SharePoint: Installation fails

Recently, we had a lot of problems with the SharePoint 2010 install executable failing.  The exact error that we would get was “A system restart from a previous installation or update is pending.  Restart your computer and run setup to continue.”  We’d rebuild our virtual servers and test the installer and it would work, but then the next day it would fail.  Or sometimes it would fail that first time.  We were very confused.

The answer was hinted at here: SharePoint 2010 Installation.   There was a registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations
that had information in it.  The solution above suggested that you change the key name from PendingFileRenameOperations to PendingFileRenameOperations2.  That’s sloppy, in my not so humble opinion.

Now, the other folks had tried this solution in the past, with limited or no results.  The trick here was to figure out WHY that key had data in it.  Previously, they would do what the article suggested and the key would just be remade and refilled with information, stalling the installer again.  Being a sysadmin, I wanted to know what and why that key existed to begin with.  It was a short trip as it turns out.

The enterprise here installs a client on every machine to do data collection for inventory and software metrics.  The client is the Scalable Software, Inc Survey client.  That client locks a specific file and for whatever reason, throws it into that key.  Once we’d put that together, it was a simple matter of stopping the SSI Survey Client service, setting the service start to manual, and then rebooting the server.  After multiple servers, we confirmed that this was indeed the cause, and the solution.

So, the moral of the story is:  Don’t just delete registry keys and hope for the best.  Try and figure out what exactly is going on, because often times it’s easier to solve the why than the what.






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