Troubleshooting Client Connector Install : SBS2011 Essentials

sbse-conThere are countless reports of problems installing the Client Connector on SBS Essentials and WHS. I’ll not mention WSSE as i don’t think anyone has even bought one yet Smile with tongue out

(that’s not true i do know people who have already deployed it)

Far more common at least, is for it to be an issue with SBSe or WHS2011.

I wanted to put together a resource for people who are struggling to get this installed, not built by me, but a collation of forum posts, solutions and tips that should either fix the issues, or point you in the right direction.

So first off, you might want to have a quick read through of this, which is my own post on how the process should work. It also gives some guidance on what to do if the profile move doesn’t work.

You may also be interested to know where the log files are for the Connector Install..

Windows XP

Log File Location, C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Server\Logs

This is a hidden folder.

Windows Vista / 7

Log file location, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Server\Logs

This is a hidden folder

Did you know about the SBS 2011 Log Collector Tool?  You can read about that here

Troubleshooting the Installation

I thought it might be good to run through an install and try to monitor the logs and find out which log is most useful at which time.

The first log file, is Computerconnector.log, this shows a very high level progress indicator of the first steps of the install.


If you are a bit sad like me, and you do monitor the logs folder during a connector install, you will see the second log file to be generated is CSetup.log, which gives us a more detailed view of the early setup stages, for example when .NET 4 is installed.


You can also see that the CSetup.log file is 10kb, as opposed to Computerconnector.log 3kb.


When we get to the stage where you are prompted to enter your network username and password, we have a third log file. ClientDeploy.log, 

This log file picks up from CSetup.log


You can follow the progress of the next stage of deployment through this log file. You can see things like the tasks to locate the SBS Server, configuration of the local NIC DNS settings, and you can also spot errors and problems.

For example…


The log shows it has found a duplicate machine name, so it pauses the Join Domain task, to give you a chance, in the GUI to confirm you want to continue


And now i have hit a problem.



What you can see from the log here is that there is an Access Denied condition when trying to join the domain.

Why would that be?

In this instance, as mentioned above, a machine already existed in the domain with this name. Therefore, to join this current machine with the same name, i would need certain Active Directory (AD) permissions, which a normal network user account doesn’t have.

So how come a normal user can add a computer to the domain usually?

Whilst i don’t have the full technical answer to that question, i imagine it is something to do with certain settings have been set so that ANY account has the right to join a computer to the domain, but only the Domain Admin has the permissions to reset a machine account password, remove a machine from the domain, or overwrite a machine account in AD.

So, the solution here to get a clean join, would be to ensure any duplicate machine names have been removed from the server, either by the dashboard or through AD directly. Or simply rename the computer.

That being said, you can work around this issue by installing the connector using the Domain Admin credentials, and that will work in this situation, but doing so has it’s own caveats described here.

You might say, well i haven’t had a complete install on this PC yet so how can it possibly have a duplicate name.

To that i would say – maybe the first time you tried it, it failed on a different error? You fixed that and now attempt it again, but didn’t know to remove the account from the dashboard?

On this client, i removed the computer from the Dashboard, and re ran the connect software, using the same, NON ADMIN credentials.

In this screen shot i highlighted in Blue, where we started in the last screen shot ‘Calling Join Domain’ and ended in Red on the ‘JoinNetwork Tasks Task Status’ in Red.


The GUI of the wizard now shows us we need to reboot.


After the reboot, it is a little trickier to keep track of the logs because ‘Explorer.exe’ is not loaded up yet and we have no way to browse the logs folder.


So, if you want to, hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and go into task manager.


From task manager, click File, New Task, and then you can type in the folder path to the logs folder. (you may need to put it into quotes)

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Server\Logs


At this point we still have just our 3 log files.




Looking at ClientDeploy.log again, we can see in Red where we left off, and then where the process continued, and finally in Green the reboot.


Let’s move on through the GUI and see what happens to the logs. I am going to leave all of the options on their defaults.

We can see the profile is migrated.


In the GUI i am setting to wake the computer for backup and I am setting that i want to participate in the Customer Experience program.

