS application pools

Now we have our text file with our hostnames in place, we use CMD’s internal FOR command. Just type for /? for its help: Runs a specified command for each file in a set of files.

Precisely what we need, because a set of files may also be one file. In the help we find the syntax to use:

FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN (file-set) DO command [command-parameters]

If we combine this with AppCmd’s command to start application pools, we can create a single command that is executed for every webserver listed in allservers.txt.

To communicate with remote web servers, we use winrs and the parameter -r:value. Winrs opens a connection to the web server hostname used as value and executes the command between double quote signs ("").

Put all on one line:

FOR /F %I IN (allservers.txt)
DO @winrs -r:%I "AppCmd list AppPool
 /state:stopped
 /autostart:true /xml
 | AppCmd start AppPool /in"

What the AppCmd command does is basically: output all application pools that are in state:stopped in XML format. The /in parameter in the second AppCmd command tells AppCmd to use the XML output as input.

Of course you can inverse the process to stop (an) application pool(s).

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Recycle application pools

If you just want to recycle all application pools (appPools) that are in state:running, use:

FOR /F %I IN (all_webservers.txt)
DO @winrs -r:%I "AppCmd list AppPool
 /state:started /xml
 | AppCmd recycle AppPool /in"