OWA broken on Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 – Red X appear instead of Web pages

Installing Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 or 2008R2 is slightly different than installing on Server 2003. This includes installing Exchange 2007 SP3 on Windows 2008R2 since the pre-requisites that were taken for granted now need to be installed explicitly, especially concerning IIS.

I had an annoying issue on OWA, where instead of seeing the OWA pictures I would have expected, I saw red X’s. After perusing various avenues, including authentication, IIS config, etc, it boiled down to a simple missing prerequisite – the ability for IIS on Server 2008 to serve static content.



The build guy missed out the pre-requisite, so how to install is after the OS and Exchange are already installed? Quite simple actually –

  • Install the missing role
  • uninstall the CAS role via the GUI or the command line
  • reinstall the CAS role


In order to keep the post short, I’m posting the command lines versions only.

The command line to install the static Content Compression role is

ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Dyn-Compression


Uninstall the CAS role via the GUI or the command line:

setup.com /mode:uninstall /role:c

Reboot the machine and re-install the CAS role via the GUI or the command line

setup.com /mode:install /role:c

OWA started working 🙂 Happy troubleshooting.

Nicolas Blank

Nicolas is an Architect, author, and speaker focused on all things Exchange and Cloud at NBConsult. With over 16 years of experience on Exchange, Nicolas consults to customers globally on cloud based and on-premises Exchange as well as ISVs building Exchange focused products. Nicolas has extensive experience using Azure to create public and private Azure based offerings leveraging cloud based principles and common sense. Nicolas currently holds status of MCM Exchange 2010, Office 365 (Microsoft Certified Master), MCSM Exchange 2013, and has been awarded Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for Microsoft Exchange since March 2007. Nicolas has co-authored "Microsoft Exchange Server 2013: Design, Deploy and Deliver an Enterprise Messaging Solution," published by Sybex. Nicolas blogs regularly on Exchange and messaging topics at blankmanblog.com, tweets at @nicolasblank, and is the founder of and a contributor to IT Pro Africa itproafrica.com and @itproafrica

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