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Exchange Management Console pointing to wrong server “The attempt to connect to using "Kerberos" authentication failed”

01/11/2011 60 Comments

I came across this error during an Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging deployment. The EMC would not connect:

"The attempt to connect to using "Kerberos" authentication failed: connecting to remote server failed with the following error message : The WinRM client cannot complete the operation within the time specified.  Check if the machine name is valid and is reachable over the network and firewall exception for Windows Remote Management service is enabled.  For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic."

There are various blog posts on the internet around how to fix the connectivity problem to the server, but in this case the server EMC was pointing to had been decommissioned properly and was no longer listed in AD. EMS would connect fine to a different working server.

In my case I had to take two actions to fixed it.

Close EMC

Under C:\users\<specific user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\MMC\Exchange Management Console\ there is a config file. Delete it

In the registry under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Exchangeserver\v14\AdminTools\NodeStructureSettings delete the value NodeStructureSettings

Only after both of these are done, did the EMC correctly rediscover an active Exchange 2010 server. If one or there other is done, the incorrect server information is retained.

Also as a workaround I could add a “new” Exchange forest and connect, but I wanted to actually fix the issue.

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Tom Arbuthnot

Tom Arbuthnot

Principal Solutions Architect at Modality Systems
Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Unified Communications specialist Modality Systems. He is a Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, blogger, regular on The UC Architects Podcast, and speaker at events including Microsoft Lync Conference, TechEd and Ignite. He co-runs The Microsoft UC User Group London.
Tom Arbuthnot
Filed in: Exchange • Tags: ,

Comments (60)

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  1. wrx7m says:

    DUDE!!!! Thank you so much for this! I was going around in circles thinking that it was IIS or DNS. I ran the EMC troubleshooter and it came back without any errors. I have no idea why, but I get more corrupt profiles on this server than I have in my whole life. hal the time when I do a standard reboot, I get the nice message telling me that my profile is running in temp mode or whatever and I have to delete the registry key so it will allow me to create a new profile upon login.

    • Tom Arbuthnot says:

      Your welcome. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Always nice to know the blog posts are helping people.

  2. Elias says:

    The above fixed my EMC and it launches now, but the Shell still gets the same error. Any ideas?

    • Tom Arbuthnot says:

      Hi there, Nothing comes to mind off hand, can you start a thread on technet forums with the details. That is the best place to go. I will try to take a look there too.

  3. Ashwin frankie says:

    I had the same problem and followed this post and the problem is now resolved.

    Thank you kindly for this fix.

  4. Mark DeRosia says:

    This fixed the issue for me after searching for 2 hours. Thank you much for posting this. What a pain this was.

    Thanks again

  5. BaTor says:

    Thanks a lot. This post helped me a lot!!!

  6. Matt says:

    Thanks a lot dude. Your quick fix did it!!!!!

  7. Matt H says:

    Another thank you!!!

  8. Chuck Finley says:

    Outstanding Sir, out standing in the rain….. Hooah. Saved me a ton of time after a “server” rename to match the previous technicians certificate subject alternate names :) Kudos and thanks…..

  9. Wehnke Botha says:

    Unfortunately I was not as lucky as the above readers, my problem persists – been going though plenty troubleshooting guides from TechNet and the like, and about to pull my hair outta my skull.
    Any further ideas would be appreciated !

  10. Wehnke Botha says:

    I am actually going through some more guides – Technet thread will be next – what a pain !
    Also unable to open the Exchange Management Console for some reason..
    Will keep digging, but omw im getting short of temper now :'(

  11. Botha Thiart says:

    Thanks. Worked for me on server 2008 r2 standard and exchange 2010 sp2. will post a link to this on my blog if you dont mind. thanks

  12. Bunny Mack says:

    This help me too. EMC in my DR site was trying to connected to a server in Production site when the it was not accessable.

    My EMS worked fine.


  13. Jan Schutter says:

    Spot on! After removing an Exchange 2010 server I couldn’t start the Exchange management console on the other server (failed to connect to the removed server). This post fixed the issue!
    Many thanks!

  14. Gary E says:

    Your article saved me a ton of frustration. I banged my head on the wall for a couple of hours trying to figure out why my console kept pointing to a server that had been decomissioned.

    I even opened a trouble ticket with MS and the Exchange Engineering team had no clue. I can’t necessarily blame them. Exchange is such a monster and this particular issue appears to be uncommon.

    In any case, it’s a long shot but if you ever find yourself in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. I will buy you a beer.

