Thursday, August 31, 2006

Looking to run Vista RC1 on SBS 2003?

Look no futher!

[Updated to include x64 Vista clients on 9/19]

Our Client Deployment PM, Becky has put together a little guide to help you through the pop-ups, errors and just down-right confusing steps...

With the release of the pre-RC1 32-bit Vista, we thought we’d update you on what the known issues are for joining a Vista client to an SBS 2003 SP1 or SBS R2 network. Of course, if you just want to manually join the Vista client to the SBS domain w/out using our tools, that is also supported. You just won't have the SBS-specific client customizations.

How to join the pre-RC1 32-bit Vista client to SBS
The known issues and workarounds for when you try to deploy applications using the SBS tools and for when you actually join the client to the SBS network using the SBS tools are described. This will not be the user experience once we release an update to our tools.

Create your user and computer account on the SBS Server
At the SBS server, create the user and computer accounts using the SBS tools (eg. run the Add Users and Computers task on the To Do List).

  1. Choose a computer name – if you choose a name different from the existing Vista client name, it will be renamed when it is joined to the domain

  2. Select client applications to deploy

    • Client Operating System Service Packs – this cannot be deselected, but it won’t be installed anyway because it’s for Windows XP and Windows 2000.

    • IE 6.0 – you can deselect since IE 7 is on Vista – leave the Advanced Client Computer Settings for IE selected to have SBS home page and favorites still set

    • Outlook 2003 – deselect if running Office 2007 – leave the Advanced Client Computer Settings for Outlook profiles settings selected to have SBS settings for Outlook 2007 configured

    • Shared Fax Client - you can deselect since Fax client is on Vista – some of the fax settings in the Advanced Client Computer Settings will be configured, but some will not. If you select this, it won't hurt anything, but you'll get an error that it cannot install during the Client Setup Wizard.

  3. Mobile Client and Offline Use page

    • Connection manager – for 32-bit, this will work

    • ActiveSync 3.8 – don’t bother selecting. Vista has a newer version included. If you select this, it won’t hurt anything, but you’ll get an application compatibility error when it tries to deploy and it won’t install.

*Note: If you're running ISA 2004 on your Server, please make sure to read the ISA Specific Blog Post before continuing

Join the Vista client to the SBS network
Until we release an update to our tools, you will need to do several workaround steps to use the SBS tools to join a Vista client to the SBS network.

  1. Connect the network cable for your Vista client to your SBS network

  2. Log on to the local Vista client as the restricted administrator account that was created during Vista Setup.

  3. Find an IE icon, right-click it (eg – there is one on the taskbar), and then click “run as admin” (this is a workaround for a known bug with our ConnectComputer page and IE protected mode)

  4. Accept the User Account Control (UAC) prompt

  5. Browse to http://computername/ConnectComputer

  6. If you haven’t done so already, answer the questions on the IE first-run page about anti-phishing, etc.

  7. Click the intranet information bar (gold bar) prompt and Enable intranet settings. (note – the intranet settings are automatically enabled after you join the domain anyway, but you have to do it now or ConnectComputer won’t work)

  8. Click Connect to the network now

  9. Click Install for the security prompt that appears for if you want to install SBS software.

  10. Complete the SBS Network Configuration Wizard. You cannot select a profile to migrate – this is a known issue.

  11. Accept the prompt to restart (so we can join your computer to the domain). At the logon prompt (ctrl+alt+delete) you may need to switch users and then logon using the account that you just assigned to this computer.

    • Click Switch User, and then click Other User

    • Enter username and password for SBS user just assigned to the computer

    • Accept the UAC prompt for the SBS client setup (there is a WSBS window minimized and flashing that is a UAC prompt).

      Note – if you don’t accept the LUA prompt before a timeout period, the application returns an error that it has timed out. If that happens, you’ll need to log off and then log back on.

  12. x64 Vista clients have to do these additional steps. non-x64 clients can skip this step.

