Exchange 2010 setup error: Cannot create IIS virtual directory

I recently had to uninstall Exchange 2010 from one of my servers. When I try to reinstall it, I keep getting Exchange 2010 setup error messages stating that "an error occurred while creating the IIS virtual directory."

I've tried everything, including removing and reinstalling IIS. Please help!

From the editors

How to: Manually uninstalling Exchange 2010

There are a few potential reasons as to why you're receiving these Exchange 2010 setup error messages. You mentioned that you tried uninstalling and reinstalling IIS, so my recommended course of action is to look at your c:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\config\applicationHost.config file.

Look for any Exchange-related entries that are similar to the following:

<application path="/">

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path="/" physicalPath="%SystemDrive%\inetpub\wwwroot" />
<virtualDirectory path="/Exchange" physicalPath="C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ClientAccess\owa" />


<application path="/owa" applicationPool="MSExchangeOWAAppPool">
<virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ClientAccess\owa" />
<application path="/owa/Calendar" applicationPool="MSExchangeOWACalendarAppPool">
<virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ClientAccess\owa" />

When you find them, remove them and then save the file. Now, run IISReset from the Windows command prompt and run Exchange 2010 setup once more. You should be all set.

About the author
Andy Grogan is an Exchange MVP based in the U.K. He has worked in the IT industry for the last 14 years -- primarily with Microsoft, HP and IBM technologies. His main passion is Exchange Server, but he also specializes in Active Directory, SQL Server and storage solutions. Grogan currently works for a large council in West London as the networks and operations manager supporting 6,000 customers on more than 240 sites. Visit Andy's website at

This was first published in November 2012

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