“User cannot be found” during SharePoint Installation

Today we installed SharePoint in our production environment, but we had som problems…

When running the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard we got the error “Failed to create the configuration database” along with the detailed error “User cannot be found”, the error occurred during Step 2 of 9 of the wizard but we could see that two databases were created on the database server before the wizard failed. After extensive error checking we finally found the problem when examining the firewall logs, we saw that SharePoint were trying to access an incorrect domain controller (DC). The DC that was being accessed was not open for access so all requests to it were denied, hence we got “User cannot be found”.

The reason the DC was not accessible is that we have multiple VLANs and for each access across VLAN boundaries we need to set firewall rules to open the specific ports between the machines. We also have two separate domain controllers, one “master” DC and one read-only DC, and normally all access should be made to the read-only DC. However, in this case SharePoint (and the server) were configured to use the “master” DC to which no one can communicate as all ports were locked down.

So the lesson learned is that if you get “User cannot be found” during the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard you may have a problem accessing the domain controller.