    • UAC will ask for an account name. You need to click the LOCAL admin account and then enter the password. As soon as you enter this, you’ll need to enter your domain credentials for the user account that you are adding to the computer (the SBS domain admin account works fine too).

    • Click OK to the warning that the Client Setup Wizard couldn’t delete a special account created to migrate user settings.

    • Click the Pearl button (the new name for the Start button), point to Computer, and then right-click and click Manage.

    • At the UAC prompt, click the LOCAL admin account and then enter the password.

    • Double-click Local Users and Group and then click Groups. Double-click Administrators. Click Add, and then enter the name of the SBS domain account(s) that you are adding to the computer. You’ll then need to enter the Network Password for the domain user account that you are joining to the domain (the SBS domain admin account works fine too).

    • Click Users, and then delete the _sbs_netsetup_ account.

    • Log off and then log back on using the user account assigned to that computer.

    • The computer does another reboot and then you need to log on again.

  13. Click Start now to start the Client Setup Wizard – depending on what you selected for the client applications to deploy and depending on the applications, some applications will install/configure

    Note - If you selected to install a printer that requires a driver, you’ll need to accept the UAC prompt.

Post-SBS Client Setup tasks
We have a few of our custom client settings that won’t get configured. Here are a few workarounds.

  1. Manually set a few Windows Firewall settings

    • Start, search for Firewall, and then click Windows Firewall

    • Click Change Settings and then accept the UAC prompt

    • Click Exceptions and then enable both Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop

      Note – there are some other Group Policy settings from the SBS domain that aren’t being applied, but you can still work.

  2. Using OWA – you’ll need to install the hotfix for KB article 911829 on the SBS server.

  3. If you’re using Outlook 2003, you’ll need to accept the prompt for making Outlook the default mail client.

  4. If you are using Fax on your SBS server and use the new Vista Windows Fax and Scan, you’ll need to set the fax server the first time that you send a fax.

  5. Turn off the logon script for your user account if you don’t want the UAC prompt every time you log on. Basically, at each logon we are resetting some SBS custom client settings which results in a UAC prompt to allow us to do this (yes, we’ll fix this). If it annoys you, turn off the logon script for the user account that you are using to logon to the Vista client.
Note, if you are running the Premium version of SBS w/ ISA 2004, the ISA Firewall Client currently has compatibility issues w/ Vista. See KB article 911077.

Non-joined Vista clients accessing SBS
If the Vista client isn’t joined to your SBS domain, but you want to use Vista with either Outlook over the Internet (aka RPC over HTTP) or Remote Web Workplace (aka RWW) and you have a self-signed certificate, you’ll need to add the cert to the client as follows: Find an IE icon, right-click it (eg – there is one on the taskbar), and then click “run as admin”. Browse to RWW and install the cert in the trusted store.

That's all there is to it!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Sean,

Now that we are no longer pre-RC1 but rather RC1 will you be updating this information further? I ask this as I tried to join a Vista RC1 client to my SBS 2004 Prem w/ ISA 2004 domain and came up empty. Retraced, retried, and reverted to joining the ol' fashioned way. Thanks also for noting the ISA firewall client issue and the SBS login prompts annoyance - for me it is failing to also install Active Synch BTW.

Regards - Dale

Sean Daniel said...

The steps are the same for Pre-RC1 as they are for RC1, no update neccessary.

Anonymous said...

I am daring to attempt this once again. BTW this article still contains the Title "How to join the pre-RC1 32-bit Vista client to SBS" though it applies to RC1 & presumably RC2 too.

Ths Connect To tool didn't like my workstation having multiple enabled NICS; I disabled all the NICS not involved with the SBS connection and now the error window is gone. The tool is going to restart this machine so I must end this comment. Thanks Sean

Sean Daniel said...

Yes, it applies to all versions of Vista post RC1 (that's RC2 and RTM, which of course you don't have yet. :) )

Just as a reminder, we'll be releasing an update shortly that will make these steps much easier, and much more like the old process.

