- Exchange Server 2003, SP2
- Windows 2000, 2003 Server
When attempting to install Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) you receive the following error message:
The installation halts at a retry prompt or aborts and continues the installation normally.
Microsoft basically screwed up in their version number catching during scripting and testing of the SP. If you have followed my Windows patching guides on HPC:Factor, your Exchange 2003 SP2 install will by default experience this issue; not because I screwed up, but because Microsoft clearly don’t think any of you ever update anything other than the half-hearted list generated by Windows Update.
Credit for the time on this one goes without me stealing the lime-light to the ‘SBS Diva‘, but her explanation for the issue is incorrect. The issue isn’t Shavlik’s, it’s Microsoft’s.
After a little digging, I discovered that the Exchange 2003 RTM shipped with MSXML Core Service 3.0 SP2. This is understandable, as Windows 2000 SP3/SP4 with Internet Explorer 5.01 SP3/SP4 lacks this module (Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 ships with SP3). However, Service Pack 2 for Exchange Server ships with MSXML Core Service SP5, Service Pack 7 (SP7) was released a month later.
The Exchange SP Installer is simply expecting to find a lower version of MSXML for the Exchange ActiveSync system (SP2/3/4). If it encounters the same or higher version, the installer errors out believing the installation to have erroneously failed, when in reality it was just badly written.
Just as stated by SBS Diva, if you purge the version check (which is done against the Windows Installer versioning, not the file version) backup and then delete the key for MSXML 3.
There is no MSXML 3.0 SP6.
Vignette 1: If you do perform a visual search of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products, ensure that you are not deleting MSXML 4.0, 5.0 or 6.0 related entries. It is also possible for MSXML 2.x to be installed on the system (though unlikely unless your install is as old as Windows 2000 itself)
Vignette 2: The Exchange SP2 installer is going to leave the system *thinking* that it has SP5 installed on it. If you started on SP5, fine, but if you were on SP7, you should put the hive back again or reinstall SP7. For SP5 users, I recommend installing SP7 after Exchange is up and running. The Exchange SP installation process does not devolve the MXSML level back to SP5.