Installing Exchange System Manager on Windows XP – Part II

So there was already a great BLOG entry on this by Carol Swales What does it take to install admin only? and you are probably wondering "for cryin’ out loud, really how many entries do you need for installing ESM by itself on a workstation!"  You really only need one, I promise, but there is a corner case scenario that needs some additional explaining.

To explain it simply, if the following steps are taken as an upgrade path from XP SP1 to XP SP2, Exchange SMTP administration will be broken with the following error: "No Such Interface Supported".

1.      Install XP SP1

2.      Install IIS Snap-in (in Add/Remove Programs)

3.      Install XP SP2

4.      Install the Windows Server 2003 AdminPak

5.      Install Exchange System Manager Admin Only


1.      Install XP SP1

2.      Install IIS Snap-in (in Add/Remove Programs)

3.      Install the Windows Server 2003 AdminPak

4.      Install XP SP2

5.      Install Exchange System Manager Admin Only

The reason your SMTP administration breaks is simple; you don’t have the SMTP snap-in installed.  If you’ll remember from Carol’s post she explains that on XP SP2 all you have to do is install the IIS snap-in, admin pack, and then ESM because in XP SP2 the IIS snap-in also installs the SMTP snap-in.  This is all true and good, however, if you’ve already installed the IIS snap-in PREVIOUS to installing XP SP2 you don’t get that groovy SMTP snap-in.  See, XP SP1 does not install the SMTP snap-in when you install the IIS snap-in.  However, this gets even stickier, our Exchange 2003 ESM Only setup knows you are on XP SP2 and says "hey they have the IIS snap-in installed, we know the SMTP snap-in installs with it, life is good".  Which of course, life is not.  We tried working with the IIS team to fix this and really, without going into a 20 page story about the Windows add/remove component and because Exchange 2003 setup had already shipped (you can’t fix setup in a service pack once we’ve shipped it) we were stuck with this behavior during this type of upgrade path.

Have no fear; there is a way to fix this.  You must re-install the IIS Snap-in and thus the IIS services which results in the SMTP Snap-In being installed (DLLs being registered).


If you have other services in IIS you are using and you can’t do a reinstall you can manually register the following DLLs:




- Amanda Langowski

Comments (13)
  1. Jesse Snipper says:

    I would like to know how to upgrade my XP SP1 admin install to E2k3 SP1…XP SP2 isn’t even released so this advanced warning is great, but this is the first time I have been unable to apply an exchange service pack to my mangement tools running on my admin desktop. What happened?

  2. I have the same question. I posted this a while back, but haven’t heard anything. I am also unable to install Exchange 2K3 SP1 on my XP SP1 workstation with Exchange 2003 admin tools installed.

  3. Amanda Langowski says:

    What is the problem that you are setting when you try to upgrade?

  4. Olivier MATROT says:

    What about installing Outlook on the same machine ? Sure there will be MAPI problems…

  5. There will indeed be MAPI problems if Outlook is installed on the same machine as the System Manager. This is why installing both on the same machine is not supported.

    See (among others):;en-us;q266418;en-us;Q313889

  6. If I run the SP1 installer andI try and select Update for the top level action, it gives me an error saying that you can’t install Exchange on XP. Even though I only want to select update for the admin tools component. But if you try and select update for the admin tools component it says you have to select an action at the parent level.

    As far as an issue with Outlook and System Manager on the same machine, can you give an example of what kind of problems it would cause? I’ve been running in that configuration and haven’t ever noticed anything that wasn’t working normally. I’ve encountered the SP1 install problem on a clean workstation without Outlook as well, so I know it can’t be blamed on an Outlook/Exchange conflicts.

  7. Bernd Kruczek says:

    Isn’t there any workaround for that Outlook and ESM issue? Usually an admin has ESM on the workstation, he does his daily work with, including mailing, so Outlook is on that machine installed. And it makes no sense to set up an additional "clean" workstation for admin tasks.

  8. Looks like I spoke too soon. I tried installing the admin tools again on a clean workstation, and this time the SP1 install ran correctly. Looks like something on my machine is throwing off the updater.

    I agree with Bernd, having to run a second machine for Exchange admin or a Virtual PC session is not something I want to have to do for every person who might need to admin Exchange. I prefer they do it from a workstation to limit logons to the actual mail server itself.

    The KB seems to talk just about problems with custom MAPI providers. If you don’t use any custom MAPI providers, is it a problem if Outlook uses its DLL and System Tools use its own? From the way the article is written, it wouldn’t seem to be a problem in that situation.

  9. jesse says:

    I would also like to add my frustration at this limitation. I have jr. staff that create accounts for new users, they have only 1 PC and don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated "admin" workstation. It is unrealistic these days to expect everyone in the company to have access to the mail servers (which have become SO business critical that many and IT professional’s job depends on it) or even just everyone in the IT dept. Personally, I only allow experienced network administrators with Exchange experience onto my company’s Exchange servers. There have been work-arounds for this issue in the past as I have been running outlook and ESM on the same machine for 3 years now, hopefully they’ll be one again.

  10. Amanda Langowski says:

    Jesse, can you give me some information on the error you are seeing? This should work

    Outlook & ESM on same box –> There is no workaround currently, and it is a very common concern. Going forward we are working to address this issue, as like you’ve all stated it only makes sense that you would want to be able to install this on your workstation, which of course includes Outlook.

  11. Well, after reading the Griffin article which actually says what might happen if you run this combo, I think I will keep running System Manager on my desktop for the time being. I’ve been doing so with Exchange 2003 System Manager and Outlook for the past year, and have yet to have any of the problems indicated in the note. Maybe memory leaks, but I restart my machine for other reasons often enough, so no problem there.

    I think MS should use Griffin’s post for the KB article instead of what they have now. It actually explained what the problem is and what bad things can happen.

  12. jesse says:

    First off, the installer for SP1 seems to think I have more than just the management tools installed becuase there is a check box next to the "Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Collaboration Services" row. So the first error I get when I select "update" is that I can not install this product on Windows XP. The next part of the error says I need to have NNTP installed and the final bullet item on the list of errors is "you must have Exchange Server 2003 installed on this machine before installing this Microsoft Exchange Server Service Pack."

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