Strange unhandled exception from asp.net application – Validation of viewstate MAC failed

asp.netexception

I don't know if anyone has seen this issue before but I'm just stumped. Here's the unhandled exception message that my error page is capturing.

Error Message: Validation of
viewstate MAC failed. If this
application is hosted by a Web Farm or
cluster, ensure that configuration
specifies the same validationKey and
validation algorithm. AutoGenerate
cannot be used in a cluster.

Stack Trace: at
System.Web.UI.ViewStateException.ThrowError(Exception
inner, String persistedState, String
errorPageMessage, Boolean
macValidationError) at
System.Web.UI.ObjectStateFormatter.Deserialize(String
inputString) at
System.Web.UI.ObjectStateFormatter.System.Web.UI.IStateFormatter.Deserialize(String
serializedState) at
System.Web.UI.Util.DeserializeWithAssert(IStateFormatter
formatter, String serializedState) at
System.Web.UI.HiddenFieldPageStatePersister.Load()
at
System.Web.UI.Page.LoadPageStateFromPersistenceMedium()
at System.Web.UI.Page.LoadAllState()
at
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean
includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean
includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) at
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequest(Boolean
includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean
includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) at
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequest()
at
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestWithNoAssert(HttpContext
context) at
System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequest(HttpContext
context) at
ASP.generic_aspx.ProcessRequest(HttpContext
context) at
System.Web.HttpApplication.CallHandlerExecutionStep.System.Web.HttpApplication.IExecutionStep.Execute()
at
System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStep(IExecutionStep
step, Boolean& completedSynchronously)

Source: System.Web

Anybody have any ideas on how I could resolve this? Thanks.

Best Solution

I seem to recall that this error can occur if you click a button/link etc before the page has fully loaded.

If this is the case, the error is caused by an ASP.net 2.0 feature called Event Validation. This is a security feature that ensures that postback actions only come from events allowed and created by the server to help prevent spoofed postbacks. This feature is implemented by having controls register valid events when they render (as in, during their actual Render() methods). The end result is that at the bottom of your rendered form tag, you'll see something like this:

<input type="hidden" name="__EVENTVALIDATION" id="__EVENTVALIDATION"  value="AEBnx7v.........tS" />

When a postback occurs, ASP.net uses the values stored in this hidden field to ensure that the button you clicked invokes a valid event. If it's not valid, you get the exception that you've been seeing.

The problem you're seeing happens specifically when you postback before the EventValidation field has been rendered. If EventValidation is enabled (which it is, by default), but ASP.net doesn't see the hidden field when you postback, you also get the exception. If you submit a form before it has been entirely rendered, then chances are the EventValidation field has not yet been rendered, and thus ASP.net cannot validate your click.

One work around is of course to just disable event validation, but you have to be aware of the security implications. Alternatively, just never post back before the form has finished rendering. Of course, that's hard to tell your users, but perhaps you could disable the UI until the form has rendered?

from http://forums.asp.net/p/955145/1173230.aspx