I tried to install MS SSE 2008 on Windows Server 2003 R2 Std x64. I met all prerequisites listed in the documentation, although the prerequisite wizard kept telling me that it encountered an error configuring the server.
I installed anyway, the installation terminated with an error at the end saying that it could not run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Configuration wizard.
Attempting to manually run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Configuration wizard walks you through the same set of questions I answered during the initial installation, then performs some configuration tasks. After it completes it says that configuration was successful, and attempts to open the Sharepoint Central Administration site. This results in a Sharepoint page that says "Error. Unknown error."
Attempting to run the Search Server 2008 Administration results in a button appearing in the Windows taskbar for about 5 seconds, then disappearing (no window ever opens).
Search Server 2008 will not uninstall. Attempting to run an uninstallation from Add/Remove programs runs the uninstaller, asks if I'm sure I want to remove, warns that I will need to re-run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Configuration wizard after the uninstall, begins the uninstallation process, and then quits (disappears) with no error message about 10 seconds later.
I need to know how to remove this product from my server, since it's obviously very messed up.