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What's the real reason for 'new application failed' ASP error?

I have seen many responses on many sites (including this one) to the question of the "new application failed" error in Active Server Page (ASP) on IIS 5. Almost every answer suggests checking the global.asa file, or, if you don't have the file, simply to restart the application. Nobody ever addresses what the underlying cause could be if you are not using a global.asa file. Simply telling somebody to restart the application does nothing but get them through until the next time it fails. Is there just no answer to this question? Or is it just one of those "general protection fault" type errors that we are supposed to accept with no explanation?
Well, the answer is not an easy one to swallow. You need to clean up the ASP code. Better yet, migrate the code to a more stable environment, such as ASP.NET. ASP 3.0 is great for writing quick scripts, but if you're not careful about how you use variables, your application will crash.

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