Properly Handling an EBS 2008 Setup Failure

[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Shawn Sullivan]

If EBS setup encounters a fatal error and cannot continue, you will be presented with the following window once you cancel:


Figure 1: Installation not finished

Note the warning: Do not manually delete any objects or settings in Active Directory. The Windows Essential Business Server Installation Wizard handles all of the necessary cleanup tasks for Active Directory objects and settings. By deleting objects and settings yourself, you could unintentionally damage the Active Directory environment required by Windows Essential Business Server.

Configuration information for your EBS environment is written to and read from the MMSConfiguration container in Active Directory, including the status of each server setup. EBS setup uses this information to determine if you are running as a clean install, as a recovery from a failed setup, or as a replacement mode install.

If setup encounters a fatal error, you will be required to fix the root cause of the failure, format the machine, and reinstall. After the domain join portion, all of the proper cleanup steps will be performed automatically before proceeding.


Figure 2: Clean up an incomplete installation

If you have not followed the instructions and decide to manually perform cleanup steps after setup fails, like running dcpromo and removing computer objects in Active Directory, you will cause a condition during domain join where EBS setup is expecting to find the computer object in Active Directory that doesn’t exist. This will result in the following errors:


Figure 3: Domain Join Error: Setup failed to find the server : <> in Active Directory.


Figure 4: The DNS query for <> did not complete, because a DNS server could not be contacted

If you are in this situation, you can restore the computer object using ADRestore from Sysinternals:

Launch ADRestore from the Management server with the following syntax:

Adrestore –r <MessagingServerName>

For example:


Figure 4: Restoring the computer object

At this point, you must format and reinstall the failed server and allow EBS setup to perform the proper cleanup steps.

Comments (10)

  1. Anonymous says:

    [Today&#8217;s post comes to us courtesy of Shawn Sullivan and Mark Stanfill] When installing Microsoft

  2. Anonymous says:

    [Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Kunal Ghotge and Mark Stanfill] EBS setup disables all network

  3. Anonymous says:

    Installed EBS 2008 premium – updated a 2003 AD domain. Everything appeared to be okay but now the security server cannot contact the management server and can’t do updates.. What joy.  can I reinstall the security server, format drive or not?



  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m in a similar position to Jeff above. Only stumbled on this post after obviously mismanaging my setup and ending in a serious error…is there any way to remove all trace of previous installations and status in order to start again?

  5. thillerbrand says:


    I get a fatal error (EBS Setup  not responding) every time I try to install, the log says that the CA TASK failed! What can I do?



  6. Anonymous says:

    I also got the message asking for help removing the temporary name form DNS, I’m guessing that’s because I put in the new servers address as my preferred DNS because I thought that’s what it was asking for and still haven’t found documentation saying otherwise, but it just reasons given the problems.  Anyway, since then I have restarted, reloaded, rerun the prep and planning wizard, reloaded again, and still am getting the figure 4 error above.  I really need to get this done.  Please respond asap.  A way of completely wiping all traces of installation would be great.

  7. s.sullivan1 says:


    I’d like to help you if you are in a failed install.  Please contact me offline at markstan [at] microsoft dot com and I’ll be happy to see if we can’t fix your issue.

    For what it’s worth, the installer works very well in production.  The reason we wrote this blog was to help people from getting in to a situation where they did extra work that prevented the installer from working like it was designed.

    Hope this helps,

    Mark Stanfill

  8. Jeff25 says:

    Yeah, well. What if I *didn’t* ignore your advice? But the setup left the machine in AD with its "generic" name (e.g., WIN-B5EBY2U…) but the "uninstaller" is looking for the name that it was _supposed_ to change the computer to.

    To have the installer simply refuse to proceed because it can’t remove the old name when it is the source of the problem smacks of dev arrogance. The installer screwed up (kept saying it couldn’t register with DNS but this is a dead simple setup). I suspect the REAL problem was duing setup, when it complained it couldn’t add WIN-B5EBY2U… to DNS (and asked for "help" doing so) it really meant to add MgmtServer (our name for it). Perhaps if I’d guessed that I would not have had to cancel the install. But tehre was no hint whatsoever that’s what it confused itself about… UNTIL the cleanup routine completely failed to find MgmtServer. Maybe that’s because the AD and DNS name it registered for itself was WIN-B5EBY2U… not MgmtServer. Regardless I’m left with a hosed AD and an installer that’s just WAY to smart for its own good!

    Stop trying to completely outsmart your customers until you ACTUALLY ARE!!!!

  9. Drew Shapter says:

    I’m having a problem which is the other side of this – I can’t get my security server to join the domain because it already exists – I have removed it from the AD as requested by the setup – but still I can’t get it to rejoin the domain I get this error:


    Cereberus is connected to the network.  The server cannot be replaced if it is connected.  To continue, disconnect Cereberus then press Join Domain.

    Can you help?

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