Sometimes you can trace the solution to your problem by looking at the concepts behind the technology.

Curing an Exchange Hiccup

Sometimes you can trace the solution to your problem by looking at the concepts behind the technology.

Recently we ran into a hiccup while trying to install Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 and join an existing site. We received this error message in the application event log on the first, or primary, Exchange Server in the site:

Event ID: 1171
Source: MSExchangeDS
Type: Error
Category: Internal Processing
Description: Exception 0xe0010002 has occurred with parameters 9 and 0. Please contact Microsoft Product Support Services for assistance.

TechNet offered no articles citing this specific error message, and Microsoft’s technical support couldn’t help us either. The Microsoft engineers we worked with had no reference to the error message. In an effort to close the incident, they insisted that with Exchange Server version 5.5, Standard Edition, you can have only one server per site.

Of course, we knew this last suggestion was incorrect. The Microsoft Exchange Connector (also known as the Site Connector) that was available separately for version 5.0 was included with the 5.5 release. How could Microsoft’s own support engineers make such a mistake? Their misinformation could have cost our client some $5,000 for an upgrade from Standard Edition to Enterprise Edition. As it was, it cost us several hours of unbillable time to argue with them about their own product. (The only explanation for this is that Microsoft evolved Exchange so quickly, with so many different releases and so many new licensing and bundling changes, its technical staff couldn’t keep up.)

So we figured out the answer to the problem ourselves. When attempting to add an Exchange 5.5 Server to your site, you may experience a directory replication error during installation. The error involves a problem with name resolution. Faulty name resolution can prevent successful installation of a server and the joining of a site. (In our case, the client had two servers and two copies of Exchange Server, Standard Edition.)

How does this happen? By default, TCP/IP is the first protocol in the Server Binding Order. TCP/IP resolves names in the following order:

  1. Using the local HOSTS file.
  2. Using a DNS server.
  3. Looking at the NetBIOS cache.
  4. Using a WINS server.
  5. Broadcasting.
  6. Looking at the local LMHOSTS file.

You can confirm a problematic name resolution by using the standard “ping,” or “RPC” utility from the Exchange Server CD.

From the Windows NT server you were attempting to install Exchange on, ping the primary server in the site, using the server name. If the ping succeeds, note the IP address returned and compare it to the actual IP address of the primary server. This is important! You may have incorrect entries in the HOSTS/LMHOSTS file or a DNS may have incorrect information. If the ping fails, you need to make sure that one of the above name resolution methods is capable of resolving the server name.

From the primary server, ping the NT server that will become the additional Exchange server. If the ping succeeds, compare the IP address returned by the ping utility with the actual IP address of the primary server. It must be the same. After correcting name resolution, ensure you remove all registry keys and files from the aborted installation on the NT server. These encompass the following:

Exchange Services
\CurrentControlSet\Services\<Exchange Service>

Event Log Settings
\Application\<Exchange Service>

Licensing Settings

Detect Previous Installations

Exchange Admin Settings

Delete the EXCHSRVR directory and all the sub-directories under this directory from the hard drive. If you have multiple hard disks on the computer, delete the EXCHSRVR directory from all of them. Don’t forget to rename or delete Exchange Server Setup.log on the system partition.

Now you’ll be able to install Exchange 5.5 and join an existing site. And, yes, you can have multiple 5.5 servers in a site with Standard Edition!

About the Author

René Larivière, MCSE, MCT, CNE, CNE GroupWise, is a systems consultant and trainer through his company, Zentzu, Inc., based in Calgary, Alberta. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing LANs and WANs with Windows NT, Banyan VINES, NetWare, and LAN Manager.

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