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Microsoft Exchange 2016 Installation “Couldn’t find the Enterprise Organization container”

Today I continued installing Microsoft Exchange 2016 on Windows Server 2016 in my lab environment. It looked like I was making some progress, the forest preparation was executed perfectly but then the installation started with the active directory preparation. After a couple seconds it failed… so it was time to start troubleshooting again to figure out what was going on.

Environment

To give you some insight into the environment, the following virtual machines were related to the problem:
* DC01 – Windows Server 2012 R2 – Domain Controller running all FSMO roles
* EXH01 – Windows Server 2016 – A new server that will become an Exchange 2016 server.
In the past the domain controller had a Microsoft Exchange 2013 server joined but that was removed about two years ago. I guest that there were still registrations in the Active Directory schema that were not removed.

Problem

The following error appeared in the Exchange Server 2016 log file (C:\ExchangeSetupLogs\ExchangeSetup.txt):
“[REQUIRED] Setup encountered a problem while validating the state of Active Directory: Couldn’t find the Enterprise Organization container.”

I found a solution… but I do not think Microsoft officially supports it. Keep in mind: if you are still running an Exchange Server infrastructure you will probably destroy it!

Solution

  1. Start an RDP session with the Domain Controller.
  2. Open the following tool “ADSI Edit“.
  3. Connect to the “default-naming context“.
  4. Delete the following two CNs completely, including all content:
    CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=Lab,DC=local
    CN=CN=Microsoft Exchange Autodiscover,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=Lab,DC=local
  5. Restart the Microsoft Exchange Server.
  6. Start the Exchange Server 2016 installation again.
  7. Follow the installation wizard.
  8. The problems should be resolved.

Final word

After performing the described steps on my domain environment, the problems were gone and the Microsoft Exchange Server was running without problems. Like I said before, be careful with executing the steps, you are really making a major change in the Active Directory that might affect other components.

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Installation Microsoft Exhange 2016 on Windows Server 2016

Today I was installing Microsoft Exchange 2016 on a new Windows Server 2016 purely for lab and education purposes. The Windows Installation was finished all Windows Updates were installed and now it was time to start the Microsoft Exchange installation! I had downloaded the installation media some time ago from the Microsoft website (this is where the mistake began), please read further for the explanation.

Exchange 2016 – Readiness Checks Error

After starting the setup wizard and the Readiness Checks the following error appeared:

Error: The Windows component Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra isn’t installed on this computer and needs to be installed before Exchange Setup can begin.

Installation Microsoft Exhange 2016 on Windows Server 2016 - Readiness Checks Fail

Exchange 2016 – Running PowerShell Commands

So I tried installing the required components with the following PowerShell command, just as requested by the Readiness Checks page:

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

Apparently “Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra” isn’t something you can install on Windows Server 2016…
Installation Microsoft Exhange 2016 on Windows Server 2016 - PowerShell Fault

Solution to the installation problem

So after some thinking, I realized that the Exchange 2016 application was released much earlier than the Windows Server 2016 operating system… After some searching, I found the latest “Exchange 2016 CU6 release” on the Microsoft.com website.

It appears that every Cumulative Update (CU) is released in the form of a new ISO file which is also the installation media and update media. After downloading the CU6 iso and running the installation everything was working without any problems.

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