    • Tom Arbuthnot says:

      Thanks for the comment

      My favourite comments are the ones that offer me beer :-)

      All the best


  15. Sunny says:

    Heyyy !! I had the same error. I perfromed the above operation but its not resolved .. Help me out please!! When again reconnet my EMC I get the same error again :S :S

    • Tom Arbuthnot says:

      Does the CP work in another server? Prob best to post a thread on Technet Forums and I’ll try to take a look. Thanks

  16. Cameron says:

    Thanks. I’m sitting here with a client (who’s annoying) and this popped up just at the end of a very long day. Your fix worked and I will soon be able to leave :)

  17. Simon says:

    Hallelujah! Eureka!


  18. Mark Robbins says:

    Thanks – worked a treat

  19. Mitch_J says:

    Perfection! We installed the first exchange server for a client and then they told us to rename the server. I uninstalled Exchange, renamed the server and reinstalled. After reinstalling, EMC was still using the old name. This fixed the issue perfectly.

    I owe you a beer.

  20. Bob says:

    Big Mahalos to you!!! :)

  21. Scott says:

    So I don’t see a config file I only see eventvwr, Exchange Mangement Console, and SerManager files in the C:\Users\administrators.Domain\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\MMC folder. I did not seem to have a Exchange Mangement Console folder. I did go into the registry and deleted the Node Structure settings and still not working. I now get the following.

    You cannot call a methos on a null-valued expression. It was running the command “discover-exchagnserver -User WIA $true -SuppressError $true -CurrentVersino ‘Version 14.1 (bulild 218.15)’.

    I did not delete the Exchange Management Console file that was present in the folder above. Should I have?

    • subrat debasisa says:

      This settings doesn’t work for me, I have a member server which is pointing to wrong server(UM server) while opening management console and it doesn’t open at all.

      Error is Initialization failed.

  22. Sylvia Nguyen says:

    Thank you so much for this! you took away alot of my frustration with this post.

  23. Ranjeet says:

    Thank you so much. It worked like a charm for me as well today.

  24. Eliezer says:

    High, thank you so much for this!!

    In my case did not solve the problem, but gave orientations to solve it!

    I had a support user with the EMC installed on a Win7 machine and hi got this error and after the procedures showed here, the problem was not solved, the Win7 keep finding the wrong address.

    What I did was export the registry branch “AdminTools” from the server, which opens the EMC correctly, delete it on the Win7 machine, and import the registry branch, voilá, worked as a charm!!!

    Many tnaks again :)

    • Ken says:

      This solution worked for me. I was installing the console on a remote computer and ran into this error. Tried deleting the console config and registry key and the error kept coming back. I exported the registry from the actual Exchange server and imported on the remote server. Worked!

  25. nigelh1980 says:

    Thanks for posting, i spent ages troubleshooting this issue

  26. Jonathan says:

    Thank you! Worked a treat!

  27. hi sir,
    I have one question ,,

    I have main forest in city and more servers in another city I have exchange server 2010 in the forest can I install exchange server 2010 in the other city with all rules and connect it to the main exchange server in the forest and how if it possible?

  28. Kashif says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks a lot, it saved my tons of time, just i renamed the below registry key. And it was working.

    In the registry under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Exchangeserver\v14\AdminTools\NodeStructureSettings delete the value NodeStructureSettings

    God Bless you!

    • Thanks for the comment :-)


    • thanks for comment!

      • gonden says:

        Hi, Tom:

        The problem is still on after I try your method. I have a Complex domain environment:one parent domain and four subdomain. There have diffrent mail server in this environment including:Exchange 2003\Exchange 2007\Exchange 2010. My local domain is upgrading Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. I follow you advice, and the result is when the Exchange 2010 initialized it will find another Exchange 2010 server in our forest. The normal is it can point to our local domain mail serve. So I don not know what I do to solve this problem. Thank a lot for your help!

  29. mohammad says:

    please i make the up steps without solved , please can help me to for this error :the following error occurred while searching for the on-premises exchange server, and i have problem on active dir

  30. Stefan says:

    Thank you! The trick with deleting the config file did it.

  31. Danny Callahan says:

    You are the master! I’ve been looking for days for this info – and it worked! Thanks

  32. mansoor says:

    Dear TOM

    i have same problem in DAG server one node given this below error. i did what you give the information above but still same problem… please help me !!!

    many thanks….

    Initialization failed

    The following error occurred while searching for the on-premises Exchange server:

    [server]Connecting to remote server failed with the following error message : The WinRM client cannot complete the operation within the time specified. check if the machine name is valid and is reachable over the network and firewall exception for windows Remote Management service is enabled. For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic. It was running the command “discover-ExchangeServer -UseWIA $true -SupperssError $true -CurrentVersion “Version 14.2 (Build 247.5)”.

    Click here to retry…

  33. mohamed says:

    Thank you very much !!

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