In true fashion, Microsoft goes and fixes FIM with SharePoint 2013 and then decidedly realised that there was nothing else that annoys SharePoint people so they developed a way of breaking things with another prerequisite product called AppFabric.

So, what does AppFaric do? Well according to Microsoft, you can read it all here.

For us mere mortals, it has to do with how Load Balancing works when having multiple front-ends. It keeps you going to the front-end that you logged into (they call it sticky sessions) and quite a bit more actually; cue caching. Great, now that we understand what it does, lets unpack what the annoyance is around installing, uninstalling and reinstalling it.

Firstly, do not, and i repeat, DO NOT install it manually. Yes, its an .exe. Yes, it has a modal based installer. Yes, there are a bunch of “next” and “ok” buttons but if you want to save yourself from excruciating pain, please for the love of all things sacred an holy, never double-click the .exe.

And if you do, what then, well it breaks your installation. You will have to jump through all sorts of hoops, which i will politely show you how to do later in this post.

Many of us, hate using the OOTB installer as there’s not much in the form of switches that you can use to customise your installation. Some of us have written our very own Powershell scripts but most of us have used the faithful and unapologetic autospinstaller. Unapologetic because it really is the daddy of all installers, EVER! The old version can be found here. And you can still slap the GUI on top of it. (although i havent tested it with the latest version of autospinstaller. Having said that, there’s also the online version which you can also use.

For those that have broken the install, lets look at the scenario’s, shall we.

“I ran the install of just the WindowsServerAppFabricSetup_x64.exe”

  • Hit the control panel and uninstall
  • Restart
  • Try again with either the official installer, or autospinstaller, or install the prerequisites through a scripted install which can be found here
  • If it still fails, grab the cleanup tool and follow the instructions here.
  • Try again. If it still fails, you may have to rebuild your OS.

“I’ve also run the AppFabric1.1-RTM-KB2671763-x64-ENU.exe”

  • Hit the control panel, then the updates, then check for the 2 possible installations of the update/CU. They generally do not install.
  • If the above doesnt work, try uninstalling as stipulated in the procedure above.
  • Ensure that you edit the registry and run the clean up tool.
  • Restart
  • Try again with the tools listed above.
  • Still not working, rebuild your OS.

Where does this leave us then.

  1. Never ever run the installation from the provided .exe’s. It does not work.
  2. Grab scripts that you are happy with, be it to build your DEV environment without a DC or for the other ones that actually have a DC.
  3. It will give you a better understanding of how the installation of SharePoint actually works, which is important for when you are troubleshooting.
  4. If you do have internet access to the server you are installing to, let it install the prerequisites, although, even if i have, i use autospinstaller for all my installs, except for that one time where i broke AppFabric, hence this mail.

Be Cool, my Ninja’s.