When clicking next in the GUI on the Customer Experience program page, the GUI will display ‘Connecting this Computer to the network’ with a nice progress indicator.


At this point our ClientDeploy.log file is finished up, and we can now see a new Log File appears, ClientCoreX86.msi.log

After a few minutes, you will see a whole host of new log files appears.


With any luck in the GUI you will then see this..


I’m guessing you may not have done, which is why you are reading this… So let’s go and have a quick look through the ClientCoreX86.msi.log,

We now have 19 Log files by the way… and i am slowly starting to regret getting into this. Anyway..


We know that ClientDeploy.log finished, and ClientCoreX86.msi.log took over. That then spawned all of these other logs, but looking at the size of ClientDeploy.log i would say that also had some more info appended.

Switching to details view, we can see in what order these logs were written to.


In the first stages of ClientCoreX86.msi.log we can see that UR1 for SBS Essentials is referenced, and installed.


Moving on you can follow a huge amount of detail in this log – far too much for me to interpret or comment on, but this will be the place to look if you get errors in your install at this point.

You may notice a reference to the other Colorado products..


(Cropped here to enlarge)


So NAS = Windows Storage Server 2008 R2… Nice.

You can follow the log file all the way though the installation of the Launchpad program and the setting up of things like allowing remote desktop to the machine. The other logs show the progress of individual tasks like adding of scheduled tasks or installing a backup driver. (not applicable on Windows XP)

When you have finished the installation, you will total 25 log files. The key ones for the installation have already been mentioned.


I hope that may of been some use to anyone struggling to find a reason why their connector may not install. If it doesn’t answer the question it may at least shed some light on where you can look for the answer. Of course failing that I have Susan Bradleys home address if you need it :p

Have a look at the links below if you need more specific help.

Client Connector Installation failures :  links to forums and known solutions

Please feel free to send me any solutions i don’t have, i want to have as many as possible!

These links, have been highlighted as answering the issues in the OP, i am not making any guarantee they will solve your issue, this is just somewhere to link them all together.

Microsoft’s Official Troubleshooting Resource For SBSE Connector

Microsoft Online Help

Pending File Rename

Susan Bradleys blog post

Trust Relationship (Time Zone Error / Certificate Policy)

TechNet forum post (Time Zone)

WeGotServed forum post

Microsoft Support KB Article 278381

TechNet forum post (Certificate Policy)

Username and Password Error

TechNet forum post (Username and Password)

Installation Cancelled

TechNet forum post (Installation Cancelled)

WeGotServed forum post Quick Fix: Installation Cancelled

Cannot Find ‘Temp Client’

WeGotServed forum post

Task Scheduler

Susan Bradleys blog post

Wiki Links

Official SBS Wiki for Client Deployment

SBS MVPs wiki for Client Deployment

General Tips

Check the system time of both the server and the client. Check the Time Zone matches as well.

You shouldn’t need to use a static IP on the client machine, but it might help during troubleshooting.

Check for the overall health of your client PC. You don’t need a client to be fully patched, nor does it need the latest browser (examples above are all from IE6) but you do need a ‘healthy’ client. If you are having problems, take a backup, use tools like CCleaner, MalwareBytes, Look for issues on the client that stop it running normally rather than an issue with the Connector itself. A good example of that is from Eriq Neale, who had an issue with a machine installing the connector, which he traced back to a screwed up Task Manager.

Tips for a Migration

I have also seen some success on migrated computers, which are already in the domain but won’t install the connector, by creating a new local user, making that account a local admin, and then running the connect installer as that person.

About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

28 Responses to Troubleshooting Client Connector Install : SBS2011 Essentials

  1. Jussi Palo says:

    Nice article, thanks! Haven’t yet solved the issue I’m experiencing but at least now I know how the log files are created and can find exact error message.

  2. Jay says:

    Good post, it has allowed me to get closer to reason for why I can’t reinstall the SBS 2011e connector on a W7 PC. I uninstalled it because it said the server was off line and the back up didn’t work.

    the error message says, my computer is already connected to a windows server.

