Hidden Segments <hiddenSegments>


The <hiddenSegments> element contains a collection of <add> elements that identify certain URLs IIS 7 will make inaccessible to clients.

For example, on Web servers that are hosting ASP.NET content, IIS 7 blocks several of the ASP.NET-related paths for you; Web.config, bin, App_Code, etc. Blocking these URL segments reduce the chance of an attacker being able to exploit these URLs for information.

Note: When request filtering blocks an HTTP request because of a hidden URL segment, IIS 7 will return an HTTP 404 error to the client and log the following HTTP status with a unique substatus that identifies the reason that the request was denied:

HTTP Substatus Description
404.8 Hidden Namespace

This substatus allows Web administrators to analyze their IIS logs and identify potential threats.


Version Notes
IIS 7.5 The <hiddenSegments> element was not modified in IIS 7.5.
IIS 7.0 The <hiddenSegments> element of the <requestFiltering> collection was introduced in IIS 7.0.
IIS 6.0 The <hiddenSegments> element replaces the IIS 6.0 UrlScan [DenyUrlSequences] features.


The default installation of IIS 7 includes the Request Filtering role service. If the Request Filtering role service is uninstalled, you can reinstall it using the following steps.

Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2

  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Server Manager.
  2. In the Server Manager hierarchy pane, expand Roles, and then click Web Server (IIS).
  3. In the Web Server (IIS) pane, scroll to the Role Services section, and then click Add Role Services.
  4. On the Select Role Services page of the Add Role Services Wizard, select Request Filtering, and then click Next.
  5. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, click Install.
  6. On the Results page, click Close.

Windows Vista or Windows 7

  1. On the taskbar, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. In Control Panel, click Programs and Features, and then click Turn Windows Features on or off.
  3. Expand Internet Information Services, then World Wide Web Services, and then Security.
  4. Select Request Filtering, and then click OK.

How To

Note for IIS 7.0 users: Some of the steps in this section may require that you install the Microsoft Administration Pack for IIS 7.0, which includes a user interface for request filtering. To install the Microsoft Administration Pack for IIS 7.0, please see the following URL:

How to add a hidden segment

  1. Open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager:
    • If you are using Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2:
      • On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
    • If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7:
      • On the taskbar, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
      • Double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
  2. In the Connections pane, go to the connection, site, application, or directory for which you want to modify your request filtering settings.
  3. In the Home pane, double-click Request Filtering.
  4. In the Request Filtering pane, click the Hidden Segments tab, and then click Add Hidden Segment... in the Actions pane.
  5. In the Add Hidden Segment dialog box, enter the relative path that you want to hide, and then click OK.



Attribute Description
applyToWebDAV Optional Boolean attribute.

Specifies whether these settings should also apply to WebDAV requests.

Child Elements

Element Description
add Optional element.

Adds a segment to the collection of hidden segments.
clear Optional element.

Removes all references to segments from the <hiddenSegments> collection.
remove Optional element.

Removes a reference to a segment from the <hiddenSegments> collection.

Configuration Sample

The following example Web.config file will configure two options: it will configure IIS to deny access to requests for the "_private" folder, and it will configure request filtering to allow WebDAV access to hidden segments.

            <hiddenSegments applyToWebDAV="false">
               <add segment="_private" />

Sample Code

The following code samples will configure two options: they will configure IIS to deny access to requests for the "_private" folder in the "Default Web Site", and they will configure request filtering to allow WebDAV access to hidden segments.


appcmd.exe set config "Default Web Site" -section:system.webServer/security/requestFiltering /hiddenSegments.applyToWebDAV:"False"

appcmd.exe set config "Default Web Site" -section:system.webServer/security/requestFiltering /+"hiddenSegments.[segment='_private']"


using System;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Web.Administration;

internal static class Sample
   private static void Main()
      using (ServerManager serverManager = new ServerManager())
         Configuration config = serverManager.GetWebConfiguration("Default Web Site");
         ConfigurationSection requestFilteringSection = config.GetSection("system.webServer/security/requestFiltering");

         ConfigurationElement hiddenSegmentsElement = requestFilteringSection.GetChildElement("hiddenSegments");
         hiddenSegmentsElement["applyToWebDAV"] = false;
         ConfigurationElementCollection hiddenSegmentsCollection = hiddenSegmentsElement.GetCollection();

         ConfigurationElement addElement = hiddenSegmentsCollection.CreateElement("add");
         addElement["segment"] = @"_private";



Imports System
Imports System.Text
Imports Microsoft.Web.Administration

Module Sample

   Sub Main()
      Dim serverManager As ServerManager = New ServerManager
      Dim config As Configuration = serverManager.GetWebConfiguration("Default Web Site")
      Dim requestFilteringSection As ConfigurationSection = config.GetSection("system.webServer/security/requestFiltering")

      Dim hiddenSegmentsElement As ConfigurationElement = requestFilteringSection.GetChildElement("hiddenSegments")
      hiddenSegmentsElement("applyToWebDAV") = False
      Dim hiddenSegmentsCollection As ConfigurationElementCollection = hiddenSegmentsElement.GetCollection

      Dim addElement As ConfigurationElement = hiddenSegmentsCollection.CreateElement("add")
      addElement("segment") = "_private"

   End Sub

End Module


var adminManager = new ActiveXObject('Microsoft.ApplicationHost.WritableAdminManager');
adminManager.CommitPath = "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST/Default Web Site";

var requestFilteringSection = adminManager.GetAdminSection("system.webServer/security/requestFiltering", "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST/Default Web Site");
var hiddenSegmentsElement = requestFilteringSection.ChildElements.Item("hiddenSegments");
hiddenSegmentsElement.Properties.Item("applyToWebDAV").Value = false;

var hiddenSegmentsCollection = hiddenSegmentsElement.Collection;

var addElement = hiddenSegmentsCollection.CreateNewElement("add");
addElement.Properties.Item("segment").Value = "_private";



Set adminManager = WScript.CreateObject("Microsoft.ApplicationHost.WritableAdminManager")
adminManager.CommitPath = "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST/Default Web Site"
Set requestFilteringSection = adminManager.GetAdminSection("system.webServer/security/requestFiltering", "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST/Default Web Site")
Set hiddenSegmentsElement = requestFilteringSection.ChildElements.Item("hiddenSegments")
hiddenSegmentsElement.Properties.Item("applyToWebDAV").Value = False

Set hiddenSegmentsCollection = hiddenSegmentsElement.Collection

Set addElement = hiddenSegmentsCollection.CreateNewElement("add")
addElement.Properties.Item("segment").Value = "_private"

Deprecated Elements