A few weeks ago I had one of those days...

I hosed my development environment, so that every time I attempted to create a new ASP.NET web application in VS.NET 2003, I would get the following error message:   The Web server reported the following error when attempting to create or open the Web project located at the following URL: 'http://localhost/WebApplication1'.  'HTTP/1.1 403 Access Forbidden'.

I could create a web project in VS.NET 2002 without any problem (on the same machine).  Another fun note was that if I created the virtual directory first in IIS manager, and create a project in VS 2003 pointing to that vdir it would work.

I looked through the MSDN docs, through the news groups, etc., but couldn't find a way to resolve the issue.

Turns out that I had somehow set my default web site’s Home Directory > Execute Permissions to None.  Once I changed it back to Scripts only, bingo.  VS.NET 2003 was happy.

So if you get a 403 Access Forbidden error message when attempting to create an ASP.NET web app in VS 2003, take a look at your execute permissions...