Troubleshooting installation issues with Windows Server 2003 R2

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

The following are specific issues that you may encounter when deploying this operating system. You should review this information to help resolve deployment problems.

Stop Messages

This section outlines the steps to troubleshoot Stop messages or unexpected shutdowns, which are the result of a system error in the operating system. Following a system error, your computer stops responding, and a message is displayed on a blue or black background.

You can use the System Information tool to gather important information about system settings, problem devices, and hardware resources. For more information, see the Microsoft Web site (


To ensure system stability, install the latest service pack that is appropriate for your system (follow service pack instructions) and use only signed drivers. For more information, see "Microsoft Update" on the Microsoft Web site (

Follow these steps for any Stop error that does not display identifying text or specific troubleshooting steps:

  1. Use the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis tool on the Microsoft Web site ( You can use this tool to send error reports to Microsoft and track their status by using your Microsoft Passport information. You can access the Online Crash Analysis Web site by using the Error Reporting service or by using your Web browser. When it is enabled, the Error Reporting service monitors your system for kernel and user mode faults that are related to operating system components and applications. With kernel-mode reporting, you can obtain more information about the problem or condition that caused the Stop error.

  2. Use the File Signature Verification tool (Sigverif.exe), which identifies unsigned drivers and incompatible system files on your computer. The system files and device driver files that are provided with the Windows Server 2003 family have a Microsoft digital signature, which indicates that the files are original, unaltered system files or that they have been approved by Microsoft for use with Windows.

  3. If the Stop message is caused by a driver problem, you can use Device Manager to roll back to a previous version of the driver. For more information, see "Roll back to the previous version of a driver" on the Microsoft Web site ( You may need to disable any newly installed drivers.

  4. Using a recent version of virus-protection software, check for viruses on your computer. If a virus is found, perform the steps required to eliminate it from your computer. See your antivirus software documentation for these steps.

  5. For updated information about Stop messages, you can search the Support Knowledge Base (KB) on the Microsoft Web site ( When typing keywords, use the Stop message number (for example, stop 0x0000000A).

    For more information about articles, troubleshooting wizards, and items that you can download, see "Updated technical information" on the Microsoft Web site (

  6. If you can start the operating system, check the System Log in Event Viewer for additional information that might help determine the device or driver that is causing the problem. Many Stop messages produce specific events that you can search for, such as Event ID 1001 (generated by various Stop messages) and Event ID 6008 (usually caused by an unexpected shutdown or a computer that does not restart correctly). To display a description of an event, in Event Viewer, double-click the event. For more information about Event Viewer, see "Event Viewer" on the Microsoft Web site (

    For updated information about Event IDs, you can search the Support Knowledge Base (KB) on the Microsoft Web site (

  7. If you cannot start your computer, try starting it in Last Known Good Configuration or in Safe Mode, and then remove or disable newly added programs or drivers. For information about how to start your computer in Safe Mode, see "Start the computer in Safe Mode" on the Microsoft Web site ( For more information about how to start your computer in Last Known Good Configuration, see "Start the computer using the last known good configuration" on the Microsoft Web site (


    When you use Last Known Good Configuration, system setting changes made after the last successful startup are lost.

  8. Remove any newly installed hardware (RAM, adapters, hard disks, modems, and so on).

  9. Ensure that you have updated drivers for your hardware devices. Also, ensure that you have the latest system BIOS or the correct firmware (for Itanium architecture-based computers). The device or hardware manufacturers can assist you in obtaining these items.

  10. Run the system diagnostics supplied by your computer manufacturer, especially the memory check.

  11. Confirm that your hardware is designed for the Windows Server 2003 family. For more information, see "System Requirements" on the Microsoft Web site (

  12. If Safe Mode and other startup options do not work, you can consider using the Recovery Console. This method is recommended only if you are an advanced user who can use basic commands to identify and locate problem drivers and files. In addition, you must be an administrator to use the Recovery Console. For more information, see "Recovery Console overview" on the Microsoft Web site (

For more information, see the following:

The Computer Will Not Start

Products in the Windows Server 2003 family provide a variety of options you can use when a system will not start:

  • First option. Try to restart your computer using Safe Mode or related startup options, one of which is Last Known Good Configuration. These options start the system with only the minimal, necessary services. Startup options are valuable for providing access to important system tools such as Device Manager (for example, you could start in Safe Mode and roll back a device driver) or Backup (for example, to restore a System State backup). To start your computer using one of these startup options, restart your computer and press F8 when a text-based or graphical screen appears and then disappears, but before the Windows logo appears. In other words, press F8 immediately after the power-on self test of the basic input/output system (the BIOS POST). There may be a prompt that tells you when to press F8.

