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
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