Validate a New or Existing Failover Cluster

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Before creating a failover cluster, we recommend that you validate your hardware (servers, networks, and storage) by running the Validate a Configuration Wizard. You can validate either an existing cluster or one or more servers that are not yet clustered.


Microsoft supports a failover cluster solution only if the complete configuration (servers, network, and storage) can pass all tests in the Validate a Configuration wizard. In addition, all hardware components in the solution must be marked as "Certified for Windows Server 2008."

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (

To validate a new or existing failover cluster

  1. Identify the server or servers that you want to test and confirm that the failover cluster feature is installed:

    • If the cluster does not yet exist, choose the servers that you want to include in the cluster, and make sure you have installed the failover cluster feature on those servers. For more information, see Install Failover Clustering.

      Note that when you run the Validate a Configuration Wizard on unclustered servers, you must enter the names of all the servers you want to test, not just one.

    • If the cluster already exists, make sure you know the name of the cluster or a node in the cluster.

  2. Review network or storage hardware that you want to validate, to confirm that it is connected to the servers. For details, see Prepare Hardware Before Validating a Failover Cluster and Understanding Requirements for Failover Clusters.

  3. Decide whether you want to run all or only some of the available validation tests. For detailed information about the tests, see the topics listed in Understanding Cluster Validation Tests.

    The following guidelines can help you decide whether to run all tests:

    • For a planned cluster with all hardware connected: Run all tests.

    • For a planned cluster with parts of the hardware connected: Run System Configuration tests, Inventory tests, and tests that apply to the hardware that is connected (that is, Network tests if the network is connected or Storage tests if the storage is connected).

    • For a cluster to which you plan to add a server: Run all tests. When you run them, be sure to include all servers that you plan to have in the cluster.

    • For troubleshooting an existing cluster: If you are troubleshooting an existing cluster, you might run all tests, although you could run only the tests that relate to the apparent issue.


If a clustered service or application is using a disk when you start the wizard, the wizard will prompt you about whether to take that clustered service or application offline for the purposes of testing. If you choose to take a clustered service or application offline, it will remain offline until the tests finish.

  1. In the Failover Cluster Management snap-in, in the console tree, make sure Failover Cluster Management is selected and then, under Management, click Validate a Configuration.

  2. Follow the instructions in the wizard to specify the servers and the tests, run the tests, and view the results.

    Note that when you run the Validate a Configuration Wizard on unclustered servers, you must enter the names of all the servers you want to test, not just one.

Additional considerations

  • To open the failover cluster snap-in, click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Failover Cluster Management. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  • To view the results of the tests after you close the wizard, choose one of the following:

    • Open the folder systemroot\Cluster\Reports (on a clustered server).

    • If the tested servers are now a cluster, in the console tree, right-click the cluster, and then click View Validation Report. This displays the most recent validation report for that cluster.

Additional references