I’ve recently had a few issues with Office Web Applications (the other OWA). I’m of course referring to the versions that run on SharePoint. In all cases, the typical installation routine is to lay down the SharePoint code (either Server or Foundation), configure the farm with the Products configuration wizard, then install the Web Apps and run through the Wizard again. There are variations on this, and you can use Powershell instead, but in all cases, you need to run through the configuration wizard after you lay down the Office Web Apps code.
The problem arises when you start uninstalling stuff.
In the first case, I was working with an Enterprise farm, and I needed to uninstall the SharePoint bits completely, so I would then remove the server from the farm, uninstall the bits, and then re-join it. So I went ahead and did that,but hit a rather nasty error when I tried to reinstall the SharePoint bits – “The install in progress conflicts with a previous installed MS Office 2010 Server Product.”. It turns out that it was the Office Web Apps Installation that I hadn’t removed first.
No problem,right? I’ll just uninstall the Web apps and all will be good. Unfortunately, no. I went to Control Panel, Selected the Office Web Apps, selected Uninstall and got an error stating that Office Web Apps had already been uninstalled, and would I like to remove it from the list. Not cool. I eventually had to resort to hacking through the registry and removing references to the apps (it was a dev farm so no problem). The second time I did this (yes I know, fool me once shame on you….) I wound up having to re-stage the whole server.
So then logically, you should really make sure that if you’re going to uninstall the SharePoint bits, you need to be very careful that you remove the Office Web Apps beforehand (and run the Product Wizard).
This brings me to my next scenario. I was recently working for a client that had SharePoint Foundation installed, and wanted to search PDFs. It turns out that this isn’t possible with Foundation (it was in WSS with a registry setting), but you now need to install Search Server Express. No problem, it’s free, and it’s a better solution anyway. I downloaded it, and installed it, and guess what error I got? “The install in progress conflicts with a previous installed MS Office 2010 Server Product.”. Well, I’ve seen that one before. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Search Server Express doesn’t like installing on top of Office Web Applications.
This time, all I needed to do was to uninstall Office Web Apps. No problem, I uninstalled it from control panel and all looked good. I then ran the Products Wizard to make sure everything was going to be put back properly, and the first thing that it asked me was whether I wanted to create a new farm, or join an existing farm. Excuse Me?????
So here’s the other big thing to note. If you uninstall Office Web Apps, it will remove the server from the farm. It might have been nice to know that ahead of time. Luckily, it was a complete install, and I had all of the necessary credentials handy including the farm passphrase.
In case you’re wondering, yes, Office Web Apps went back on top of Search Server Express just fine.
So just to recap:
1. Never, ever, uninstall a SharePoint 2010 product is the Office Web Applications are installed
2. You can’t install Search Server Express on a server with Office Web Applications already installed (they can be installed after)
3. Removing the Office Web Applications removes the server from the SharePoint farm.