Installing the Windows prerequisites on Windows Server 2008 is a bit more involved than on Windows 2003. On Windows 2003, we installed IIS, MMC 3.0, the .Net framework, and PowerShell. The list of prereqs for Windows 2008 is longer, and is complicated by different needs for different roles.
The Exchange product group has posted a detailed list of Windows Server 2008 commands that can be manually run on a server at “How to Install Exchange 2007 SP1 Prerequisites on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista“.
However, this can be a tedious task. Fortunately, those geniuses in Building 34 have come up with a better way of getting the prerequisites installed. Let’s get started.
Streamlining the installation of prerequisites
Download the XML files from the product group’s blog site. Once downloaded, extract the files from the .zip file. You should end up with the following XML files:
- Exchange-Base.xml – used to install prerequisites for all roles
- Exchange-MBX.xml – used for the Mailbox Server role
- Exchange-CAS.xml – used for the Client Access Server role
- Exchange-Edge.xml – used for the Edge Transport role
- Exchange-UM.xml – used for the Unified Messaging role
- Exchange-ClusMBX.xml – used to install the requirements for clustered mailbox servers. Identical to Exchange-MBX.xml but also adds failover clustering.
Open a command prompt, and navigate to the folder where the extracted XML files reside.
At this point, install the general prerequisites that are needed for all Exchange Server roles. This is accomplished by running the Windows Server 2008 command ServerManagerCmd with the –ip switch, short for InputPath, and specifying the appropriate XML file. For the base prerequisites, it’s ServerManagerCmd -ip Exchange-Base.xml
Figure 1: ServerManagerCmd -ip Exchange-Base.xml
As can be seen in Figure 1, the command skips any prerequisite that are already installed, in this example, the Active Directory Domain Services Tools. After this finishes, you MUST reboot the server. Attempting to run further commands will fail until the server is rebooted. In addition to the prompt to reboot, and the successful installation of the components, an event 1631 is logged to the setup event log as seen in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: Event 1631
Once the server has rebooted, continue with the appropriate XML files for the role you’re installing. For a non-clustered mailbox server, use the Exchange-MBX.xml file as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3: ServerManagerCmd -ip Exchange-MBX.xml
For a Client Access Server, use the Exchange-CAS.xml file as seen in Figure 4 below.
Figure 4: ServerManagerCmd -ip Exchange-CAS.xml
The Hub Transport role doesn’t require anything other than what’s included in the Exchange-Base.xml file. If you’re going to put the Mailbox, Client Access, and Hub Transport roles on the same server, such as in a single server environment, you’ll need to run all three commands shown above.
Once all of the XML files have been imported, verify the installation of the prerequisites by showing what’s installed. This can be done one of three ways. The first is to run ServerManagerCMD using the –q switch (short for query), which will show all installed roles and features, as seen in Figure 5 below.
Figure 5: ServerManagerCmd –q
The second is to rerun the various XML files, but also specify the –w switch, for WhatIf. The resulting file name will be ServerManagerCmd –w –ip Exchange-MBX.xml
This will show us what would happen if we imported the files again, which isn’t harmful at all. As mentioned earlier, it will list which of the prerequisites need to be installed (if any).
The final way is to check the Setup event log for event 1630 entries. There should be one for each of the XML files, with exception to the previously mentioned 1631 for the Exchange-Base.xml file. An example can be seen in Figure 6 below.
As we can see, installing the prerequisites is now much easier and quicker, and we’re less likely to miss something. From here, we can move on to installing Exchange Server 2007.
About Pat Richard
Pat Richard is a Senior Consulting Engineer for Mimosa Systems. Pat has been working with messaging environments since the MS Mail days, and spends a majority of his time designing and implementing enterprise messaging solutions based around Microsoft Exchange. Complex migrations and implementations, as well as large scale upgrades, are his specialty. Several years ago, he was given the Microsoft MVP award for his contributions to the Exchange community. A published author, Pat continues to be active online, assisting others with Exchange-related issues.
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