The dreaded AddressAccessDeniedException

About six months ago, I made the switch from developing with the .NET framework on Windows XP to Windows Vista (My main development rig runs Windows Vista Business 64-bit which is rock solid, I use Virtual PC 2007 SP1 to run virtual machines for development, testing, trials, etc. I even have a openSuse VM for Mono work!). I was flying high with Vista Service Pack 1 installed on the development VM until I hit the dreaded AddressAccessDeniedException –

AddressAccessDeniedException in Visual Studio 2008

AddressAccessDeniedException in Visual Studio 2008

Fortunately, this was not the first time I encountered this exception. In the first major project where I developed a workflow-driven business layer exposed with the WCF WorkflowServiceHost, I spent about three hours fighting with the exception during a deployment drill, until I hit the cause of the issue and found a solution. Digging deep to find a nice solution, I initially tried using httpcfg.exe as outlined in this MSDN article but soon gave up.

Fast forward to present – I am using a console application to host a workflow which is exposed to clients using a WCF WorkflowServiceHost. I use WSHttpContextBinding as the binding for the endpoint. The console application runs well within Visual Studio 2008 when I use a Windows XP Service Pack 3 VM for testing. I encounter the exception when I attempt to run the same console application in Vista. I turned off UAC (Yes, you may ask me why do I use Vista then!), restarted Visual Studio and it was all good. Next, I turned on UAC, right-click on the Visual Studio 2008 shortcut, and select “Run as administrator”. The console application runs fine without any exceptions! I coudn’t justify myself running Visual Studio with elevated permissions in Windows Vista without finding a way to add the reserved HTTP namespace to the group of users my logged in account belongs to.

I refreshed my memory of an excellent tool that I used the last time I encountered the same exception during the deployment drill on a server running Windows Server 2003. This tool is called HttpNamespaceManager, developed and shared by Paul. This tool can be used to manage HTTP namespaces. It provides a user interface that is simple and easy to follow. When adding a reserved HTTP namespace to the list, use the string http://+:9000/ (This is only an example; I was using http://localhost:9000 to host the workflow) in the “Enter URL” popup, followed by “BUILTIN\Users” in the “Permissions” popup – “Group or User Names” section. After entering the users group, turn on the “GenericExecute” option. Close all the pop-up windows and try running the application. The exception does not appear again.

In summary, there are two (nice) ways to resolve the exception –

  • Run Visual Studio 2008 as administrator.
  • Run the HttpNamespaceManager tool and the HTTP namespace the group of users your user account belongs to.

I had hoped that with Visual Studio 2008 SP1 this issue will have been resolved. However, this is not the case. I am guessing this is perhaps the a requirement for Visual Studio 2008 – not to allow the user to access reserved HTTP namespaces unless explicit permission is granted.

Have a nice day!


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