ISA in SBS - yes, it's secure

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Lingo - The Talk of Broadband

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

ISA2004 Installation Fails during SBS 2003 SP1 Install

Subtitle: In which Amy spends 5+ hours on the phone with PSS on a Service Pack installation problem and the issue doesn't get resolved. Or, in which after 3 days and 5 different support specialists the problem is mostly resolved.

Here's the situation:

It was a dark but otherwise lovely week night evening and the SBS 2003 SP1 installation was humming along. I was only 3 hours into the installation and ready to install ISA2004. Record time! 27 PC's already had the old ISA2000 client removed and were awaiting the new client. Then it happened.

"The wizard cannot install ISA Server 2004. Try to install it again by restarting this wizard. If the problem persists, see for additional help and support."

From the sbsisa2k log:

SBSISA2K4SETUP: CreateProcess returned OK
SBSISA2K4SETUP: ISA2k4 setup completed before post config
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** WaitingForMultipleObjects returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** LaunchISA2k4NativeSetup returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** Running ISA2k4 setup unattended returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: Entering IsISA2k4Installed
IsISA2k4Installed returned FALSE
SBSISA2K4SETUP: ISA2k4 is NOT installed
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** CSbsIsa2k4SetupCommit::CommitEx returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** CommitEx returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: Committer failed
SBSISA2K4SETUP: (error message is generic.)
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** Commit returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** Commit returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: Setting the event to signal post setup
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** InstallISA2k4 returned ERROR 0x80004005
SBSISA2K4SETUP: *** Installing ISA2k4 returned ERROR 0x80004005

This story could go on and on for about 3 days but I'll keep it short and to the point. The problem was that the ISA setup couldn't load the performace monitor counters. This resulted in MSDE not be able to load and although the base of ISA installed the failures were noted and the install rolled back and rebooted the server with having removed ISA2000 but failed to install ISA2004. When this happened I thought, oh no, my ISA2000 settings! I wasn't smart enough to have made a backup of ISA2000 first. The complancy of many successful upgrades had gotten the best of me. So PSS directed me to go to C:\program files\Microsoft Small Business Server\Support\Premium and save the .xml file that the upgrade process had created of my ISA2000 settings. This particular client had a few that I didn't want to have to recreate. The thought was that we could import this xml file later.

This is where the first 2 support specialists left me. The next day I emailed the most helpful Jim Harrison and he said what do the ISA detailed install logs say? Where are they, says I? The detail ISA install logs live in C:\windows\temp and are called ISAWRAP_number.log, ISAMDSE_number.og and ISAFWSV_number.log. The installation process uses verbose logging so there are a lot of log files with a lot of text in them. I pulled out this error message: Setup failed. Error returned: 0x643
MSDE Installation failed, hr=80070643 and then emailed it to the support technician. He passed it on to yet another technician who got an MSDE support specialist on the line and he solved the problem.

Here's how to resolve this problem. If you are getting this error message, open up Performance Monitor on the server. Click the + sign to add a new counter. If your counters are numbers rather than friendly descriptions, then you have corrupt performance counters, just like this server did.

Open a command prompt and running the following:

lodctr /r:perfstringbackup.ini

Now go back into Performance Monitor and verify that the counters have friendly names and descriptions. Commence to install ISA2004.

Unfortunately this story has no ending as I've not yet been able to import the xml file with my ISA2000 settings in it. Apparently the unattended install of ISA2004 uses a password to protect this file and no one has been able to tell me what that password is.

Good news: ISA2004 is installed and working.
Bad news: My ISA2000 settings are locked in a password protected file...

A solution to the missing password has been found! Thanks, yet again to Jim Harrison and the SBS Team.

..and the answer is:

%programfiles%\microsoft windows small business server\support\sbsisa2k4setuplog.txt

..has the password embedded in it.

This log file and it's associated XML file give anyone a complete view of your Firewall configuration. Leaving this information exposed for anyone to view is not recommended. Take care not to change any of the security settings on these files. The SBS team as protected this information by setting the ACLs on this resource to admin / system by default. Be sure to keep it that way.


At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PSS can be painful. My own ISA 2004 post SBS SP1 install had its own nasty multi-day PSS solution. As was yours, I considered mine an odd-off situation where DCOM and COM+ were misbehaving. Amy thank you for your blog and the highly treasured information you are sharing to other SBS'rs like myself. Thx Dale Unroe

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Excellent article. I had the same problem, the only difference is that my Performance counters are fine but I do have an issue when I try to use the wizard to set perfomance monitoring.

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This did not work for me as I did not have any problems with Performance Counter.

I have found a solution to this, for all that the above does not work.


Problem is with installation msi's itself not being able to properly execute due to Config.msi folder in C:/ cluttered with junk.


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