Bottom line.. Exchange patches suck.  I can’t wait until the next version of Exchange and for the Monad era.  In the patching world, in my opinion, Exchange is the ‘drag’.

The other day I blogged about an issue I had on my home test server.  And with the help of the SBS engineers, first in the tier one level and then via escalation, we got it figured out.

So let’s recap what was happening in my system.

First off when I installed it on my Dell OEM test system, I had no issues.  But when I came and did it on my home test system, it gave me an error during the install of Active Sync:

Setup failed while installing sub-component Exchange ActiveSync with error code 0xC0070643 (please consult the installation logs for a detailed description).  You may cancel the installation or try the failed setup again.

And when you hit cancel it completed and then sent a Dr. Watson report.

The error message pointed to one file.. MSXML3.MSI and when we went to manually install that I got the next error message of:

A network error occurred while attempting to read from the file:  C:\Program Files\Exchsvr\bin\msxml3sp5.msi

So in working with the SBS escalation team [and by the way, you know you are in trouble when they conference call you in to the Engineer in charge of the case and he goes, “Susan, Susan Bradley?“…uh… yeah…]  and well, it happens to be one of the gang on the SBSPodcast that you just listened to last weekend.  🙂

So we started a series of investigations to figure out exactly what was going on.  Remember the server was still functional, I’m still in ‘test mode’ so we started this process of swapping emails and me sending log files back and following the instructions [command line stuff…yuck…thank goodness for cut and paste]

And finally in the last set of instructions to build them a debugging log file so they could see what the installer was getting stuck on, we found the answer:

Shavlik HfnetchkPro

You see on this system at home I had installed Shavlik, unlike the Dell OEM and unlike my real baby at the office where it’s installed on my workstation.  And because the Shavlik had installed it’s own patched version of MSXML3SP5.MSI in a file location, the installer for Exchange 2003 sp2 couldn’t handle an installer location differently than what it was expecting.  [Well that’s my take anyway].  So the SBS gang had me export out a reg key [backing it up first of course] and we tried the install again.  So first asked me if it had this reg key







Yes it did

If it exists, it should have a value of ProductName set to Microsoft XML Parser.

Yup, and it looking at it you can tell it was installed by Shavlik

If it exists, export and delete the key.  Then reapply Exchange 2003 SP 2 to see if it installs without producing the error regarding msxml3sp5.msi.

It did.

Now because the Gods of computers are with me tonight, of course my SMTP service got stuck and would not nicely stop [which of course hung the Patch reinstallation], so I think when I do this for real, I’m going to be manually stopping that SMTP service ‘FIRST’, just to be safe.

So for that other guy in the German newsgroup?  You have Shavlik on your box?

“with a second installation on another system I have now the error:  0xc0070643 with the Inst. of the Unterkomponente ActiveSync!?!?”
“bei einer zweiten Installation auf einem anderen System habe ich nun den   Fehler:   0xc0070643 bei der Inst. der Unterkomponente ActiveSync   !?!?”

The moral of this story?

This was a free call because it was an issue with a service pack but honestly… it was an issue caused by a third party software installed on my server.  My real baby at my office, I tend to keep that box lean and mean with a minimum of extra software so I would have never hit this issue.  I have seen others get hit by this issue, like the guy in the German group, so one of the reason why I didn’t blow this off and just go “oh well, the box still works, I’ll just let it go” was to help the next guy down the road.  This “is” my test box so I could take as long as I wanted to.  Service packs don’t need to be installed during lunch [or while you are taking a shower even, geeze 😉  Unlike Security patches, I can take the time to test them and to understand fully a snag I hit in a test environment.  While this is a real box, I could have done a similar test with a VServer or VPC image.  And now with Exchange 2003 sp2 on the box, that’s now officially supported in a virtual environment as well.  So, I now know that this issue will not be one that I’ll see on my real baby, and I can let a couple of folks know that pinged me about that blog post to have them check on their boxes for Shavlik as well.

Calling into Product Support Services means that the issue will now be documented, my SRX case will be filed and the next time someone hits this issue it will be known immediately and that person fixed right up.

So the next time you have an issue with a Service pack or a Security patch… call. 



One Response to Exchange 2003 sp2 success on my home server!

  1. Jeff says:

    Well I did not have Shavlik installed, but in that reg group there was and entry for ‘Microsoft XML Parser’. I removed it and like you it worked great.

    That’s a couple hours of my life I will never get back

    Thanks for the post or it could have been days.