3. January 2008 05:11
I see this problem fairly often... You visit the IIS Manager and the left pane is empty, it was unable to connect to localhost. Further attempts to connect from another machine to configure IIS will also fail.
It appears to be caused by some problem/leak/bug in some of the SharePoint windows services.
A restart of the search and timer services (sometimes I follow with an iisreset) always seems to fix the problem.