RPC server: what should you do if the RPC server is unavailable?

Perhaps you were trying to install some hardware, and during the setup process you got the error message “The RPC server is unavailable”. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common occurrence, particularly in Windows 10. However, the problem is easy to fix. Before we explain how to resolve the issue, let’s take a look at what the error message actually means, and what consequences it has.

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What does the RPC server error message mean?

The RPC server error is also known by its error code: 0x800706BA. It is a straightforward communication problem caused by complications in exchanging data between two machines in a network or two processes on the same computer. In Windows, for some processes to run correctly, data has to be exchanged between a client and the server. Windows processes and components (clients) communicate with a server using what’s known as a Remote Procedure Call (RPC). The RPC server usually launches automatically when the computer is started up.

To execute a service or process, the client must first ask the server exactly where the service is located. You can imagine RPC communication to be like checking into a hotel: you (the client) want to check in, so you ask the receptionist (the server) for your room number and key card. If the information is exchanged successfully, you will know where your room is and be able to check in without problems.

If the RPC server does not answer the client, then the requested process cannot be executed. This generates the “RPC server is unavailable” error message. The most common causes are problems with the network itself, or the blocking of data traffic by a firewall. If the RPC server does not answer, some programs will no longer open properly and you will no longer be able to install or set up hardware or software.

How to fix the RPC server error

Fortunately, the error can be resolved easily and quickly. You just need to restart the service.

  • From the Start menu (Windows symbol) open the Control Panel.
  • Select “Administrative Tools” and then “Services”. Alternatively, you can enter “Services” in the search bar.
  • Find “DCOM Server Process Launcher” in the list and double-click to open it.
  • You are now in the configuration menu for the RPC server. Ideally, the “Startup type” should be set to “Automatic” and the “Service status” should show “Running”. If this is not the case, set the “Startup type” to “Automatic” and click the “Start” button under “Service status”. Click “OK” to confirm.
  • Now close any programs you have running and restart your computer.

The last step is especially important because once you have set the “Startup type” to “Automatic” when the RPC server starts up, the processes that were called up previously will start automatically and all of the required connections will be established. You should now be able to open programs and install and set up software and hardware without any issues.

How to keep the RPC server running

To prevent the problem from reoccurring, check your firewall settings to see whether RPC data traffic is being blocked. If you use a third-party firewall, check the appropriate settings. If you use the Windows firewall, open the Control Panel and search for “Windows Firewall”. In the “Remote” tab, under “Remote Assistance”, all of the boxes should be checked.

If this is not the case, check that your computer is actually connected to the network as follows: go into “Network and Internet”, right-click on the network connection you are using and select “Properties”. Make sure that “File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks” and “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)” are both checked.

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