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Blackboard Help

Set Up the Hardware and Software on Windows on One or Two Servers

This section reviews the configuration steps necessary before installing Blackboard Learn.

Network File Share and Common Internet File System

Clients on UNIX platforms should use a network file share (NFS).

Clients on Windows platforms should use a common Internet file system (CIFS).

Required Hardware

Hardware Sizing Information for Windows Dell Environments and Hardware Sizing Information for UNIX Sun Environments detail several different hardware configurations based on performance, cost, and redundancy. Make sure that the planned hardware configuration meets the needs of the institution.

Required Software

For the exact versions of the operating systems, databases, and Java SE Developers Kit (JDK™) that are supported, see "Supported Technologies" in the Release Notes for the release that you are installing. It is critical that the software used to host Blackboard Learn meets requirements.

The supported version of the JDK can be downloaded at

If installing on multiple servers, download and install the JDK on each application server.

Make sure that the server or servers are dedicated to Blackboard Learn. Make sure that the server is not using valuable space and resources running unnecessary applications.


The correct version of the JDK must be installed on the application server and the JAVA_HOME environment variable must be set. The JDK installer first installs the JDK, and then installs the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Ensure that these are installed to different locations and that the JRE installer is not allowed to overwrite portions of the JDK.

Make sure that the path to the JDK does not include any spaces. For example, do not use C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_18. Instead, use C:\Java\jdk1.6.0_18.

Follow these steps to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable:

  1. Make sure that the correct version of the JDK is installed on the application server.
  2. Right-click Computer and select Properties.
  3. Click Advanced System Properties.
  4. Click Environment Variables.
  5. In the system variables list, find JAVA_HOME and click Edit. If JAVA_HOME does not exist in the system variables list, click New. A pop-up window will appear. The Variable name should read JAVA_HOME.
  6. Enter the full path to the JDK in the Variable value field. For example, C:\Java\jdk1.6.0_18.
  7. Click OK.

Note:  Click paths for Windows 2003 and SQL 2005 will vary slightly from the steps presented here for Windows 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

Confirm NTFS File System

Blackboard Learn will work only with the NTFS file system. It will not work correctly if the Windows file system is FAT32. Follow the steps below to confirm that the disk is using the NTFS file system.

  1. Double-click My Computer on your desktop.
  2. Right-click the drive where Blackboard Learn will be installed.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. The File system field must display NTFS. If it displays FAT32, consult the operating system documentation for steps to convert the drive to NTFS.
  5. Repeat these steps on each application server, the database server, and the file system server.

Confirm Windows Server 2003 Operating System Prerequisites

If using Windows Server 2003, the following requirements must be met before beginning:

  • Install the Windows 2003 Resource Kit and the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit on each application server.

    Download the Windows Resource Kit and the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit from Microsoft at

  • Install the SQL Server Client Tools on each application server.

    The Client Tools allow the application servers to communicate with the database. Without the Client Tools, the Installer will fail. After installation, if the Client Tools are not available, the application server will not be able to query the database or enter database transactions.

Confirm Windows Server 2008 Operating System Prerequisites

There is no Windows 2008 Resource Kit software package available from Microsoft for download at this time. The resource kit exists primarily as documentation for the Windows 2008 release.

There is no IIS 7 Resource Kit software package available from Microsoft for download at this time. The resource kit exists primarily as documentation for the Windows 2008 release.

SQL Server Client Tools needs to be installed on each application server.

Configure Windows Server 2008 IIS 7 Roles and Features

To learn more, see Configuring Windows Server 2008 IIS 7 Roles and Features.

Create a Domain User

Create a domain user (for example, "blackboard") that will have access to the application server, the file server, and the database server. This user must be part of the Administrators group throughout the setup and installation. After this user is created, use it to log in to the servers.

When installing on one server, the application server, file system, and database are all run on one machine.

Configure SQL Server Agent Startup

The SQL Server Agent must be running and set to Automatic startup for Blackboard Learn, where instance is the name of the database instance (blank for a default instance).

  1. Right-click Computer and select Manage.
  2. From the Server Manager, click Configuration and then click Services.
  3. Right-click SQL Server Agent (instance) and select Properties.
  4. From the Startup type drop-down list, select Automatic.
  5. Click OK.

Synchronize Server Clocks

Check the date and time on the system and make sure it is accurate and that the time zone is set correctly. If installing on two servers, check that the time on the application server and database server match. Remember that the servers may be in a different time zone than the users. The server time zone should be the same as the time zone used by the majority of users, instead of the physical location of the server. Blackboard Learn uses the server date and time to control the availability of time-sensitive materials. It is important that users have a clear expectation of when materials will be available and when assignments are due.

Windows clients connected to a Domain can check their time offset using the following command, where domain_name is replaced with your Windows domain: w32tm/monitor/domain:domain_name

Windows clients that are connected to a domain can force time synchronization using the following command: w32tm/resync


Blackboard Learn requires TCP/IP ports to communicate. The following list details the required ports and their default values. Make sure to configure server security and any firewalls to allow communication on the required ports.

  • Web server port (default value: 80): This port handles communication between users and the server.
  • Collaboration server TCP/IP port (default value: 8010): This port handles TCP communication for the Collaboration server. By default, TCP communication connects users to the Collaboration server.
  • Collaboration server HTTP port (default value: 8011): This port handles HTTP communication for the Collaboration server. HTTP is a backup if TCP communication fails.
  • Secure Web server HTTPS port (default value:443): This port handles SSL over HTTP communication between the users and the server. SSL capability is usually configured after the initial installation is complete.

Do not use a firewall to redirect ports. The internal port configured on the server must match the external port on the external firewall.


Keep in mind the following when connecting Blackboard Learn to the network:

  • Do not use underscores in the machine name for the server or servers. Some versions of Internet Explorer block cookies if the machine name includes an underscore.
  • Set up the DNS server to resolve server names.
  • Check with a network engineer to make sure that the network can handle the anticipated load after Blackboard Learn is made available to users.
  • An SMTP server is available so that the Installer can connect to it.
  • An SMTP server has to remain available when the application is running in order to deliver email notifications.


Keep in mind the following when installing and configuring Microsoft SQL Server:

  • Install SQL Server at the drive level. For example, C:\SQL Server.
  • Use Mixed Mode Security Authentication.
  • Make sure SQL Server is installed using a local account.
  • Blackboard recommends using the default instance name except when installing SQL Server in a failover cluster configuration. If the default instance name is not used, the instance name must not include any underscores, spaces, or punctuation. Use only alphanumeric characters.
  • If an instance other than the default is used, make sure that the instance is not case sensitive.
  • The SQL Server Client Tools must be installed on the application server. This is not necessary if Blackboard Learn is installed on just one server.
  • Blackboard Learn supports SQL Server failover. To learn more, see Set Up Database Clustering and Storage for Windows.