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Exch2k7 complete install on Windows Server 2008 R2 Core

This how-to will let you install Exchange 2007 SP1 on a Core-installation of Windows Server 2008 R2. I have reproduced this installation following these steps 4 times now, and it works every time. No support given, no responsibility taken. And calling Microsoft is out of the question since they don’t support this at all. You’ve been warned!

Jump straight to the 36 minute video!

How did I do this?

Well, I spent a few hours running Process Monitor to see what happends behind the scenes. That gave me some clues. Using Dependency Walker I then ran profiling on cdoex.dll to see what it was missing, this gave me the whole list of DLL-files. Once that was done (it took a good 4.5 hours to read the logs and find all the right files, have that in mind when you read this) I just had to figure out the last “Access denied” message for the mailbox-role. That’s the registry key-change and why you can’t run the whole setup in a big bang on Core. I also spent some time trying to get compatibility mode to run on Core since installing in compat mode for Vista SP 1 according to the internet would do the trick. AppCompat doesn’t run on core (no, I won’t fix that).

So, let the fun begin!

What you need:
One DC
One Core-installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 that’s joined to the domain.
You could use CCCR2 for this, you find it under /downloads.
One ISO/DVD of Exchange 2007 SP1

How to do it:

1) Add all the pre-requisites to your Core-box with the help of dism.exe
dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx2-ServerCore /featurename:NetFx3-ServerCore /featurename:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell /featurename:IIS-WebServerRole /featurename:IIS-WebServer /featurename:IIS-ASPNET /featurename:IIS-WebServerManagementTools /featurename:IIS-ManagementScriptingTools /featurename:IIS-ManagementService /featurename:IIS-IIS6ManagementCompatibility /featurename:IIS-Metabase /featurename:IIS-WMICompatibility /featurename:IIS-LegacyScripts /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Web-Services-for-Management-IIS-Extension /featurename:IIS-ISAPIFilter /featurename:IIS-ISAPIExtensions /featurename:IIS-NetFxExtensibility /featurename:IIS-ASPNET /featurename:IIS-HttpTracing /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Web-Services-for-Management-IIS-Extension

2) Gather the following files from a full installation and copy to the System32-folder on your Core-server:

Exe-files:
ldifde.exe
mmc.exe

DLL-files:
devmgr.dll
eappcfg.dll
efsadu.dll
hlink.dll
ieframe.dll
IEShims.dll
ieui.dll
imgutil.dll
inetcomm.dll
inetres.dll
mapi32.dll
mmcbase.dll
mmci.dll
mmcico.dll
mmcndmgr.dll
mmcshext.dll
mmcss.dll
msfeeds.dll
mshtml.dll
msoert2.dll
msrating.dll
msvcr80.dll
netplwiz.dll
occache.dll
oledlg.dll
printui.dll
puiapi.dll
rasapi32.dll
rasdlg.dll
rasman.dll
shdocvw.dll
tapi32.dll

3) Register the DLL-files

Register ALL of these DLL’s with regsvr32 /s dllname.dll (the /s is Silent). Some of these will fail (almost all of them actually, but they’re needed so Exchange can register cdoex.dll who’s dependent of all these.

4) Install Hub Transport and Client Access

Mount the ISO / insert the DVD and run setup.com /roles:HT,CA /organisationname:"YourOrganisation"
Wait for it to finish and then reboot.

5) Edit the rights in the registry
Fire up regedit.exe and go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTInterface{FD8256D0-FD15-11CE-ABC4-02608C9E7553}
Change owner to BuiltinAdministrators and then edit the ACL so that TrustedInstaller, System and Administrators have Full Control.

6) Install the Mailbox-role
Run the command setup.com /roles:MB and wait for it to finish. Reboot.

7) Enable remote management of IIS
Back to regedit, find the HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWebManagementServer key and edit EnableRemoteManagement from 0 to 1 (to enable it). To make things easier (and this guide shorter) disable the firewall on your core-box too, cause now we’re going remote. You could either do this with CCCR2 which makes it really easy or type in Netsh firewall set opmode disable which will turn off the firewall.

8) Start the remote web management service
On your FULL installation, click Start – Run – Services.msc. Connect to your core-box and select the service Web Management Service and start it.

9) Exchange Management
Insert the ISO/DVD into your full installation of Windows and install the Exchange Management Tools. This will now give you the ability to actually manage your box. At the moment I’ve just created a new mailbox as you can see in the video, so I have still to try and see what’s working and not.


Good luck!

What do you think about Server Core? Missing support for any applications? Post a comment!

One Response to Exch2k7 complete install on Windows Server 2008 R2 Core

  1. Well done my friend, u made it!

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