Exchange 2007 SP2 Setup fails if all domain controllers are running Windows Server 2008 R2

EDIT 9/16/2009: We have now published fixes for this problem and have an updated blog post about it. Please go here to read the updated information.

We have learned of and analyzed the problem where the Exchange 2007 SP2 installation can fail during the prerequisite check stage. The installation can fail for both the upgrade or for new installation of Exchange 2007 SP2.

In the Exchange Setup log you can see that setup is failing with the following error:

[ERROR] Cannot find at least one domain controller running Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 or later in domain 'DC=DCName,DC=com,DC=DCName'. This could be the result of moving domain controller objects in Active Directory. Check that at least one domain controller running Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 or later is located in the 'Domain Controllers' organizational unit (OU) and rerun setup.

This can happen in the following scenarios:

  • You are installing or upgrading to Exchange 2007 SP2 in an Active Directory forest that has only Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controllers


  • You are installing or upgrading the Exchange 2007 SP2 in an Active Directory forest that has windows server 2008 R2 Domain Controllers as well Windows Server 2003 domain controllers that are not updated to at least Windows Server 2003 SP1.


  • You are installing or upgrading to Exchange 2007 SP2 in an Active Directory forest that has multiple domains with Windows 2003 SP1/SP2 domain controllers, but the forest root domain has only Windows Server 2008 R2 Domain Controllers.

What are we going to do

Windows Server 2008 R2 is not widely available yet. Once Windows Server 2008 R2 is widely available, Exchange team will release a web update for the Exchange server 2007 SP2 Setup prerequisite XML files, which will add Windows Server 2008 R2 as a supported Active Directory Domain Controller. Until then, please bring up a domain controller that either has Windows Server W2003 SP1+ or Windows Server 2008 installed in your labs where you are testing Windows Server 2008 R2.

We will post more information about the fix when it becomes available.

- Nasir Ali
(Exchange Escalation Engineer)

Comments (32)
  1. Mark King says:

    Spent hours on the phone with PSS Sunday for this issue after finding out the root cause of this and trying to get the updated files.  I have them if anyone is interested, visit <link removed> and request them.  

  2. Exchange says:

    Mark – I removed your link from the comment. If a specific fix was shared with you, we feel it is not safe to share it with everyone else on a 3rd party site, so the link was removed.

  3. Mark King says:

    I understand your concern but your team should reconsider the availability of this fix…  This was an oversight and there are people in the community (TechNet) that need this fix.  I was one of the lucky ones being a partner with free incidents able to get this resolved.  Server 2008 R2 is generally available and we were waiting on this release to upgrade our DCs, so not only was my demo environment affected but our production environment as well.  

  4. bill says:

    Not widely available yet?  Ok…

  5. ML49448 says:

    Yes, I’m glad I saw this before I finished upgrading!

    It’s not possible to put a 2003 or 2008 DC in place if you raise the domain and forest functional levels!  As soon as I was done upgraded that was on my list of things to do.

  6. Bryant Fong says:

    No LOVE for the Exchange Team and SP2.  Please share link with us Peons.

  7. jesse says:

    Not widely available yet?!?  Not only is Server 2008 R2 WIDELY available it’s already being shipped as the standard OS from Dell and other vendors.  As my company has just opened for buisness the only server operating system we own is Server 2008 R2.  

    I can accept some 3rd party vendors not yet supporting Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, but it is not acceptable for the Exchange Team to not be providing fixes and support for an operating system that they should have been testing against for these issues up to a year ago.  Last time I checked Exchange was a Microsoft product…  Server 2008 R2 was a Mircrosoft product…  

  8. Edwards Chen says:

    Hi Nasir,

    As E12 SP2 can not be uninstalled after applied, is it possible to publish some information regarding how to integrate into Exchange Server 2007 RTM source media as SP2 is slip-stream service pack?

    so far I didnot find any switches in to achieve this.

    Thank you in advance.

