10 Tips for Installing the Lync 2013 Server Preview

This blog post details several tips and lessons learned with installing the Lync 2013 Standard Edition Server Preview in a lab – especially if you are installing it on Windows Server 2008 R2. Much of the content and information on installing the Lync Server 2013 Preview assumes you are installing it on Windows Server 2012 RC.

January 2013 Update: as far as I know, all the tips in this post apply to the RTM version of Lync Server 2013.

Tip – Use the Excellent Community Content Available for Installing Lync 2013 Sever Preview

When I started blogging about OCS 2007 many moons ago, there wasn’t much help available. The Lync community is now one of the most vibrant of any Microsoft server product.

Fellow MVP’s such as Matt Landis have excellent material to walk you through installing Lync 2013 server preview in a lab. I recommend starting with Matt Landis’ very good detailed multi-step series on his blog, starting with Part 1 here: Step by Step Installing Lync Server 2013 Standard Edition Front End on Windows 2012 – Part 1. Matt’s installation is done on Windows Server 2012 RC. These good step-by-step instructions will save you a lot of time.

Stale Hansen has a good overview post on Lync Server 2013 Preview features and how to configure them. When you reach the point of installing Persistent Chat, you’ll want to read Elan Shudnow’s excellent 3-part post on Persistent Chat: Lync Server 2013 Release Preview Persistent Chat with Enterprise Pool – Part 1.

Blogs such as Doug Dietterick’s have useful posts like the Issue when Installing Windows Identity Foundation on Windows Server 2012.

Also, if you run into problems and need help, there is a dedicated forum to the Lync Server 2013 Preview on the Microsoft Lync TechNet forums.

Tip – Make Sure the Local Windows Firewall is Enabled Before You Start

As you will see below, the Lync 2013 server preview installation process makes the assumption in several places that the Windows Firewall is installed, and several installation errors will occur if it is not enabled (or if the Windows Firewall service is not started).

Tips – For Installing on Windows 2008 R2 (including a Prerequisite Install Script)

The TechNet article “Additional Software Requirements” does a pretty good job listing all the prerequisite software you need to install for the Lync Server 2013 Preview:

  1. Installing Windows PowerShell 3.0
  2. Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5
  3. Windows Identity Foundation

The Internet Information Services (IIS) Perquisites section appears to be missing one IIS prerequisite for Windows 2008 R2 -the “Dynamic Content Compression” (I had to install it on my server – perhaps not required on Windows Server 2012 RC).

It is difficult to figure out that you are missing because the error message gives the whole IIS prerequisite list even though just one component is missing:


Here is a PowerShell script that will install the necessary IIS prerequisite components on Windows 2008 R2, the remote server admin tools to prepare AD, and the Windows Desktop Experience requirement:

# Install Prerequisites for the Lync 2013 Server Preview on Windows 2008 R2 x64-bit
# Curtis Johnstone – Aug 2012

Import-Module ServerManager

# This installs the Remote Server Administrative Tools which allow you to prepare AD
Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS

# MSMQ should be installed on the Front-End Servers
Add-WindowsFeature MSMQ-Server, MSMQ-Directory

# Requirements for IIS (including the missing dynamic compression)
Add-WindowsFeature Web-Static-Content,Web-Default-Doc,Web-Http-Errors,Web-Asp-Net,Web-Net-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Filter,Web-Http-Logging,Web-Log-Libraries,Web-Http-Tracing,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Filtering,Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Dyn-Compression,Web-Mgmt-Console,Web-Scripting-Tools,Web-Client-Auth

# Install the Windows Desktop Experience
Add-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience

Tip – Error “Update not Applicable to Your Computer” While Installing Windows PowerShell 3.0

If you download the Windows PowerShell 3.0 (via the Windows Management Framework 3.0 – RC link as outlined in the Lync 2013 Preview Additional Software Requirements), run it, and receive the error “This update is not applicable to your computer” try right-clicking on the downloaded update file (Windows6.1-KB2506143-x64.msu) and unblocking it (i.e. with the Unblock button under the Advanced button).

Note: when the file is still “blocked” will also generate the event log entry error “Windows update  could not be installed because of error 2149842967 “.

Tip – Prerequisite Installation Failure: WinFab, Failure Code 1603

During the Install or Update Lync Server System installation step, you might encounter this error:


This error is a real doozey and can lead you on a wild goose chase.  Let me save you a lot of time: it is likely caused by the native Windows Firewall being disabled (or the service not running).

I owe finding the solution to this excellent blog entry on debugging the infamous Windows Installation error code 1603: http://www.msigeek.com/715/how-to-troubleshoot-the-error-1603-fatal-error-during-installation.

Following this advice I manually invoked the WindowsFabricInstaller.msi from the Lync 2013 Preview installer setup files with logging enabled and then “Reviewed the contents of the log file immediately above the “return value 3″ string to determine which custom action or standard action failed.” and saw the problem:

CustomAction WixExecFirewallExceptionsInstall returned actual error code 1603 (note this may not be 100% accurate if translation happened inside sandbox)
Action ended 13:42:37: InstallFinalize. Return value 3

After starting the Windows Firewall service and re-running the local Lync install, everything worked.

Tip – Manually Create the Pool File Store Share for Lync before the New Pool Wizard Finishes

During the stage where install the new (and likely first) Front End server (which is just after you create & publish your topology), you will need to specify a file store for the Standard Edition Front End Server by supplying the file server FQDN and the name of the file share.