    This the part of my log that seems to identify the failure.

    [1284] 120104.174620.9888: ClientSetup: Client is already joined to a Domain: ClientDomainNetBiosName = OCC
    [1284] 120104.174620.9888: ClientSetup: Client is joined to a different domain whose name is same as the server domain
    [1284] 120104.174620.9919: ClientSetup: Join Domain will not be Run

    Any suggestions on how to fix this would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Jay,

      I would guess that your machine is already joined to a domain.
      [1284] 120104.174620.9888: ClientSetup: Client is already joined to a Domain: ClientDomainNetBiosName = OCC

      So you would need to remove the PC from the domain, and make it part of a workgroup.

      If it is still joined to the Essentials domain, make sure you have removed the computer account from the Dashboard before you try to join again.

      Then run the Connector install again.

      Before you remove the PC from the domain make sure you know the local admin password.

      You can use the Forensit ProfileWizard to move your user profile if you are worried about losing documents.

      • Jay Ostema says:

        Hi Robert,

        Thanks for the reply! Your solution works, with in my case the consequences of backing up and restoring a profile that has some files that won’t pack with Forensit.

        Just to clarify this a bit; we are talking about a W7 PC that was on the same essentials domain (before and after), I reinstalled the server OS using the same server hardware & variables.

        So while the actual domain/name is the same SBSe thinks it’s from a different server. So when I first did this, the server file access worked, but not the backup and other components – it said the server was offline. It must be in the code of the DNS that give is a unique name verses the name we see.

        Thanks again!

        Best, Jay Ostema

  3. John Guerin says:

    Robert, Thanks for the great log advice It does help to shed light on my connector problem. I was able to connect my win7 desktop, but not this Win7 laptop. I tried everything to get it to connect, but all I keep getting is error code 1603, run msi returned error.
    can you help?
    John Guerin

    • I think from memory 1603 is just a generic MSI error.

      Please try to remove any c:\program files\windows server\ folders and try again.

      • John Guerin says:

        Robert, Thanks for the quick reply. There is no windows server folder in the program files. When I go to the network in the start panel I show my server, that either user can log into and get to the premade folders for saving data, yet I can’t get the connector installed. I tried all the suggestions on the internet with the same result, error 1603 the msi.exe problem.
        Any more thoughts on this?
        Thanks in advance.
        John Guerin

      • Can you use the Log Collector Tool, collect all of the log files and upload them to the web somewhere.

        I would also suggest you start a thread on the TechNet forum as firstly, more eyes will see it, and second it counts towards the metrics for how many issues people have with the connector.

  4. Chris Kinzel says:

    Hi Robert,
    I’m trying to install SBSE 2011 Connector on Win7 Home Prem. The log shows a FATAL but I haven’t a clue what it means. Can you point me in the right direction?