    For more information, see "How to troubleshoot startup problems in Windows Server 2003" on the Microsoft Web site (

    For detailed instructions, see "Recover a System That Will Not Start" on the Microsoft Web site (

  • Second option. An option to consider if Safe Mode does not help is the Recovery Console. This option is recommended only for advanced users or administrators. You can use the Recovery Console by starting the system from the Setup CD. On an x86-based (32-bit) computer, you can also install the Recovery Console as a startup option. The Recovery Console is a command-line interface from which you can perform tasks such as starting and stopping services and accessing the local disk (including disks formatted with NTFS).


    Because the Recovery Console is quite powerful, it is recommended only for advanced users or administrators.

    To start the computer and use the Recovery Console, insert Disc 1 into the CD drive and restart the computer. If prompted to press a key to start the computer from the CD, press a key. When the text-based part of Setup begins, follow the prompts. Choose the Recovery Console option by pressing R and continue to follow the instructions on your screen. When you get to the system prompt, type help for a list of commands, or help commandname for help on a specific command.

    For more information, see "Recovery Console Technical Reference" on the Microsoft Web site (

    For detailed instructions, see "Start the computer and use the Recovery Console" on the Microsoft Web site (

  • Third option. If Safe Mode and the Recovery Console do not work in your situation, and if you made appropriate advance preparations (preparing appropriate recovery media with the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard in Backup), you can try Automated System Recovery. Automated System Recovery is a last-resort option that is not recommended for use before the other options in this list. To use this option, you start the system with the Setup CD and use the media that you have previously prepared.

    For more information, see "Automated System Recovery (ASR) overview" on the Microsoft Web site (

    For detail instructions, see "Create an Automated System Recovery set using Backup" on the Microsoft Web site (

  • Fourth option. If you cannot repair the server using the previous methods in this list, you might be able to use Emergency Management Services to attempt to gain access to the server and examine the problem.

    For sources of information, see "Emergency Management Services" on the Microsoft Web site (

Cannot Log On

  • Problem: I finished installing Disc 1 and now I cannot log on to the computer by using Terminal Services.

    Cause: Terminal Services is disabled by default when you install Windows Server 2003 on Disc 1. Therefore, after you install Disc 1, you will not be able to connect to the computer without first manually enabling Terminal Services.

    Solution: On the target computer, manually enable Terminal Services. To do this, right click My Computer, and then click Properties. On the Remote tab, select the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box

Post Installation Issues

The following are specific problems and solutions that you may encounter when installing this operating system or when installing a component.

  • Problem: During the installation of a Windows Server 2003 R2 component, I was prompted to insert the Windows Server 2003 R2 Disc 2 or to specify the location of the Setup files on my hard disk.

    Cause: You will receive this dialog box if Windows Server 2003 was installed from a location different from where Windows Server 2003 R2 (Disc 1 and/or Disc 2) was installed. For example, if you installed Windows Server 2003 from a shared network resource, and then you installed Windows Server 2003 R2 by using the product CDs, you will receive this dialog box.

    Solution: To avoid receiving this dialog box, install Windows Server 2003 and the Windows Server 2003 R2 from the same location. For example, you can install the operating system by using the Windows Server 2003 R2 product CDs (both Disc 1 and Disc 2) that you obtained from Microsoft. Or, if you are installing from a network share, copy all of the files and folders from Disc 1 and Disc 2 to your shared network resource. When you receive a dialog box that asks if you would like to replace the Autorun.inf file, click Yes.

  • Problem: My installation completed successfully, but I was not prompted to insert the Disc 2 after the installation of Disc 1 was complete.

    Cause: This can happen if you enter a Product Key other than the one that was included with the Windows Server 2003 R2 product discs.

    Solution: After the installation of Disc 1 is complete, insert Disc 2 to install Windows Server 2003 R2. When you are prompted, enter the Product Key that comes with the two product discs.

  • Problem: I am having problems upgrading a component to the new version that is included in Windows Server 2003 R2.

    Solution: For specific instructions on upgrading an optional component, see the Help for the component on the Windows Server 2003 R2 TechCenter Web site ( The optional components that you can upgrade are Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) and Windows SharePoint Services.

  • Problem: I installed Windows Server 2003 R2, but the new components are not installed on my computer.

    Cause: When you install Disc 2, you are not installing the Windows Server 2003 R2 optional components.

    Solution: After Setup is complete, you can install the optional components by using Add/Remove Windows Components in Control Panel. You also have the option to add or upgrade server roles by using Manage Your Server. For more information about these options, see Installing Optional Components and Server Roles.


    Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 is installed automatically when you install Windows Server 2003 R2.