Although you specify the server and share here the wizard will not create it for you, and if you do not create it manually, the wizard will generate an error at the end.

So for a clean install, make sure whatever network share you specify here exists, and that everyone has read access to it.

Tip – During the Install up Update Lync Server System the Installer Cannot Connect to the RTCLOCAL SQL Instance


This is caused by either the credentials that you are using are not a Lync Administrator (i.e. member of the CSAdministrator group), or a side-effect of not having the Windows Firewall enabled during the Preparing of the first Standard Edition server.  The appropriate firewall rules for SQL were not added. You can prepare your first server again, or issue the following commands:

Creating firewall exception for SQL instance

> netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”SQL RTC Access” dir=in action=allow program=”c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.RTC\MSSQL\Binn\sqlservr.exe” enable=yes profile=any

Creating firewall exception for SQL Browser

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”SQL Browser” dir=in action=allow protocol=UDP localport=1434

Tip – Access Denied the First Time you Run the Lync Control Panel

On first run, you might get an access denied error when running the Lync Control Panel:


If you experience this, make sure that the current user you are logged in as, is a member of the the “CSAdministrator” group (members of this group can perform all administrative tasks in Lync Server 2013 (Preview)).

Tip – Get and Use the Utility “Profiles for Lync” Once your Lab is Installed

If you are like me there are potentially many Lync deployments you might want to connect to with your Lync client (e.g. a production Lync 2010 deployment, a Lync 2013 preview lab deployment, and Lync Online in Office 365).

This nifty Windows utility allows you to switch Lync persona’s with a single click – and it’s free.

See: Profiles For Lync – bounce between user accounts or systems with a single click!

This is a simple .msi installation.

Tips – For Installing the Monitoring and Archiving Role

As Matt Landis says, if you want to get up-and-running as quick as possible, install your Lync 2013 Server Preview Front-End first and the Monitoring and Archiving roles later.  However, if you do want to install them at the same time as your first pool, you should install an SQL Server instance first to house the Monitoring data. Here are some quick facts about the Monitoring store:

  1. Can be collocated on the Front-End server.
  2. The database needs to be the full version of SQL 2008 or SQL 2012
  3. A new SQL instance needs to be created (i.e. you cannot re-use the SQL Express instance of the Standard Edition back-end).

If you get the following error while deploying the Monitoring Reports:


…you likely selected the option during the SQL 2012 install to install the SQL Reporting Services (SSRS) but to not tconfigure it. Go back into Reporting Services Configuration Manager and ensure that:

  1. The Web Services URL is configured.
  2. The Report Manager URL is configured.

You can check that SSRS was successfully installed in your SQL instance by opening up SQL Server Management Studio and checking whether the Report Server database was installed (database name = “ReportServer$<instance_name>”).

Service Accounts for the SQL Monitoring Instance in SQL Server 2012

If you are using SQL Server 2012, the default service accounts worked for me:


The Monitoring Server Databases not Installed

It is important to remember that defining a new Monitoring SQL Server Store in the Topology Builder (and publishing the Topology) does NOT create the actual monitoring databases. Only after running the local “the Lync Install or Update System” in the Lync Deployment Wizard does the Lync bootstrapper create the LcsCDR and QoEMetrics databases.

In Matt Landis’ good blog article “Step by Step Installing Lync Server 2013 Monitoring Role Collocated on Standard Edition Front End – Part 2” the subtle Lync PowerShell command after publishing the Topology achieves the same thing:

> Install-CsDatabase –LocalDatabases

Make sure you don’t miss this step.

I had a couple of experiences where the monitoring databases (LcsCDR and QoEMetrics) were not created after specifying a new Monitoring SQL Server Store following the removal of an existing Lync 2013 Monitoring Store (and publishing the Topology and re-running the local Lync System Update).

In this case I was able to manually re-create them by using the Lync PowerShell command:

> Install-CsDatabase -DatabaseType Monitoring –SqlInstanceName <instance name> –SqlServerFqdn <FE FQDN>

The Archiving Databases Can be Collocated with the SQL Instance Used for the Monitoring Database

When you enable archiving on your Lync Pool, you can use the same SQL store (SQL Instance) as the Monitoring database.

Tip – Launching the New Lync Web App

The Lync 2013 Preview Web App is still focused on a meeting experience, so to view the Lync Web App you’ll need to attempt to join a Lync 2013 Preview meeting (either start a meeting and cut-and-paste the URL, or schedule one through Outlook).

If you have the Lync 2013 Preview Client installed, you can use the same shortcut as Lync 2010 to force the Lync Web App to launch: add a “?sl=1” to the end of the meeting URL, like this example:

> https://meet.<Lync Pool FQDN>/<user name>/DJLFH78H?sl=1

A smaller browser plug-in (LWAPlugin.msi) will be installed to get the full new audio and video capabilities in your browser.

Update: See my blog post “Office Web Apps Server in the Lync Server 2013 Preview” for more tips on installing the Office Web Apps Server.

Tip – Lync Control Panel Does not Load

If everything installed ok, but the control panel web page does not want to load vis-à-vis an error like this:


Check to make sure you have an DNS A record for your Enterprise Pool (e.g. pool1.domain.com).

To rule-out other problems try manually navigating to the admin Simple URL in IE (e.g. admin.domain.com).  You should also have a DNS record for your Simple URLs if you deployed them with the DNS method.

Tip – Check the Release Notes

Lastly, if you are encountering an issue, be sure to check the Release Notes for Lync Server 2013 Preview.

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