I’ve ran into this problem a few times. The Server Manager does not load with Server 2008/2008R2 and just sits at “Collecting Data…” for 10-15 minutes before I give up.
Immediately, I thought – ha! – I have a fix for this! So I posted Step #1 below and thought myself clever. However, I ate humble pie immediately after when I tried installing a feature and it broke again.
I’ve collected the three steps that have helped me out of any Server Manager/Installer issue to date. I will of course be updating if and when I discover another troubleshooting step.
Step #1: A quick fix you can try is to clear out the cache files in the directory C:\windows\system32\ServerManager\Cache – make sure the software is closed before you do this. It will take a bit of time to recollect this data when you start the Server Manager. However, you’ll want to make sure you try to do something in it or you’ll jump to the conclusion that it’s fixed like I did.
Step #2: As originally noted on Version Infinity’s website, reset the DCOM Configuration for the local machine (Start -> Run, DCOMCNFG.EXE, Expand to My Computer and right-click, under Default Properties make sure Default Authentication Level is set to Connect and Default Impersonation Level is set to Identify).
Quick Note: On the third machine I had this problem with, I checked the System log which was flooded with Servicing #4373 messages – it was in an endless loop updating packages to the “Installed” state. This immediately stopped when I made this change.
Step #3: If you are still having issues making changes, run the System Update Readiness Tool for your system (Google is your friend here). It will run and leave a log of the issues it found at C:\windows\logs\cbs\checksur.log. As it finds missing or corrupt files in the servicing cache, it will report them and attempt to fix them. Items that could not be fixed are reported – those files will need to be copied from another machine and renamed as specified in the log. You can find more information in this TechNet Article.