I am trying to install SMTP Server feature in Windows Server 2012 R2. I am using "Add Roles and Features Wizard". After clicking the install button, it shows red circle with white "x".


I assume that it means that installation failed. However, I cannot find any reason why it failed. I've also checked Application, Setup and System logs in Event Viewer. But there is no record regarding the SMTP Server installation.

2 Answers 2


Try install it via powershell:

Add-WindowsFeature [name_of_feature]

This case: Add-WindowsFeature SMTP-Server


List of available you can get by Get-WindowsFeature

  • It's strange, but using PowerShell it was installed without error.
    – TN.
    Jan 8, 2016 at 7:19

Debating if I should try to open a new question, or just post here. This question was never answered. The question is - How do you figure out why the installation failed? I am currently experiencing the exact same issue on trying to add IIS to a server 2019 installation. The wizard immediately goes to the red X pictured above with no explanation for why the install failed and nothing recorded in the system or application event log. So I am looking for the answer to the question - "How to find out why Windows Server feature installation failed?"

I understand I can work around the issue by trying powershell, but would like this answer first.


UPDATE - As I noted in my comment, I was able to work around the issue by using the local server Admin account, rather than the Domain Admin. Upon examining closer, I found the issue is caused by the Domain Admin "Documents" folder being redirected to a network location. Learning this, a more targeted Google search of the problem led me to this article - https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/a440c2fa-5182-4b11-ad7d-f5eb3bef3e3e/installing-rolesfeatures-results-in-blank-error?forum=winservermanager

And, in case in the future that link dies, the article's solution stated the answer was to change the referenced path in the "Personal" value to a local path (ie: c:\users\Username\Documents) in the registry under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Since I had already completed my installation so I didn't test it, according to the article, you can make the change, and then run the feature installation without rebooting. I assume when you reboot or refresh the group policy, the value will change back to the network location (or you could just manually change it back after the Feature wizard is completed).

  • Just to help any others that stumble across this, I was able to add the role through server manager by logging in with the local server Administrator account rather than the Domain Admin account. Not sure why it made a difference, but it did.
    – bgrorud
    Nov 9, 2020 at 21:38
  • Please edit your answer to display your actual solution instead of the current content!
    – Stuggi
    Nov 10, 2020 at 13:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.