ColdFusion 2016 service error: The system cannot find the file specified.

A few days ago when we were creating images of our servers in AWS, we faced the ColdFusion issue. After the server restart, ColdFusion service was not running. The same error occurred on the servers with ColdFusion 2016 and ColdFusion 10 installed. When trying to start service manually we got an error:

The ColdFusion 2016 Application Server service terminated with the following service-specific error: The system cannot find the file specified.

The same error we found in Event Viewer -> Windows Logs -> Application logs – no further explanation, just the error telling that file was not found. We also tried to run ColdFusion manually from the command line. Few seconds after execution of ColdFusion.exe we ended up in the shell with no error message at all.

A bit of history – where did this all come from?

In September 2017 Adobe released Update 5 to the ColdFusion 2016. In the comments to this update, they stated clearly that Java JDK/JRE has to be updated to the version of 8u121 or higher. We installed newest Java JRE in the separate directory and we switched ColdFusion Java Virtual Machine Path to the new Java directory (CF Administrator -> Java and JVM):

Everything was working fine for few months. Recently, however, Java update was installed and things went wrong.

My server is not working! Help!

“The system cannot find the file specified.” was not very helpful. We were digging in the logs for some time, we also considered backup restoration. Finally, we noticed that there is no Java in the directory we used before. The new version of Java is now installed in the different directory. The quickest solution to this issue is to adjust Java configuration in ColdFusion – the problem is that you are not able to do this in ColdFusion Admin – it is not working when the service is down.

Fortunately, as most of the things in ColdFusion, this can be adjusted via the configuration file. You will find it here:

{ColdFusion installation directory}/cfusion/bin/jvm.config

In this configuration file you will find the following line:


Simply adjust it using the proper location of your current Java installation and start the service. You should be good to go.

What’s next?

You might notice that this is not the permanent solution to the problem. After next Java update, you may end up with exactly the same problem. On our end, we turned off automatic Java updates because one way or another we have update notification in place and updates are applied on regular basis. This way we will know that we should pay attention to the Java installation directory during the next update.

6 Replies to “ColdFusion 2016 service error: The system cannot find the file specified.”

  1. Thank you for posting this. Ran into this issue this morning in my local dev environment and it helped me get back up and running quickly.

  2. I actually encountered this error as I’m setting up a Coldfusion 2018 instance that will be replacing a very old Coldfusion 10 instance. I exported my administrator settings from 10 and imported to 2018. Everything seemed to be working fine but then I got this error on a restart. Your post led me to look into where coldfusion was looking for java and somehow the java.home pointer was pointing at a Coldfusion10 folder!

    thanks very much for saving me some work!

    1. I’m glad that this also helped in such circumstances. Thank you for your insight!

  3. Thanks! This solved our mystery for the same issue on our development server. Saved our day.

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