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The Welcome News of the Death of SBS

SBSIntoTheNight

SBS wander off into the black abyss

Somehow I missed this bit of news last year. The Death of the Small Business Server. Possibly because I haven’t had to deal with SBS in a serious manner for a while now. Anyhow from the point of view of an Exchange administrator it is welcome news to see that SBS 2011 is the end of the line for the SBS. I have always found SBS to be a pain to work with. The migration wizards were prone to breaking in mysterious ways. The POP3 connector was horrid to troubleshoot and would still choke on a seemingly normal email all too easily. The most annoying thing was being forced to use the wizards for most things you do, and to suffer the consequences if someone else did not use a wizard. For small businesses there don’t seem to be any genuine alternatives unfortunately. Several Linux based alternatives are presented over at The VAR Guy but I don’t see a full Linux solution being a comfortable route, at least for most of the small businesses I’ve worked with in the past. There are a few odd ones out that embrace any alternatives to Microsoft of course. Windows Server 2012 Essentials and Zimbra Collaberation Server virtual appliance may be a better compromise for MSPs that are reluctant to touch a full Linux alternative for an on-site Exchange substitute. For me I’ll just be happy that I won’t have to worry about Exchange 2013 shoehorned into an SBS.

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Problems Installing Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 on SBS 2011

Now these problems that occur are very likely originating from an already rather screwed up installation of SBS 2011. I was not involved in the original setup of this particular server but I do know that there had been a large number of problems originally encountered. In this instance the task was to get Exchange 2010 SP2 installed. There are several hoops that you may have to jump through to get this installed, here I will recount what I was required to do.

Firstly you need to make sure that you have closed any instance of the SBS Console. Otherwise you’ll get a failure in the prerequisites. Also initially you’ll need to stop the Windows SBS Manager service though if you can get the install to progress to the point of working on the installed roles rather than the organization that will no longer be a requirement. Once you’re past those prerequisites in theory your installation should go smoothly. But if that is not the case then read on.
The next problem you may encounter is any error in the Hub Transport Role. From the event logs you’ll find this error:

 Event ID 1002 MSExchangeSetup
 Exchange Server component Hub Transport Role failed.
 Error: Error:
 The following error was generated when "$error.Clear();
 if (get-service MSExchangeServiceHost* | where {$_.name -eq "MSExchangeServiceHost"})
 {
 restart-service MSExchangeServiceHost
 }
 " was run: "Service 'Microsoft Exchange Service Host (MSExchangeServiceHost)' cannot be started due to the following error: Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer '.'.".
Service 'Microsoft Exchange Service Host (MSExchangeServiceHost)' cannot be started due to the following error: Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer '.'.
Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer '.'.
The service cannot be started, either because it is disabled or because it has no enabled devices associated with it

Checking your services you’ll also find all of the Exchange services disabled. Service packs and update rollups usually disable the services to prevent them from starting up unexpectedly while the update is being installed, but in this case for some reason SP2 is jinxing itself by not allowing itself to start a couple of necessary services for it to be able to continue. The easiest way to get around this, though not necessarily the safest, is to make sure that at this point all the Exchange services are set to Manual or Automatic. When you see setup get down to the point of setting up the Hub Transport Role then watch your services and wait for them all to be set to disabled. Once they are pop open a Powershell prompt and run:

Get-Service | where {$_.DisplayName –match “Microsoft Exchange”} | Set-Service –StartupType Manual

Now setup will be able to continue with starting the services that it requires for continuing setup. Which may lead to your next problem, it will fail on generating a new self-signed certificate for the Exchange Transport service. You’ll find this error in the event logs:

Event ID 1002 MSExchangeSetup
 Exchange Server component Hub Transport Role failed.
 Error: Error:
 The following error was generated when "$error.Clear();
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Creating SBS certificate";
$thumbprint = [Microsoft.Win32.Registry]::GetValue("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\SmallBusinessServer\Networking", "LeafCertThumbPrint", $null);
if (![System.String]::IsNullOrEmpty($thumbprint))
 {
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Enabling certificate with thumbprint: $thumbprint for SMTP service";
 Enable-ExchangeCertificate -Thumbprint $thumbprint -Services SMTP;
Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Removing default Exchange Certificate";
 Get-ExchangeCertificate | where {$_.FriendlyName.ToString() -eq "Microsoft Exchange"} | Remove-ExchangeCertificate;
Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Checking if default Exchange Certificate is removed";
 $certs = Get-ExchangeCertificate | where {$_.FriendlyName.ToString() -eq "Microsoft Exchange"};
 if ($certs)
 {
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Error "Failed to remove existing exchange certificate"
 }
 }
 else
 {
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Warning "Cannot find the SBS certificate";
 }
 " was run: "The internal transport certificate cannot be removed because that would cause the Microsoft Exchange Transport service to stop. To replace the internal transport certificate, create a new certificate. The new certificate will automatically become the internal transport certificate. You can then remove the existing certificate.".
The internal transport certificate cannot be removed because that would cause the Microsoft Exchange Transport service to stop. To replace the internal transport certificate, create a new certificate. The new certificate will automatically become the internal transport certificate. You can then remove the existing certificate.
Error:
 The following error was generated when "$error.Clear();
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Creating SBS certificate";
$thumbprint = [Microsoft.Win32.Registry]::GetValue("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\SmallBusinessServer\Networking", "LeafCertThumbPrint", $null);
if (![System.String]::IsNullOrEmpty($thumbprint))
 {
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Enabling certificate with thumbprint: $thumbprint for SMTP service";
 Enable-ExchangeCertificate -Thumbprint $thumbprint -Services SMTP;
Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Removing default Exchange Certificate";
 Get-ExchangeCertificate | where {$_.FriendlyName.ToString() -eq "Microsoft Exchange"} | Remove-ExchangeCertificate;
Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info "Checking if default Exchange Certificate is removed";
 $certs = Get-ExchangeCertificate | where {$_.FriendlyName.ToString() -eq "Microsoft Exchange"};
 if ($certs)
 {
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Error "Failed to remove existing exchange certificate"
 }
 }
 else
 {
 Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Warning "Cannot find the SBS certificate";
 }
 " was run: "Failed to remove existing exchange certificate".
Failed to remove existing exchange certificate

This is a very verbose yet also very helpful error. Chances are you’ll most likely encounter this if you are not using the default self-signed certificates but have installed a third party certificate. Though I didn’t check in this case, reviewing the commands being run it may be choking on a third party certificate that has a friendly name of Microsoft Exchange. To fix this one first make sure you have a copy of your third party certificate available and if you don’t then export a copy as you’ll be in need of it later. Once you have that available then run through the SBS Set up your Internet address wizard. This will generate you another self-signed certificate and replace the third party certificate you have in place. It will also remove the third party certificates from your certificate store, which is why you need to make sure you have a copy of the certificate available. Once you have done this re-run setup and you’ll be able to finish your installation of SP2. Don’t forget to put the third party certificate back in place and also it would be a good idea to run ExBPA to make sure you are still in compliance. You’ll also want to make sure that all of your Exchange services are set back to their appropriate startup values as you may be left with all the services set to disabled.

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