Resolve: Setup Failure Occurred While Installing a Server Role_InstallWatermark
Generally speaking this error is caused when an installation fails abruptly or is interrupted and a Server Role that was in the process of being installed as part of an Exchange installation is not completely installed. Under the hood what happens is that there is a “Watermark” in the Windows Registry that indicates that it “is” in the process of installing a role so another installation does not try to.
Particularly in my case my server’s information got corrupted so the Mailbox could not be mounted and the Exchange binaries were corrupted too so I couldn’t access the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell either locally or remotely. The solution I found online was to create a new server from scratch based but keep the AD computer account to recreate it. It worked fine but at one point the role got stuck installing and then I had to deal with the Watermark issue.
Microsoft suggests at this point the following: Either re-install just the failed server role(s), or remove the server role(s).
Setup /roles:<Failed Server Role>
- ClientAccess (or CA, or C)
- EdgeTransport (or ET, or E)
- HubTransport (or HT, or H)
- Mailbox (or MB, or M)
- UnifiedMessaging (or UM, or U)
- ManagementTools (or MT, or T)
Now, in my case I was not able to just install the CA using the command line and then going into the Change or Remove Programs I wasn’t able to successfully launch the installer as the Watermark error message would come up. At this point only one thing seemed certain: The solution wouldn’t be pretty. So at this point all I was left with was playing with the Windows registry and manually removing the watermark. As Microsoft always warns: If you don’t do it correctly you’ll mess your computer and you better know what you are doing.
To delete the Watermark do the following:
and then delete the watermark and Action entries.
As I was reading some more common reasons why the installation would fail the following two seemed worth sharing (I already had issues with turning off IPv6):
- Make sure All IPv6 adapters are enabled. I disabled it at some point as internally we only use IPv4 but Exchange does not like it one bit.
- The server needs to be in the Exchange Domain Servers group. Generally the setup adds your server to that group but if the install gets messed up you might need to this manually before trying again.