KBI 311677 Argent Commander Seems To Intermittently Deny Access To Users


Argent Commander – All Versions


Monday, 11 June 2018


After – somewhat unwisely – having Microsoft fixes automatically applied, a few Argent customers using Active Directory Groups or – very occasionally – using the Individual Users in Security tab of Argent Commander may see a white blank screen when trying to log in to Argent Commander

It seems this may occur when there are up to five concurrent users at any given time, and the customer has applied IIS patches or Hot Fixes from Microsoft

Sometimes a user can log on with no issues; other times the user can generally log on; other times the user can never log on (this third case is rare)

In this third case the user consistently cannot load Argent Commander at all, seeing only a white blank screen, even after typing in the correct credentials

At any given time, the remaining users are still able to access and use Argent Commander

There are NO traces of errors in Windows Event Logs and IIS Logs

There may be entries such as “HTTP Error 401.2 – Unauthorized” in “Failed Request Tracing Rules” in the logs of IIS, an IIS feature available after enabling and configuring “Windows features > Internet Information Services > World Wide Web Services > Health and Diagnostics > Tracing”:

The visible symptoms of this Microsoft bug are as follows:

  1. When opening the Argent Commander from a restarted browser, the user is first prompted for authentication (normal)

  2. However, after entering the correct credentials, the user see a blank screen
  3. The user may also see a “waiting” status bar at the bottom, and appears to be loading indefinitely

Technical Background

Argent has provided a free debugging facility consisting of a set of “Hello World” test files to debug this Microsoft bug or bugs:


This debugging facility can be used to show Microsoft support their bug(s)

Preparing The Tests

Test should be performed with Google Chrome, and on the machine where Argent Commander is installed

Download ARGENT_COMMANDER_HELLO_WORLD_TEST_FILES.ZIP (Click Here), and unzip into directory where Argent Commander is installed (e.g. C:\Argent\ArgentCommander\)

Verify the following FIVE test files are under C:\Argent\ArgentCommander:


Close ALL browsers completely – Check Windows Task Bar’s Notification Tray and confirm Google Chrome is closed

Test 1 – HELLO.TXT

Open Google Chrome, and navigate to http://{server}/Argent_Commander/HELLO.TXT

PASS – If you see this, Test 1 was successful

A successful test proves credentials are correct without involving IIS ASP.DLL or any Argent Commander code

FAIL – If Sign In credentials are incorrect, the browser should keep prompting for Username and Password

If “Cancel” is pressed instead, an “HTTP Error 401.2 – Unauthorized” error page should be seen.


Without closing the browser, visit http://{server}/Argent_Commander/HELLO.HTML

PASS – If Test 1 was successful, Test 2 will most likely be successful as well

A successful test proves that credentials from Test 1 persists, without involving IIS ASP.DLL or any Argent Commander code

Click HELLO_A.ASP for next test

FAIL – If Test 1 failed, Test 2 will most likely fail the same way

In the extremely unlikely case where Test 1 WAS successful but only fails on Test 2, this indicates IIS is configured to handle HTML differently from TXT files, and further diagnosis should be performed

Test 3 – HELLO_A.ASP

From Test 2 , click HELLO_A.ASP

PASS – If Test 3 is successful, ASP.DLL (IIS) and GLOBAL.ASA (the most minimal Argent Commander Code) works

Click HELLO_B.ASP for next test

At this point, remaining tests are expected to work, and is about transitioning to a fully loaded Argent Commander

FAIL – If a white blank screen is shown and appears to be loading indefinitely, do the following:

  1. Temporarily rename GLOBAL.ASA to __GLOBAL.ASA (At this state, NO Argent Commander code is involved)

  2. Click the browser’s Refresh button
  3. If issue STILL occurs, issue is NOT related to Argent Commander as there are NO Argent Commander code involved
  4. If issue no longer occurs, rename __GLOBAL.ASA back to GLOBAL.ASA and refresh browser to repeat “Test 3”

    As this issue is INTERMITTENT, in some cases repeating “Test 3” may all of a sudden work again – this may be a few minutes apart, or involving IIS restarts or Application Pool recycles

    Such cases of “suddenly working again” also proves the issue is NOT related to Argent Commander

    If it “suddenly works” again, go to Test 4 and onwards, which should all be expected to work

Test 4 – HELLO_B.ASP

From Test 3, click HELLO_B.ASP

This test is expected to pass, and is simply a transition to loading Argent Commander in full

PASS – If Test 4 is successful, minimal Argent Commander initialization without loading the interface works

This is most likely the case if you have already passed Test 3

Click HELLO_C.ASP for next test

FAIL – If ONLY “Test 4” fails but not “Test 3”, repeat Test 3 and Test 4 to make sure results are consistent and not intermittent

If ONLY Test 4 repeatedly and consistently fails but not Test 3, this is a different issue on Argent Commander initialization

Failed test ONLY from this point forward is unlikely

Test 5 – HELLO_C.ASP

From Test 4, click HELLO_C.ASP

This test is expected to pass, and is the last transition to loading Argent Commander in full

PASS – If Test 5 is successful, minimal Argent Commander interface works

You may see the following JavaScript prompt – THIS IS NORMAL. Simply Click “OK”

After clicking “OK”, you should see the following – Argent Commander Tabs only, and text about Test 5

Click ENTERPRISE.ASP to open Argent Commander in full


In some cases, restarting IIS and recycling the Argent Commander Application Pool in IIS may temporarily allow access again

In other cases where users are consistently denied access, restarting IIS and recycling Application Pool may not always work

This issue arose at a European Argent banking customer immediately after Microsoft Hot Fixes were automatically applied

Argent is investigating