It took me far longer than I care to admit to figure out how to successfully install Sharepoint 2010. I spent hours searching Google, giving up, trying stuff on my own, and going back to Google. My major symptom was a "successful" install but the web administrative interface was simply a white screen, no errors, absolutely nothing.
I tried everything I could think of, including creating my own tested and working website and copying over the sharepoint files into it. But the best I could ever do was generate a 500 error (better than a blank screen at least) as soon as the sharepoint web.config file was in the website folder. This entire time I had focused almost exclusively on the website as being the source of the issue, it wasn't until I tried to uninstall (again) that I started thinking down another path. This time the uninstall failed with the error:
Microsoft SharePoint 2010 uninstall did not complete successfully.This started me thinking about it's dependency on office. I had always known Sharepoint was heavily integrated with office, but I had always assumed it was an optional feature, akin to a plugin.
One or more required OFFICE components failed to complete successfully. For more information consult the setup file.
Finally I happened on Marek Suscak's blog and was able to commensurate that I had gone through many of the same failed steps. Although in my case most of the steps simply didn't apply as the values were already set to whatever the recommended fix was. I had already installed a Complete, rather than stand-alone, instance, and I had giving it a domain account to run under.
As a result of Marek's blog post I ended up with a copy of office installed on the server. Sharepoint claims it does not require office to run, however the install must have fixed some of the other prerequisites that either installed corrupted or that I had tampered with because the sharepoint configuration wizard was able to get past the first couple of screens now. However, it was still hanging on the IIS screen saying it was not installed; even though I had multiple sites running on the server.
A refreshingly fast search later I came upon a technet forum in which someone was having the same issue, and down at the very bottom, the very last suggestion was to install the legacy IIS 6 Management Compatibility features, I tried it and like magic my sharepoint admin site was suddenly working.
There are all sorts of things I could complain about in this install, although the worst part of it all was simply the total lack of error messages. Even the log files didn't show anything that stood out. Considering Microsoft's big push with .NET to give detailed error messages it felt like I had been thrown back to windows 95 days.
However, I think all of it could have been avoided if the prerequisites installer were simply better. Either it failed, or I failed to install all the prerequisites; however it gave me a clean bill of health when I was done. Obviously it missed a couple of very critical components.