    [7544] 120607.184904.0270: ClientSetup: Network Join Client to Server: ClientComputerName=ENGINEERING1-PC ServerName=WOLFSERVER1
    [7544] 120607.184904.0270: ClientSetup: Maximum amount of joined machines: 30
    [7544] 120607.184904.0270: ClientSetup: Current amount of joined machines: 11
    [7544] 120607.184904.0270: ClientSetup: Running Network Join
    [7544] 120607.184904.0270: ClientSetup: Call MachineIdentity.GetCert
    [7544] 120607.184905.3374: ClientSetup: Exiting JoinNetworkTask.Run
    [7544] 120607.184905.3374: ClientSetup: Task with Id=ClientDeploy.JoinNetwork has TaskStatus=Success
    [7544] 120607.184905.3374: ClientSetup: Task with Id=ClientDeploy.JoinNetwork has RebootStatus=NoReboot
    [7544] 120607.184905.3374: ClientSetup: Exting ConnectorWizardForm.RunTasks
    [6900] 120607.184905.3374: ClientSetup: JoinNetwork Tasks returned TaskStatus=Success
    [6900] 120607.184905.3998: ClientSetup: !!!FATAL!!! Unhandled Exception: System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation. —> System.IO.FileNotFoundException: The specified module could not be found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007E)
    at System.Management.ManagementScope.Initialize()
    at System.Management.ManagementObject.Initialize(Boolean getObject)
    at System.Management.ManagementClass.GetInstances(EnumerationOptions options)
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.ClientSetup.WMIHelper.GetPropertyValue(String computer, String classPath, String username, String password, String propertyName)
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.ClientSetup.ComputerMgmt.GetLocalComputerDesc()
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.ClientSetup.ClientDeploy.ConnectorWizardForm.m_wizardPageComputerDescription_PageEnter(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Wizards.WizardForm.set_CurrentPage(WizardPage value)
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.ClientSetup.ClientDeploy.ConnectorWizardForm.SetNextPageAfterJoinNetwork(TaskStatus status)
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.ClientSetup.ClientDeploy.ConnectorWizardForm.c__DisplayClass7.b__6(Object worker, RunWorkerCompletedEventArgs completedEventArgs)
    — End of inner exception stack trace —
    at System.RuntimeMethodHandle._InvokeMethodFast(IRuntimeMethodInfo method, Object target, Object[] arguments, SignatureStruct& sig, MethodAttributes methodAttributes, RuntimeType typeOwner)
    at System.Reflection.RuntimeMethodInfo.Invoke(Object obj, BindingFlags invokeAttr, Binder binder, Object[] parameters, CultureInfo culture, Boolean skipVisibilityChecks)
    at System.Delegate.DynamicInvokeImpl(Object[] args)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.InvokeMarshaledCallbackDo(ThreadMethodEntry tme)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.InvokeMarshaledCallbackHelper(Object obj)
    at System.Threading.ExecutionContext.runTryCode(Object userData)
    at System.Runtime.CompilerServices.RuntimeHelpers.ExecuteCodeWithGuaranteedCleanup(TryCode code, CleanupCode backoutCode, Object userData)
    at System.Threading.ExecutionContext.Run(ExecutionContext executionContext, ContextCallback callback, Object state, Boolean ignoreSyncCtx)
    at System.Threading.ExecutionContext.Run(ExecutionContext executionContext, ContextCallback callback, Object state)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.InvokeMarshaledCallback(ThreadMethodEntry tme)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.InvokeMarshaledCallbacks()
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.DebuggableCallback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)
    at System.Windows.Forms.UnsafeNativeMethods.DispatchMessageW(MSG& msg)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Application.ComponentManager.System.Windows.Forms.UnsafeNativeMethods.IMsoComponentManager.FPushMessageLoop(IntPtr dwComponentID, Int32 reason, Int32 pvLoopData)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Application.ThreadContext.RunMessageLoopInner(Int32 reason, ApplicationContext context)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Application.ThreadContext.RunMessageLoop(Int32 reason, ApplicationContext context)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Form.ShowDialog(IWin32Window owner)
    at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.ClientSetup.ClientDeploy.Program.Main()

    Many thanks,

    • How is the client connected, Wi-Fi or Cable?

      Do you have .Net4 installed on that machine?

      • Chris Kinzel says:

        Client is connected by cable. I believe .Net4 is installed and current. Should I remove / reinstall .Net4?

      • Chris Kinzel says:

        I’ve tried removing / reinstalling .net4 with no success. Also tried removing .Net4 and letting the installer include it, no success. I’m still stumped by the same fatal error in the log above. Can you tell me what is missing, or if there is a brute-force way to install the connector on this client?

        Many thanks,

  5. Dee says:

    Really appreciate the information on log location — I know I’ll use that at some point and I did check it for this problem but didn’t get any ideas.

    I’ve deployed half dozen of these servers and have problems with only one … It is a new install and all clients are Windows 7 Home Premium. It was setup and the remote access … well lets say the server needed to be reinstalled (first time with the problem). I did uninstall the previous connector software. I gave the new install a different servername and IP address to avoid confusion. Now I cannot get the \servername\connect from client machines. I can get IPAddress\connect to bring up the download dialog but we want \servername. Any ideas?

    • What IP are the clients using as their DNS server?

