Deciphering an 0xc103798a Exchange Server setup error code

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server can experience a setup failure with the error code:

Setup failed while installing sub-component miscellaneous Atom with error code 0xc103798a (please consult the installation logs for a detailed description). You may cancel the installation or try the failed step again.

What this cryptic error doesn't tell you is that COM+ is involved. In fact, if you dig into the logs generated by the Exchange Server setup utility, you won't see any mention of the COM+ catalog there either.

The closest you may get is this error: The command regsvr32 /s cdowfevt.dll failed, returning error code 5 (Access is denied).

The COM+ catalog is a kind of registry for all the COM+ components currently installed in a given instance of Windows. Unfortunately, even in Windows Server 2003, it can be damaged in such a way that it will prevent certain kinds of products from installing or running at all.

If you experience a COM+ complication during an Exchange Server setup, you should attempt to

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repair the damaged COM+ catalog. This process requires some careful work with system files and will require that the server be offline for some time.

More information on Exchange Server setup issues:

0xc103798a error when installing Exchange 2003 on Windows 2000 Server

When Exchange Server setup fails using /FORESTPREP

Uninstalling and reinstalling Exchange Server 2003 on Windows Server 2003

If your server was upgraded from a previous edition of Windows Server, it might explain how the damage originated.

If this was a fresh install of Windows, you might be better served by simply reinstalling Windows completely again. But this time around, pay close attention to any possible post-installation configuration (for instance, third-party software) that might have caused the COM+ catalog problem.

After repairing the damaged COM+ catalog, you'll need to remove and reinstall IIS, and then reinstall Exchange Server and apply any relevant service packs.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

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This was first published in May 2007

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