When Setup fails: Exchange Server 2007 Mailbox Server Role

by Shijaz Abdulla on 28.01.2008 at 20:14

I went ahead to install the mailbox server role on one of the brand new servers commissioned for Exchange Server 2007.

The prerequisite checks went OK, and setup began doing the ‘real stuff’. Happiness was shortlived, because, towards the end setup showed that it failed. The following error was thrown:

An unexpected error has occurred and a Watson dump is being generated: The Exchange server address list service failed to respond. This could be because of an address list or email address policy configuration error. It was running command ‘$error.Clear(); $count=0; $ExchangeServers = Get-ExchangeServer -DomainController $RoleDomainController; foreach($server in $ExchangeServers) { if(($server.AdminDisplayVersion.Build -gt 641) -and ($server.IsMailboxServer -eq $true)) { $count++; } } if( $count -eq 1) { Set-OrganizationConfig -DomainController $RoleDomainController; }’.

I closed the Setup program, and tried to assess what’s been done. I could see that Exchange Management Console and Exchange Management Shell have been installed and that I could open both, but I could not edit the existing address lists or recipient policies from Exchange Management Console.

Upon further investigation, it dawned on me that Exchange Server 2007 does not use LDAP filters for recipient policies! It uses OPATH instead. How to make this change from LDAP to OPATH filters will be discussed in another post, but in order to make this change I need setup to complete successfully, otherwise I get an error that the Address List service is not responding. Now we have a deadlock situation.

We can trick Exchange 2007 setup into believing that the filter is alright by removing parenthesis “(“, “)”and ampersand “&” symbols from the filter. To do this,
  • Navigate to CN=Configuration, CN=Services, CN=Microsoft Exchange, CN=, CN=Recipient Policies
  • You will find all your Exchange 2000/2003 recipient policies here. Open each and find the purportedSearch attribute. Click Edit to open the value. Note the original value of this field and save it in a notepad file. Then hit the Clear button to change the value to (not set).
  • Do the previous step for each recipient policy
  • Re-run Setup. You will find that setup completes successfully!

The next question is, what do I do with the original values of purportedSearch? I put them back as they were before setup, so that I can upgrade the policies to Exchange 2007 later without disturbing the current Exchange 2003 users.

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