    Edwards Chen

  9. EdwardsChen says:

    Hi Nasir,

    I have successfully upgrade E12 SP1+Post-SP1 Rollup Update 9 over Windows Server 2008 SP2 to E12 SP2, while DCs/GCs are running Windows Server 2008 SP2 as well, along with the forest/domain fucntion level is Windows Server 2008.

    Based on this scenario, the apply process is straight forward, while somehow a long wait time during remove exchange files period.

    BTW, I want to know what will happen if for any reason, apply SP2 failure occurred during the whole process, will it revert back automatically. -As after start, you can no longer intervention anything and can not cancel.

    Best Regards

    Edwards Chen

  10. Matt says:

    here’s a quick fix for you Jesse – just don’t install SP2.

  11. Paul Loonen says:

    You can actually revert forest and domain functional mode. At least if you didn’t enable recycle bin. You can use the following powershell commands to do so (substituting what you need to substitute):

    Set-AdForestMode -identity -server -forestmode Windows2008Forest

    Set-AdDomainMode -identity -server -forestmode Windows2008Domain

    After that you can of course introduce a Win2k8 DC in the environment.

    (with thanks to the "Ask the Directory Services Team" elsewhere on the net)

  12. Chris says:

    Another quick fix for this is to briefly edit a domain controller record in AD with ADSI Edit an change the operatingsystem value to 6.0, run the update/install and then set it back. This worked fine for me, although why MS are waiting to release a valid ExBPA prereq file is beyond me!

  13. Maca1 says:


    1) i hope e2k7 with sp2 will be realeased soon, so can we install e2k7 with sp2 on w2k8 r2?

    2) there is absolutely no way to install e2k7 with sp1 into the environment with w2k8 r2 servers only, right?

  14. cplusfwb says:

    How feeble.  I would have hoped MS would have tested this before releasing it!

  15. Stefan says:

    the problem is not knew I already adressed this in June but MS doesn’t listen:

  16. Goran Topalovic says:

    Just wanted to thank Mark for sharing.

  17. samara lynn says:

    This is pretty unbelievable. I am a technology reviewer for Channelweb. I will try and get some more information from my contacts at Microsoft’s PR firm. In the meantime, we have posted a blog about this issue on

    Feel free to comment on the channelweb community.

  18. samara lynn says:

    Thanks Goran, that was a typo… should have been SP2.

  19. Nasir Ali says:

    Hi Edwards,

    Exchange 2007 SP2 is a full re-release of Exchange 2007 with SP2 already integrated. This is similar to the service pack slipstreaming model used by Windows Server; however, it is not slipstreaming, and you do not need to perform any slipstreaming tasks for Exchange 2007 SP2.

    If the SP2 update fail for any reason during the installation. It will not revert back, In that case I suggest opening a support case with the Customer Service and Support to investigate further on the cause of the  failure. The setup log generally provide good information on the error encountered by the setup.



  20. Nasir Ali says:

    Hi Maca,

    We are working on a web update that will resolve this issue. If you have a immediate need for the updated files , please call the Customer Support and we can provide you a test fix(English Only).

    Once the web update is release it will be picked up by the SP2 setup during the installation, allowing you to install the SP2 on Windows Server 2008 R2.



  21. Peter von Kohl says:

    Hi Exchange Team,

    you’ve been doing a great job for a very long time. So much bigger is the disappointment when not only this happens, but you also fail to post the change log for SP2.

    You’ve got a great product and a huge fan crowd. Don’t make us nervous – keep us informed on the details. Explain what happened and what you’re doing to fix it.

    Looking forward to v14.



  22. EdwardsChen says:

    Hi Nasir,

    Yes, although not clarified directly by MS, atually even full-release Exchange Server 2007 with SP2 can not be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2- it is stated that "this computer is running Windows Server 2008 R2, while Exchange Server 2007 doestnot support Windows Server 2008 R2." -however, it makes customer really deep depressed and confused.

    This also apply if run to prepare AD DS for schema and/or r r Exchange organization, the error message is the same.

    When talking about application compatibility topic, is sounds like not good news for Exchange team guys. – I always think smarter enough and innovative as well to meet expectation on demand.

