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'0xC103798A' error when installing Exchange 2003 on Windows 2000 Server

Installing Exchange Server 2003 on Windows 2000 Server often renders a setup wizard error: "Microsoft Exchange Installation Wizard Setup failed while installing sub-component Microsoft Windows Active Directory schema update with error code 0xC103798A." Contributor Serdar Yegulalp provides step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting this Exchange Server installation error.

Someone once said that 90% of problems happen immediately, and the other 10% arise later. This seems to go triple for application setups; almost everything that can go wrong usually does right away (and probably should so it can be fixed quickly).

When installing Exchange Server 2003 on Windows 2000 Server, for instance, a bizarre error can occur during the setup wizard:

Microsoft Exchange Installation Wizard Setup failed while installing sub-component Microsoft Windows Active Directory schema update with error code 0xC103798A (please consult the installation logs for a detailed description). You may cancel the installation or try the failed setup again.

This error message can also appear if you're installing over an Exchange 5.5 server that has had its site name changed after the Exchange Server organization was switched to a mixed mode environment. In this instance, the error message refers to a different component -- specifically, the "Active Directory Schema Update" component.

During installation, the setup component queries the Global Catalog Server using LDAP for an attribute named operatingSystemServicePack, which is the operating system's service pack revision.

The response is sometimes returned as SERVICE PACK 3 instead of Service Pack 3. In other words, in all caps case instead of initial caps. The installer reads this data in a case-sensitive fashion and it fails.

To get around this, you'll need to modify the operatingSystemServicePack attribute manually:

  1. Run ADSIEDIT.MSC from the command line or the Start -> Run dialog box. If ADSIEDIT.MSC isn't installed, it's available in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit or in a number of places online (e.g., You'll need to manually register ADSIEDIT.DLL using REGSVR32 before you can use ADSIEDIT.MSC.

  2. Open the Domain container.

  3. Open DC=<your domain>, DC=com (where <your domain> is of course the name of your domain).

  4. Open OU=Domain Controllers.

  5. Right-click on the Global Catalog Server for your Active Directory site and select Properties.

  6. Under Attributes, select the property operatingSystemServicePack, then select the Edit Attribute: field.

  7. Set the value to Service Pack 3.

  8. Close all dialog boxes.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

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