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Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete

You have to update Exchange Server to a newer CU build to get the latest security fixes and changes. In our example, we are updating Exchange Server 2016 CU17 to Exchange Server 2016 CU18. After running the setup, an error shows up that the prerequisite analysis FAILED. Why did the Exchange Server setup fails, and how to solve the Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete error?


Before we start, it’s good to know that we have a multidomain Active Directory forest. There are two options to install Exchange Server CU:

  • Setup wizard (GUI)
  • Unattended mode (command line)
If you run the setup wizard, it will prepare the schema and Active Directory automatically for you. If you want to use unattended mode, you first have to prepare Active Directory and domains.

Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete

We did download the Exchange Server CU ISO from Microsoft. After that, mount it to the Exchange Server. If we don’t, we can’t run the commands to update Exchange Server to the newer build.

At first, we did run the setup wizard (GUI), and the Exchange Server setup fails. After checking the logs, we can see that it fails at Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check.

We like to see what will happen if we do prepare the schema with Command Prompt. We did start the command prompt and ran the /PrepareSchema command. It shows the error Prerequisite Analysis FAILED.

After running the command, the output is giving us errors.

  • Prerequisite Analysis FAILED.
  • The Active Directory schema isn’t up-to-date, and this user account isn’t a member of the ‘Schema Admins’ and/or ‘Enterprise Admins’ groups.
  • Setup encountered a problem while validating the state of Active Directory.
  • The forest functional level of the current Active Directory forest is not Windows Server 2003 native or later.
  • Either Active Directory doesn’t exist, or it can’t be contacted.
  • The Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete. More details can be found in ExchangeSetup.log located in the <SystemDrive>:\ExchangeSetupLogs folder.

Why are we getting this error, and what is the solution for Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete?

Check the prerequisites

You have to check the above notices one by one. It does not mean that all of them are wrong, maybe only one of them.

User account membership

Check that the account has the following permissions assigned in Active Directory:

  • Enterprise Admins group membership.
  • Organization Management group membership.
  • Schema Admins group membership.

Exchange Server setup operation didn't complete membership

If you have multiple domains, check the account in both Active Directories.

Forest functional level

To update Exchange Server, the forest functional level of the current Active Directory needs to be Windows Server 2003 or later. Use Get-AdForest cmdlet in PowerShell to check.

Domain functional level

Run Get-ADDomain cmdlet to check the domain functional level.

FSMO roles

Check the FSMO roles. Run Command Prompt as administrator and run the netdom query fsmo command.

Solution for Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete

Now that we gathered all the information, we can tell why the error shows up, and the Exchange prerequisites failed.

It didn’t work because we did run prepare schema and prepare AD from the Exchange Server. The Exchange Server is not in the domain alitajran.local. But, it’s location is in the domain exoip.local. The prepare schema and prepare AD commands need to run on a computer that is a member of the domain and site that holds the schema master. In our example, the schema master role is installed on DC01.alitajran.local.

The solution is to run these steps:

  1. Prepare schema on a computer that is on the same domain and site as the schema master.
  2. Prepare AD on a computer that is on the same domain and site as the schema master.
  3. Install Exchange CU upgrade on Exchange Server.

Prepare schema

Sign in on a client who is running in the forest. In our example, the forest alitajran.local. Download the Exchange CU ISO or copy the files from the Exchange Server to the computer. In our example, we copied the ISO from Exchange Server EX01 to MG01. The MG01 is the management server, and it’s running in the forest alitajran.local.

Start Command Prompt and prepare schema. Confirm that it’s successfully prepared.

Read more: Check Exchange Schema version with PowerShell »

Prepare AD

Prepare Active Directory and confirm that it’s successfully completed.

Upgrade Exchange Server CU

The next step is to go back to the Exchange Server. Run the command to start the upgrade.

We did install Exchange CU successfully. The next step is to reboot the Exchange server. After it’s up and running, we will test that the Exchange services are running and that the mail flow is working.

Keep reading: Exchange setup failed to install error code 1619 »


In this article, you learned why the Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete. It’s because the prerequisites failed. In our example, the schema master was in a different domain and site.

Connect to a computer that is in the same domain as the schema master. Run the prepare schema and Active Directory commands. Next, run Exchange Server setup on the Exchange Server. No more Exchange server setup fails error; it will install as expected.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Install Exchange Server 2016 step by step with GUI. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.



ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

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