      • Dee says:

        Before loading the Launchpad, it is set to automatic (I know the server will place itself as primary after that is loaded). As they have no credentials before the load, I didn’t try setting the server address (haven’t had to do that in any other installation). I did run the IPCONFIG /flushdns to get rid of the other server installation in case that was causing the issue. When viewing the LAN (where I’m having this problem), I can see the server, by name. I can login in as a terminal user using the IP address in the browser.

      • So, it is currently getting DNS IP from DHCP?

        Has the router been rebooted? name resolution before the connector is installed is done via the routers own cache, which is why it doesn’t always work.

      • Dee says:

        Yes — DHCP from router. Did reboot router a couple of times after the server was installed to no avail.

      • Well without knowing the setup and the hardware involved, i would still say the issue is likley to be the router.

        The only issue you have at this point, is name resolution. The client is currently using the router to provide name resolution.

        You could add an entry to the hosts file on one of the PC’s and get access to the server via name, however i have also tried to install the connector via the IP and that has worked as well.

        Getting to the connect page by name is not particularly important. Once you run the software, that has enough to detect the server using the Layer2 beacon.

        Or of course you could just set the DNS of the client to point to the server, as that is the result of installing the connector anyway.

  6. Dee says:

    With the IP address, it gave an “incorrect time” error on install.

    The router in place (Small Business RV180-W from Cisco, recommended by them) apparently has some issues with the stock and upgrade firmwares as of this date (found out after a lot of surfing and attempts to configure). Put on a Cisco EA4500 and it works beautifully.

    I guess if someone else is bumping into this, I’d suggest trying a different router first.

    Thanks for the blog. Good info source.

  7. Shawn says:

    I hope this helps others – after reading countless threads of the Connector install problem, I found removing instances of the .Net framework and reinstalling 4.0 and the 4.5 update resolved my Connector install problem.

  8. Lee says:

    This no longer seems to work with 2012 R2 as you can’t download the cab file, i’ve tried on 2 different sites with no luck.

  9. Marco says:

    I am wondering what the best practice is for adding a new (fresh OS install) Windows 10 Pro PC to my existing SBS 2011 Essentials domain. This will be a replacement PC for an existing user with a Windows 7 Pro PC. In the past, I was concerned about using the domain username (Joe) as the username for the local user account on the new PC, since it is not clear if the Connector is able to merge an existing local user account (username: Joe) with a domain account (username: Joe) upon installation of the connector without causing havoc.

    Therefore, with previous PC’s I’ve created a “setup” user (literally…a local admin account with username “setup”) and got Windows running/updated with this account, then ran the connector and used the domain username. Once running on the domain account, I deleted the “setup” local account, but there are a plethora of places in the registry where the first user is saved, and it isn’t a very clean way to do this.

    Do you have any suggestions for this? Moreover, should I create a “local” or “Microsoft” account in Windows 10 Pro before loading the connector?

    • Why go to th trouble of deleting the account?

      If you are worried about it from a security pov, disable it.

      If you are just setting up to get joined to the domain, I would use a local account.

  10. Deborah Wirick says:

    Hello Robert,

    I really appreciated your details on using the Client Connector. I was able to approach my client connection problem more logically after spending hours using the hit-and-miss method. Actually, what I thought was a client connection problem is turning out to be something different.

    I have Windows Small Business Server 2011 with Windows 7 clients. We have been using it for years, so I don’t understand why I’m all of a sudden having a problem. I have a network connection to a folder on my server and it is working correctly. I am able to display the file structure and read/write files, etc.

    But, working from the Explorer, if I click on Network, then click on the server icon, instead of displaying the file structure on my server, it opens the browser page for the Connector installation. I am no longer able to access the file structure on the server to create a new network drive connection. This is valid for all the machines on the network. I have administrator status.

    Likewise, if I try to connect a server folder as a network drive, when I select Browse, the server is not displayed, although it is connected to my machine and I have access to the files through a previous network drive.

    I have not overrun the number of licences allowed on the network (25 machines, 25 users). Either I don’t remember how to do this, or something is wrong. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: