“IIS Express Website Here” Shell Extension

One of the cool things released earlier today by Microsoft was IIS Express – A lightweight but fully-featured and self-contained version of IIS 7.5. It runs on Windows XP and above, even if you already have IIS or another web server installed.

What’s really cool (I think) is it can be run a) from the command line, and b) from any directory. This makes it incredibly flexible. That said, I don’t want to have to fire up a command prompt every time I want to start a server instance in a particular directory… Wouldn’t it be much easier to have a right-click “IIS Express Website Here” context menu option in Windows Explorer? Of course it would :-)

I’ve thrown together a shell extension using some registry edits, adapted from original work here and here, so all due credit to Phil Haack and Tuna Toksoz. What it does is add an option to your Windows Explorer context menu to start IIS Express in the selected directory, using a random port number. You can then use the handy System Tray icon to launch the site in your favourite web browser.

There are two versions of the .reg file in the Zip file – one for 64bit Windows, and one for 32bit. Only the 64bit version has been tested (certified working on my machine), using a standard WPI installation of IIS Express. Only run the .reg file suitable for your platform. Use at your own risk – I am not responsible for anything which breaks!

Download IISExpressHere.zip

UPDATE 18-Nov-2012: I’ve made a copy of the source over at GitHub, for those of you who can’t access the Dropbox link, or want to fork the code for Windows 8, etc. You can access the repository here: IIS Express Here on GitHub

  1. Perfect. Was about to try and figure out how to do the same but you’ve saved me the trouble. The extension works just fine on a 32 bit XP instance as well.


  2. excellent! Glad it worked for you!


  3. Could you host this somewhere other than drop box maybe even create a Git project. I am looking to update this to iis express 8 but dropbox is blocked


    1. Yeah, sure. I’ll get it moved over to GitHub over the weekend.


  4. […] last weekend, but was too occupied playing with the kids to get on to it: I’ve moved over the small IIS Express shell extension I made in January 2011 to a repository on GitHub, for all you forking, open-source […]


  5. here’s the 64bit file for Windows 8:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    “Icon”=”%ProgramFiles%\\IIS Express\\iisexpress.exe”
    “MUIVerb”=”IIS Express Website Here”

    @=”cmd /c start /D\”C:\\Program Files\\IIS Express\\\” iisexpress.exe /port:%%random%% /path:\”%1\””


  6. […] received an email from a developer the other day, who had forked the repository for my “IIS Express Here” shell extension on GitHub. He had noticed there was no license information available in the project, so asked if I […]


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