    Is it possible to give out official announcement about this issue, and whether there is any possibility to get supported in the future?

    Best Regards

    Edwards Chen

  23. AllenSar says:

    Hi Exchange Team,

    I am an EA client and had some problems with my Exchange R2 on Windows 2008 SP2. On logging fault to Customer Support was advised to upgrade to Windows 2008 R2 and Exchange 2007 SP2, checked with them if there were compatibility issues and was advised there is none. Only during Exchange  installation do we get the compatibility issue.

    Obviously in searching for the fix I come across this shocking news that there is no fix as yet. When is this going to be availed, time is of essence, surely by now this shouldhave been resolved since the products are now on the market.

  24. MikeCook says:

    This is unbelievable, I’ve blown away all this time to just to learn  that once again MS has released a critical product with defects. I wish I could bill them for my time, I can’t bill my client!

    Thanks for the info.

  25. David De Vos says:

    I’m so confused …

    I thought Windows 7 / windows 2008 R2 was all about being compatible.  Now it seems none of the major Microsoft products (SQL w/o SP1 slipstreamed, exchange 2007, etc.) are compatible.  

    Let’s hope things get better real soon !

  26. Morpheus00de says:

    @David De Vos

    The problem not base in SRV2k8R2, it base on PowerShell 2.0 that have no down compatibility to 1.0. Exchange since 2007 base on .Net and Powershell scripts ;) this simple fact is the only secret…

  27. tom says:

    What about installing Exchange 2007 SP2 Management Tools on Windows 7 RTM?

  28. Shadock says:

    So have to wait some people have the troubles, wait 6 months minimum then install what MS says you have to install immediately.

    I just waited before upgrading to SP2 win2008 and Xch2007. Hourra !

    Wait and see.

  29. David says:

    Exchange team –

    I am a CIO of an organization that was (until reading this blog) expecting to acquire a significant amount of microsoft product to upgrade our server o/s environment, exchange environment, and SQL environment.  After learning of the incompatabilities stated in this blog with regard to the mentioned product groups, I have decided to stop my organization’s purchasing of microsoft product.  I will certainly explore this issue further with my Microsoft sales team, but I must tell you that your managing director should take a moment to hear what is behind the words of the people commenting in this blog.  What is behind these comments is a growing industry frusteration with Microsoft’s ability to deliver.  In a free market, frustration with a product manufacturer inevitably creates a new market for other manufacturers and their products.  The hard working engineers speaking to you through this blog medium are trying to tell you that they are willing to wait for a season, but that the season is drawing short.  Once a manufacturer loses it’s good-will standing with a market, that good-will can not be bought back easilly.  The allegiance these people are showing towards you is remarkable.  Do not disregard their allegiance to your products.  These engineers, once they feel they have exhausted all their options, they will move on realizing that it is better to have products that interoperate and cost more, than to try and work with products that continually frusterate their efforts.  The same allegiance they are showing towards you, will shift away and become the resiliance apposed to you.

    I certainly hope that Microsoft can,in some fashion, regain their once quality standing with regard to product interoperability and reliability.

  30. Jummiet says:

    Strange… i have my lab setup with Exchange 2007 SP2 running on windows 2008 server and talking to domain controllers purely running on Windows 2008 R2, and i didn’t get any error. My lab is running smoothly or is there something i am missing in all of these discussions.

  31. Robert-C says:

    Wow I am impressed with how bad Microsoft is running their server business. Server 2008 R2 + Sharepoint 2007: EHHH! DENIED! Server 2008 R2 + Exchange 2007: EHHH! DENIED!

    Getting stop install messages with Sharepoint. Required for this install. Not going to happen. Getting Global Caching Server errors with Exchange 2007, again REQUIRED for this install. Not happening either. Microsoft doesn’t have to worry about Lynux/Solaris/Ubuntu taking their market away when Microsoft is freely giving it away! I’d be laughing if I weren’t so ticked off! And people were upset about Vista. HAH! Not impressed Microsoft…

  32. Øyvind says:

    We are migrating to Gmail now.

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