Thursday, March 8, 2012

Troubleshooting the .NET 3.5 Feature installation on Windows 8 Server Beta

If you attempt to activate the .NET 3.5 Feature on the new Windows 8 Server Beta, you might experience the problem that the feature installation wizard gets stuck at around 60% and eventually (after some 20 minutes) dies with a generic error “The request to add or remove features on the specified server failed”. Hovering the mouse over the error message in the new Notifications pane (rant: why isn’t there an easier way to see the full error message?) discovers a few more details about this error, namely that the installation sources for this feature could not be found and that you might specify them using the /source parameter. Huh?

It turns out that although I had my installation ISO attached on the D:\ drive, the installation wizard per default looks on the internet to download the .NET 3.5 installation sources and dies after a while if it fails for any reason (e.g. no internet connection, failed proxy server authentication etc.). So how can we install the .NET 3.5 feature using the sources on the installation drive?

One way would be to use the dism.exe command line tool and pass it the installation source folder using the “/source” parameter (remember the error message above mentionig /source? This is the one).

I opted to use PowerShell though, simply because the new PowerShell ISE is so sexy with its Command panel and the intellisense support Smile

So first, let’s look which Windows Features are there. Start the PowerShell ISE (rant: there’s no Start orb any more, so you’d have to press the Windows key on your keyboard to switch to the Metro Dashboard and simply start typing “PowerShell” –> the shortcut to the PowerShell ISE will be shown on the left side) and type the following:

PS C:\Users\Administrator> Get-WindowsFeature

This will give you a long list of features available on the server, along with their internal names and the install state. Scroll down the list until you find the feature with the display name “.NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)”. This is what I saw there:

[ ] .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)  NET-Framework-Core  Removed

See this “Removed” in red? Let’s try to fix it:

PS C:\Users\Administrator> Install-WindowsFeature -Name NET-Framework-Core -Source "D:\sources\sxs"

Replace the “D:\” with the drive where your Windows 8 Server installation is.

Shortly after that we’ll get:

Success Restart Needed Exit Code      Feature Result                               
------- -------------- --------- --------------
True No Success {.NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and...

That’s it. You can double check that it succeeded using:

PS C:\Users\Administrator>; Get-WindowsFeature -Name NET-Framework-Core

Display Name Name Install State
------------ ---- -------------
[X] .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) NET-Framework-Core Installed

Now go ahead and install SharePoint 2010 Smile