Getting Live Communication Server 2005 up and working; and my call to Microsoft Support.

Colin Harford (Edmonton, Alberta, IT Pro)

An IT Pro's call to PSS

During the Edmonton stop of the IO Tour I met Colin Harford, a member of the Edmonton User Group executive, and he was asking Bruce and myself about an issue he was having with Live Communications Server.  As we were both stumped, Colin decided to call Microsoft Product Support Services and write about his experience dealing with PSS.


One of the projects in the office I had been tasked with was to look for a possible solution for tracking when employees are in the office.  I had also been looking at a solution for instant messaging. Live Communication Server (LCS) came up as a possible solution to solve both of the issues; on top of it, it would integrate with Active Directory.  Myself and a co-worker set about to get LCS up and working to fully evaluate the functionality of the program.


I have a Technet Plus subscription so for testing purposes installed the un-time bombed version of Windows Server 2003 and LCS 2005 Enterprise on Virtual Server 2003 R2 (which is free).  Followed through the setup, which for those looking at trying LCS isn’t a simple click through install; and pointed the backend to my SQL 2005 server.  Ran into some issues with the DB setup, checking on a search engine with the error message and didn’t find a solution but we found that a number of people that also had the issue.  Turned out that for whatever reason, the setup failed to find the running SQL services.  Turned off the SQL services for the setup and got a new error about the pool already existing.  After some more testing, ran a full backup of AD, and loaded up ADSIEdit (this is not something for the faint of heart) and deleted all the LCS information out of AD.  Started setup again, with the SQL services stopped, and setup succeeded.


Next I installed Office Communicator on my Vista workstation, configured and tried to connect.  Sure enough, things didn’t work so we downloaded and printed out the install documentation, trying to find if there was something that was missing in the setup.  We couldn’t find anything in the documentation that would lead to any issues with the connecting to the server.  Then we checked on the search engine of my choice, to see if there was anything about it; in the search came up with the recommendation to run LCSDiag in the LCS Resource Kit to get more info, so downloaded and installed the LCS Resource Kit, on the machine.  Ran all the LCSDiag tests, and everything passed, except for the Client Test.  It kept coming back up with a 401 unauthorized, then a Kerberos auth, and then a 503 temporary failure.  


During this entire adventure, Bruce, Jeff and Rodney came here to start the Technet Infrastructure Tour, so after the User Group event, asked them about it, and they didn’t have any solutions.


After we checked the news groups and search engines and saw plenty of posts about this being caused by the domain name, and the email address not matching.  In this case the domain and email address matched, so this couldn’t be it.  I was starting to loose my wits with things, and posted the question to the Technet Managed Newsgroups.  Heard back suggesting to install KB922228, we called in to MS Support to get the KB.  Installed it and things still were not working.  Enough, was enough, we decided to call MS Support, and use one my two complimentary support calls to get this resolved properly.


Called in and spoke to a very helpful person in support named Krishna.  We ended up going through things for a number of hours before he was able to resolve it.  It turned out that a different hotfix had to be installed on the SQL server.  Office Communicator was able to login and so we were starting to make some real progress.  The support person was very helpful and thorough, and during the troubleshooting noticed that the message archive wasn’t working right.  So, he spent another couple hours working with that, trying to fix that, and during part of it discovered an install issue, that there is a KB article for, and another issue that the archive service doesn’t want to work correctly on x64.  Once all that was resolved, things seemed to be working, and in finishing up the support call, he gave me back my support call, as the original issue was resolved with a hotfix.  At that point he offered to send me some very useful information on some things that we discussed and other information about getting LCS up and running.


As usual, the trained professionals in MS Support were able to resolve the issue, and help out with a lot more. In closing, MS Support is very helpful to, and if your not already part of a User Group, join up, there is a wealth of knowledge.  A Technet Plus Subscription is very handy to have, not just for the 2 support calls a year, there is always the beta’s, and non time restricted trial software as well.  This particular call probably saved me a good part of a week of troubleshooting.


Colin Harford is a computer professional with a wide range of experience; working with computers for more years than he would often like to admit. His focus is on system administration, primarily involving AD and Exchange. Colin was also involved in the creation of two user groups.

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