Troubleshooting CGI Error

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When you submit an HTML form or click a link to a script from the web browser, you may receive an error similar to the following:

CGI Error

The specified CGI application misbehaved by not returning a complete
set of HTTP headers. The headers it did return are:

Can't open perl script "c:\inetsrv\wwwroot\scripts\":
No such file or directory


This error is caused by missing or malformed CGI header information. In this case the headers are missing because the script file could not be run, resulting in that error message being displayed instead of the output from the script.

More Information

The Common Gateway Interface (CGI) Specification calls for the script file to return at least one header. These headers fill out the remainder of the HTTP headers as required by the HTTP protocol. The HTTP protocol also requires a blank line between the end of the headers and the start of the document. The only headers currently supported by the CGI specification are:


Additional information about these headers can be found in the HTTP Protocol and CGI Protocol draft specifications available at

You can also see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

150629 : Configuring and Testing a PERL Script with Internet Information Server (IIS)


238788 How to Debug CGI Applications Running Under IIS