Installing IIS on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7

This article is available also in my blog, check it out here.


When you install Windows, it doesn't automatically install IIS for you. Instead, you have to install it manually. If you have downloaded a new version of IIS from IIS website, you can use the setup file to install IIS on your machine. If you prefer the version of IIS that ships with your Windows edition, you can install it using Windows Components installer, and that what we are going to do next.

IIS on Windows XP

To install IIS on Windows XP follow those steps:

  1. Go to Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Windows Components.
  2. Go down in the list and check Internet Information Services (see figure 1.)
  3. You can also click Details to choose additional services and functionalities to install (e.g. SMTP service.)
  4. Click Next and provide your Windows CD or Windows installation files folder to continue.

Figure 1 - Installing IIS on Windows XP

Now you can go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools and run IIS from there. You can also browse to http://localhost and see your new homepage (enjoy!)

IIS on Windows Vista and Windows 7

Installing IIS on Windows Vista/7 is very similar, just follow those steps:

  1. Go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off.
  2. In the Windows Features dialog (see figure 2,) check Internet Information Services node.
  3. You can also select any additional services to install from the child nodes (e.g. FTP services.)
  4. Click OK to complete the installation. A system reboot might be required.

Figure 2 - Installing IIS on Windows Vista and Windows 7

Now go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools to run the IIS. You can also go to http://localhost to see your new homepage.

Running IIS

Personally, I don't like running IIS from Administrative Tools. I like to use the Run command to run everything on my PC and that's, on my opinion, 3 times faster than everything else (of course when using the keyboard not the mouse.)

To be able to launch IIS from the Run command, you need to add the IIS directory (%windir%\System32\inetsrv) to the command search path which is available in system environment variables, and that can be done using the following steps:

  1. Open System Settings (right click Computer and choose properties, or preferably by pressing Start + Pause Break buttons.)
  2. If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7 choose Advanced System Settings from the left pane.
  3. Go to Advanced -> Environment Variables (see figure 3.)
  4. In the bottom list (System Variables) select Path and click Edit.
  5. Beware not to fail this step. In the Variable Value field, add the symbol ; to the end of the value (if it's not already added) and then append the following text:
  6. Click OK 3 times.

Figure 3 - Setting the Path Environment Variable

Now go to Run (Start + R) and write inetmgr (the name of the IIS Manager) to run the IIS Management tool.

Have a nice day!