Overview of ASP.NET Configuration Files
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by Joydip Kanjilal
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The machine.config file

The machine.config located at the "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\vx.x.xxxx\CONFIG" directory, is used to apply configuration settings for all the applications in the entire system. In ASP.NET 2.0 you have a backup of machine.config file as well. Here, the machine.config files available are machine.config, machine.config.comments and machine.config.default. Out of the numerous sections in the machine.config file, the most important ones are:

·         processModel

·         sessionState

·         appSettings

The processModel and the sessionState sections contain the attribute allowDefinition that can have either of the values, MachineOnly or MachineToApplication. If allowDefinition is set to MachineOnly, you cannot override the section in your application or folder level. This is because updating of the definition is restricted and remains constant for the entire system. However, if the allowDefinition attribute's value is MachineToApplication, you can override the same in your application or folder levels. Further, you can override the appSettings attribute of the machine.config file in your web.config configuration file at the application or folder levels as there is not restriction that can be applicable here.

You can control and configure the ASP.NET Worker Process using the <processModel> section of the machine.config file. You can enable or disable it and also recycle the worker process. Further, you can shut down the ASP.NET Worker Process using the idleTimeout or the shutDownTimeout attributes of the <processModel> section.

Trust Levels

Trust levels imply whether a code should be treated by the CLR as trusted. There are various trust levels in ASP.NET with specific implications for each. This section would discuss how we can modify the trust levels in the machine.config file. It should be noted that an ASP.NET web application has full trust and unrestricted permissions by default. However, you can modify this using the <trust level> section in the machine.config file. The trust level in the machine.config file can have any of the following values:

·         Full

·         High

·         Medium

·         Low

·         Minimal

The following is the syntax for using trust level in the machine.config file.

Listing 19

<trust level="Full|High|Medium|Low|Minimal" />

Refer to the code snippet that that illustrates how you can set the trust level in the machine.config file.

Listing 20

  <trust level="Medium" originUrl=""/>

Note that with ASP.NET 2.0, you can have trust levels at both the application and machine levels.

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