Friday, November 6, 2009

Fix for 'The server name is invalid' error when installing Exchange 2007 Management Tools

You may receive the following error when installing the Exchange 2007 management tools on a computer:

The server name is invalid. It contains characters other than 'A'-'Z', 'a'-'z', '0'-'9' and "-".

While the error indicates that the problem is with the server, it's actually with the name of the local computer where the Exchange 2007 management tools are being installed. The most common reason for this I've seen is when there's a underscore "_" in the local computer name.

The fix for this is to replace the exbpa.prereqs.xml file on the Exchange Server 2007 installation source with the RTM version of the file.  Here are the steps to do this:
  • Download the RTM version of exbpa.prereqs.xml from this blog (right-click the link and choose Save target as...) and save it to a temporary location
  • Disable automatic updating for Exchange 2007 setup. Otherwise, setup will automatically download the most recent version of the file and replace it. Run the following command at the CMD prompt:
reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\ExBPA" /v "VersionCheckAlways" /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
  • Copy the exbpa.prereqs.xml file you downloaded earlier to the \setup\serverroles\common\en folder on your Exchange 2007 installation media.
  • Now run setup and install the Management Tools, as usual.  You will still see the same error message, as shown above, but you will see an Install button instead of a Retry button.
When the installation is complete, remove the VersionCheckAlways registry key to reenable the automatic update feature using the following command:

reg delete "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\ExBPA" /v "VersionCheckAlways" /f
Keep in mind that you may have to do this same procedure again in future update rollups and/or service pack updates.

1:55 PM