Difference between IISRESET and IIS Stop-Start command

Take IISReset as a suite of commands that helps you manage IIS start / stop etc.

This means you need to specify the option (/switch) what you want to do to carry out any operation.

Default behavior OR default switch is /restart with iisreset so you do not need to run the command twice with /start and /stop.

Hope this clarifies your question. For reference the output of iisreset /? is:

IISRESET.EXE (c) Microsoft Corp. 1998-2005

iisreset [computername]

    /RESTART            Stop and then restart all Internet services.
    /START              Start all Internet services.
    /STOP               Stop all Internet services.
    /REBOOT             Reboot the computer.
    /REBOOTONERROR      Reboot the computer if an error occurs when starting,
                        stopping, or restarting Internet services.
    /NOFORCE            Do not forcefully terminate Internet services if
                        attempting to stop them gracefully fails.
    /TIMEOUT:val        Specify the timeout value ( in seconds ) to wait for
                        a successful stop of Internet services. On expiration
                        of this timeout the computer can be rebooted if
                        the /REBOOTONERROR parameter is specified.
                        The default value is 20s for restart, 60s for stop,
                        and 0s for reboot.
    /STATUS             Display the status of all Internet services.
    /ENABLE             Enable restarting of Internet Services
                        on the local system.
    /DISABLE            Disable restarting of Internet Services
                        on the local system.

I know this is quite an old post, but I would like to point out the following for people who will read it in the future: As per MS:

Do not use the IISReset.exe tool to restart the IIS services. Instead, use the NET STOP and NET START commands. For example, to stop and start the World Wide Web Publishing Service, run the following commands:

  • NET STOP iisadmin /y
  • NET START w3svc

There are two benefits to using the NET STOP/NET START commands to restart the IIS Services as opposed to using the IISReset.exe tool. First, it is possible for IIS configuration changes that are in the process of being saved when the IISReset.exe command is run to be lost. Second, using IISReset.exe can make it difficult to identify which dependent service or services failed to stop when this problem occurs. Using the NET STOP commands to stop each individual dependent service will allow you to identify which service fails to stop, so you can then troubleshoot its failure accordingly.


The following was tested for IIS 8.5 and Windows 8.1.

As of IIS 7, Windows recommends restarting IIS via net stop/start. Via the command prompt (as Administrator):

> net stop WAS
> net start W3SVC

net stop WAS will stop W3SVC as well. Then when starting, net start W3SVC will start WAS as a dependency.