Anonymous said...

Now that we all have RTM (Technet and MSDN anyway)...... When can we expect updated SBS2003 tools for Vista?

Sean Daniel said...

The update patch is almost finished, it was timed with the release of the CDs, not Technet.

Sorry for the confusion

Anonymous said...

So that means Nov 30? I guess I can wait 3 more days....

Sean Daniel said...

Umm, I think Vista will be out in mainstream channels by January.

The blurb from the Roadmap FAQ on states it's planned for this.

Plus, our Client Deployment PM just confirmed it. Sorry, you'll have to wait a little longer than 3 days. :(

We are working as fast as we can.

Sean Daniel said...

Here is some more information. The Vista Release in November is for Volume Licensing folks only, the actual retail version, which is what we're targetting is in Janurary..

Microsoft announced November 30 availability of Windows Vista and Office 2007 for its volume licensing customers. The company says that because more than 50 percent of small businesses shop at retail stores for their software, it decided to extend its Open Business and Open Value offerings -- which include the kit -- to CompUSA customers.

Here’s from the Vista main site - Microsoft has announced that Windows Vista will be broadly available as a stand-alone product or pre-installed on new PCs on January 30, 2007.
Windows Vista will be made available to Volume License customers later in the month of November 2006.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the updates on this critical information.

Perhaps I'm misreading your information but it sounds like you're saying Microsoft is releasing Vista for SBS (& other) Volume Customers (the one's we are being encouraged to sign up for the Desktop SKU) but the tools needed to make those desktops connect to the SBS domain aren't yet ready. So we now have to stall our customers for a month or so or install each workstation using the workarounds you've previously posted. Please encourage those elves. ...ugh

Sean Daniel said...

Hehe, the elves. nice. :)

Maybe I wasn't clear, there is not a specific sku of Vista for Small Business Server. I personally have Ultimate running at my house, joined to my domain. I know the other business skus will work too.

The SBS product team is releasing an update for SBS 2003 to make the client deployment (http://server/connectcomputer) to function on Vista, as well as migrate profiles.

Hope this helps clear things up.

Anonymous said...

Hi, guide worked like a charm for me on RTM. Only issue I have is with WSUS, my updates have been disabled and are configured to run through WSUS, how do I turn this off? I've tried removing my client computer from the computer list in WSUS but still no luck?

Sean Daniel said...

Vista works like Windows XP, when connected to an SBS R2 server, it will pick up the group policy from the server to get updates from WSUS locally. Unless you turn off the group policy, or apply a WMI filter to restrict the Vista from getting updates, it's going to get updates from the local WSUS.

However, why do you *not* want to have Vista get the latest updates from WSUS? The patches will come through the WSUS server for Vista, and you'll be up and secure.

Anonymous said...

I run a SBS2003 network at home connecting my 6+ computers locally. I find that at this moment, the best is just to join the computers to the domain manually and not use the wizards.......

Just hope that you have everything set in your GPs :)

Sean Daniel said...

That's exactly correct, the Vista Update will ensure the GPO policies are in place, because the Windows Vista Firewall is different than the Windows XP firewall.

Coming to a download site near you in January!

Anonymous said...

Gee it sure would be nice to have is by X-Mas how about a present?

Sean Daniel said...

That would be awesome wouldn't it?


Unknown said...

Hi Sean! Hello from Paraguay!

I´ve been reading all thoose comments, and they are ok.

But, i am having a diferent situation here.

When i try to join one laptop using Vista, its displayed this message "You should be part of the local security administrator, to do it."

Some comment about it??


Unknown said...

sorry.. it was "You should be part of the local security group, to make change."


Sean Daniel said...

Hi Edgar! Hello down in Paraguay.

Make sure your server has the Vista update from Microsoft Update first.

This error means that the local user you are running on the Vista client is not a member of the local administrators group. Make sure you add this user to the local administrators group. you can do this by right-clicking My computer and choosing Manage, then adding them to the "Administrators" group.

hope this helps!

