Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 226474 - Last Review: July 7, 2008 - Revision: 7.1

This article was previously published under Q226474
We strongly recommend that all users upgrade to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.0 running on Microsoft Windows Server 2008. IIS 7.0 significantly increases Web infrastructure security. For more information about IIS security-related topics, visit the following Microsoft Web site: (
For more information about IIS 7.0, visit the following Microsoft Web site: (

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When you use relative paths in include statements with Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), browsing a Web page may return an error message similar to the following:
Active Server Pages, ASP 0131
Disallowed Parent Path
The Include file '../<filename.ext>' cannot contain '..' to indicate the parent directory.
/<path>/<filename.ext>, line <number>


This is caused by disabling ASP's "parent paths" for a Web site or application while using relative parent paths in an include statement.

Relative parent paths in include statements use the following form:
<!--#include file="../<filename.ext>"-->


The best solution to the problem is to use absolute virtual paths from the root of the Web site instead of relative paths.

For example, if you use an include file named "" at the root of your server, the virtual path would be "/" If you use the same include file in a virtual directory named "/includes" on your server, the virtual path would be "/includes/"

The syntax example below illustrates how to implement virtual paths:
<!--#include virtual="/<virtual path>/<filename.ext>"-->

An alternative to using absolute virtual paths is to enable parent paths; however, this is not the preferred method. (See the notes in the More Information section for details.) This is accomplished for your default Web site by using the following steps:

Internet Information Services 7.0

  1. Start Internet Services Manager.
  2. Click Default Web Site, and then click Properties.
  3. Double-click ASP in the Features pane.
  4. Expand Behavior.
  5. Click Enable Parent Paths.
  6. Click True for Enable Parent Paths.
  7. Click Apply.

Internet Information Services 6.0

  1. Open the Internet Services Manager in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).
  2. Right-click on your Default Web Site and select Properties.
  3. Click the Home Directory tab.
  4. Click the Configuration button.
  5. Click the App Options tab.
  6. Click to select the Enable Parent Paths checkbox.
  7. Click the OK button until you return to the MMC.


There are additional security considerations to be considered when enabling parent paths on an IIS computer. For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
184717  ( ) AspEnableParentPaths MetaBase property should be set to False
332117  ( ) Enable Parent Paths is disabled by default in IIS 6.0

For more information about troubleshooting this and other ASP errors that may occur with IIS 6.0, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
Troubleshooting and Important Changes in ASP (

  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 7.0
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0
  • Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0
kbpending kbprb KB226474
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