Unable to access WSS Web Application (HTTP 403 / HTTP 404)

I have a WSS Web Application that has been up and running without issue for several months.  The only problem that I've had is the inability to use SharePoint Designer since my site uses Forms Authentication.

Yesterday I found a Microsoft TechNet article (Configuring Multpile Authenticaion Providers for SharePoint 2007: http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2006/08/16/702010.aspx) explaining how to setup multiple authentication providers by extending a website for different zones.  I walked through the steps as best I could, extending my current web application, using the same url with a new port assignment and selecting the Extranet zone.  My intention was to have this zone setup with Windows authentication and use this url/port combination with SharePoint Designer.

The configuration failed with the error message "File Not Found".  However, when I returned to the web application list, the extended site did appear in the list.  There was no corresponding site listed in IIS and my attempts to access the site using the specified url/port failed.  As it turned out, I was also unable to access my original site at this point.

So, my next step was to remove the extended web application.  I went into Application Management, Remove..., selected my web application and the zone that I added.  I made sure to NOT select the radio button to remove the site from IIS.

This worked fine but I still cannot access my site.  When I try to navigate to the root url, I receive an HTTP 403 Forbidden error.  If I add "/default.aspx" to the url, I get an HTTP 404 Not Found Error.

Looking at IIS, the website is still setup correctly, with all the same settings as before - and exactly the same as another WSS site I have running on the same box which I can still access just fine.

Checking all of the settings in Central Administration, everything looks fine there too.  The web application is still defined, all of my settings are correct, etc.  But it seems like IIS is not passing control to SharePoint when the request is made or SharePoint is not accepting and handling the request.

I've even gone through and checked the web.config files for both WSS sites and restored a previous back-up with no success.

Ultimately, I went so far as to reinstall ASP.NET 2.0 (both 32 and 64-bit versions, then run the WSS setup again to repair the installation and finally the Configuration Wizard in the hopes that it would reconnect whatever is wrong.  It made no difference.

At this point I am stil able to access all of the other WSS sites I have hosted on the server but still cannot get into the most important one!  This is a community site with dozens of users who have been posting files and other information for months.  I cannot lose all of this.  Does anyone have any idea what I need to do or should look at.  I am desperate!!!!!
SonOfPirateAsked:
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Robbie_LeggettCommented:
Did you make a copy of the web.config files before you started the work? If so, try putting the old web.config back in the correct folder in inetpub.

Let me know the outcome.

Also, have you performed an IIS reset and are there any errors in the server event logs?

:-)
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SonOfPirateAuthor Commented:
Yea, I did restore the web.config from abacked up version.  No change.

I've also restarted IIS, the Application Pool, the Website and even the server with no change.

No events in the Event Log.

Just for S&G, I created a quickie "default.aspx" page and placed it in the root folder of my web app.  I still get a 404 File Not Found error!!!!  Even when I try to browse through IIS on the server itself!

One other thing to note that has my head spinning:  I had a virtual directory which points to another ASP.NET web that is used for user management (with Forms Authentication).  This still works!!!

So, IIS has no problem routing and resolving the request for the virtual directory within my web but isn't finding any pages within the web itself.  Even when I use the explicit http://www.mydomain.com/default.aspx url, it still won't find this page - either the SharePoint page or my quickie page.

Is there something I should be looking for in the web.config file?  I did a comparison between this file and the web.config being used with one of the other WSS sites that are working and found no differences.
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SonOfPirateAuthor Commented:
One more thing...

I added a "default.htm" and made sure this was in the list of default pages.  When I try to browse to "http://www.mydomain.com", I still get the 404 error.  When I browse to "http://www.mydomain.com/default.htm", I get the web page.  I still get the 404 error when I browse to "http://www.mydomain.com/default.aspx".

Sounds like something is wrong with ASP.NET for the site?  I have an ASP.NET tab in IIS and it appears to be okay.
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Robbie_LeggettCommented:
Try running a repair on .net 3.0.

:-)
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SonOfPirateAuthor Commented:
I did just that and am now able to get to the "default.aspx" page.  I deleted my "default.aspx" page and now get my "default.htm" page.  Still no SharePoint.
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Robbie_LeggettCommented:
Why did you delete the default.aspx page?
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SonOfPirateAuthor Commented:
I wanted to see what was happening, e.g. if the explicit default.aspx page was blocking SharePoint from handling the request.  Since default.htm is also in IIS' list of default pages, removing default.aspx caused the default.htm page to render.  Removing both (actually renaming) takes me back to the HTTP 404 File Not Found error.  SharePoint is still not handling the page request.
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SonOfPirateAuthor Commented:
At this point, unless anyone has a clue how I can restore my web application, I am afraid that I need to simply delete the web application and recreate it in Central Admin.  HOWEVER, I need to be able to do this in a way that I will recover ALL of my site's content!!!!  What steps should I follow to do this?
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SonOfPirateAuthor Commented:
Fortunately, I took a chance and move forward on my own.  I wound up deleting the existing web application from my system by removing the SahrePoint extensions, but leaving the content database intact, then deleting the site from IIS.  I then recreated the site and, when extending the web application for SharePoint, I directed it to use the original content database.  This brought my site back up with all of the existing content in place.
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