Unknown said...

Hello Sean!! by the way, where are you??.. Thanks for the comment!..
oh, check about, and i found that the administrator account was disable, that was the issue! jeje

I had an administrator profile on that laptop, but without privileges.. ;) (gggrrrr)

So, i turn on the account, and that solved the issue. Now, i have the laptop joined to the local SBS Domain, without trouble..

Thanks for your attention! :)

Sean Daniel said...

Glad it all worked out. I'm here in the US, the state of Washington, on Microsoft main campus. :)

All the best ...

Unknown said...

Oh great!!.. nice to hear that!! Sean!..

how do you get there??.. jeje

almost forgot, do you know a tool, wich i can use to control the network traffic?, user by user??


Sean Daniel said...

you're looking for SBS Premium Edition, which includes ISA 2004. That's the only Microsoft way of controlling traffic on a per/user basis.

Unknown said...

yes! ISA 2004! i have that one!.. Brings to me a useful report, but i needing another tool for that purpose. Do you know it??...

I am having a litle issue with the OWA, could you give a hand with this too??

Unknown said...

I solved this alone!.. jojo

Unknown said...

Are these posts still relevant? I have an SBS 2003 Server and I just installed VISTA Ultimate. When I log in I get a compatibility issue with \\server\clients\setup\setup.exe. Should I still be joining the domain this way?

Sean Daniel said...

Nope, just install the Vista update from Microsoft Update and you can use the connect computer as you stated above.


Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,
I have a VistaBusiness/SBS2003R2/ISA2004SP3 issue . . . can't run connectcomputer. The detail is currently on a blog at

As you can see we are drying up a bit and I still have not connected the Vista box to the SBS domain despite applying all of the hot fixes available. My SBS server will allow me to add an XPpro box to the domain.

Can anyone through some light on this.???

Anonymous said...

. . .Aah but you all may not be able to read the blog if not members so here is summary.
Hi folks,
I have an SBS2003R2 premium server running ISA2004SP3 with predominantly XPSP2 workstations. I have a brandnew laptop with a clean install of Vista Business that I want to connect to the SBS domain.
I have read and performed all of the hotfixes and KBs in KB926505 but I still cannot connect to the domain.

I run http://servername/connectcomputer and then get the certificate error (this is expected accordeing to the KB) I continue to the website and get the Network configuration window (so its resolving to the server\connectcomputer) If I click on 'connect to network now' I'm asked to run nshelp.exe so I click 'run' as instructed. I click continue at the user account control and get the error:

An error occured while trying to copy the client setup files. Check the following and try again:
If you use a public proxy server to browse the internet, clear the Internet Explorer connection setting for using a proxy server. To do this . . . ..
If you do not have a public proxy configured for the internet explorer, then your network administrator must reinstall the client deployment component on the server. To do this from add and remove programs run windows small business server setup in maintenance mode and then run client setup again.

I cleared the proxy server setting in IE (was configured after I installed the Vista ISA2004 FW client as part of the KB926505 changes) Still no joy. I have check the permissions in IIS for the connectcomputer and all seems OK (scripts only permission for folder)

Can anyone throw any light on this. I see the Mr Lee from MS has had a go but there is no conclusion despite many others stating they have the same problem.

Sean Daniel said...

Hi Trevor,

These steps don't really apply anymore. Microsoft has released an update for SBS 2003 to allow Vista RTM clients to join the network with or without ISA. Have you made sure your server has all available updates for it from Microsoft Update (not Windows Updated).

Also, what is the behavior if you try to join the Vista client to the domain manually?

Anonymous said...

hows this for a painful one ...

Setup an SBS R2, applied all updates through WSUS, including vista specific patches.

Connect Vista business client, successfully join the domain. Reboot, test everything working ok, including outlook 2007 with exchange. The client needs to apply 30 or so updates microsoft pushes out. After updates, clients can no longer surf the net, nor access exchange. Seems DNS related .... Driving me crazy