How does Exchange 2007 setup know to resume a failed setup?

In case that you have a failed Exchange 2007 setup for some reason, you might notice that setup now resumes the previously failed setup rather than start completely over. How does that work? Through registry values called "watermarks".

Watermarks are used to mark points of installation. Setup sets the mark of what server roles are installed halfway through setup as opposed to at the end. This is important because Exchange 2007 setup can be resumed. If there is a setup failure, the setup environment can be changed and then setup can be restarted from the watermark indicator as opposed to starting setup from the beginning.

In addition to the setup log files located in C:\ExchangeSetupLogs, there will be several additional useful files that are based on the component definition files mentioned in the preceding section. These files have the following form:


  • These files will be retained and each install produces a new set depending on the tasks involved.
  • They can also be used to troubleshoot setup failures. If a server role for example the Hub Transport Role failed, look in the Install-HubTransportRole-yyyymmdd-xxxxxxxxx.ps1.

When you open those, you will see that some lines start with something similar to this:

# [ID = fdfe6b1a, Wt = 1, isFatal = False]

Explaining what that means:

ID is the ID of the task being run. This ID can be tied back into the registry watermark such that if setup were to fail, thus leaving behind a watermark, you can do a search of the .PS1 file to determine what task setup failed on. While it is straightforward to see what task setup failed on in the ExchangeSetup.log this will give you a definite idea.

In situations where a server role is "partially" installed or an install has failed, comparisons are made in the registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\v8.0\<name of role>. In this location is a set of registry values that give us a range of values describing the role state:

? Not installed – there will be no sub container for the role.

? Unpacked – The UnpackedVersion value indicates the versions of the files that have been copied during the file copy phase of setup, but no components have been configured.

Note: The "AdminRole" does not have a ConfiguredVersion reg value since it doesn't have configuration.

? Partially configured - Configuration is currently in progress or failed partway though. Typically the presence of a Watermark would indicate a partially configured role. The value for a watermark can be used mapped to an install task in a *.PS1 file located under C:\ExchangeSetupLogs.

? Fully installed (Configured) – The presence of the ConfiguredVersion and UnpackedVersion value indicates a successful install. The value of ConfiguredVersion indicates the version of the product that has been configured.

Note: UnpackedVersion and ConfiguredVersion values must match otherwise Setup will complain.

- Jon Bradley, Nagesh Mahadev

Comments (10)
  1. jim says:

    Do you think I could use this to either uninstall SP1 beta or to trick the real SP1 when it comes out to installing over SP1 beta?

  2. huijun_yang says:

    I was trying to add the ClientAccess role to Exchange 2007. However, got the following error. Anyone knows how to change the mode of IIS from 32-bit to 64 bit?


    D:Exchange2007> /role:ClientAccess /Mode:install

    Welcome to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unattended Setup

    Preparing Exchange Setup

    The following server roles will be installed

      Client Access Role

    Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

      Client Access Role Checks        ……………………. FAILED

       The Microsoft Internet Information Service is in 32-bit mode and this is a

    64-bit computer. The mode must be changed before Setup can continue.

    The Exchange Server setup operation did not complete. Visit http://support.micro and enter the Error ID to find more information.

    Exchange Server setup encountered an error.

  3. Nathan says:

    How do you restart a partial install?  My setup errored at the last step of setting up the Active node in CCR.  Typo in my dns record.  It tells me to retry the install, however when I open the setup.exe all the roles are grayed out.  What do I do to resume?

  4. Exchange says:


    Go to Add/Remove and look for Exchange 2007 there. There are two buttons there.

    If the Modify action shows that the Mailbox role is installed (grayed out) – then go to the Remove action and uncheck the Mailbox role, remove it and then again run Setup to install Mailbox again. Depending on exactly in which stage Setup failed, you might have to remove the role to install it again as it shows installed already.

  5. Greg Barwis says:

    How do you remove an installation if the Add/Remove Programs applet won’t do it?  I am trying to remove an Edge Transport Role (after I have renamed the host computer and its workgroup), and the "Remove" feature within Add/Remove Programs ultimately tells me that I can only do this on a Hub or Edge Transport Server… but I can’t reinstall the Edge Transport Server because setup tells me that it’s already installed.  Can’t reinstall it, can’t remove it.  What happens if I just delete the EdgeTransportRole collection under HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftExchangev8.0 ?

  6. Jon Bradley says:

    I would format the box myself. if you do not want to do that for some reason. you could try an untested unsupported method of deleting keys from the registry but first save off any Edge data you might need

    remove the following registry keys:

    Under HKEY_LOCAL_MachineSystemCurrentControlSet delete the following:

    All MSExchange* keys




    Delete the HKEY_LOCAL_MachineSoftwareMicrosoftExchange Key

    Delete All Exchange Binaries, by default the binaries are installed here:

    C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange Server

    Reboot reinstall Edge

  7. Greg Barwis says:

    As a followup, thanks Jon, this worked like a charm.  After this I was at least able to install and uninstall the product; after a few sessions, with each consecutive install and uninstall getting further along in the process, I successfully installed the Edge Server, and it’s now happily servicing our domain.

  8. patelbg2001 says:

    Has anyone encountered and resolved this error

    Mailbox Role Checks              ……………………. FAILED

    Setup cannot continue with upgrade because ‘D:Program FilesMicrosoftExch

    ange ServerbinExchHelp.chm’ is open. Close the file and restart setup.

    My SP1 setup failed, everytime I try and upgrade the server it fails with the above message

  9. patelbg2001 says:

    RESOLVED /mode:upgrade

    Mailbox Role Checks              ……………………. FAILED

    Setup cannot continue with upgrade because ‘D:Program FilesMicrosoftExch

    ange ServerbinExchHelp.chm’ is open. Close the file and re-run /mode:upgrade

    Copy file ExchHelp.chm into your bin directory and re-run /mode:upgrade




  10. Exchange says:


    Was the CHM not there already or did you take the SP1 CHM and overwrote the RTM CHM and then setup went through?

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