‘User Cannot Be Found’ Error During Initial SharePoint Configuration Wizard Run

I recently saw the above error on a SharePoint 2007 install of a test system. Reading a few blog posts, it seemed that most people were reporting the error as an issue when there was a problem with communication between the SharePoint server on which the wizard was being run and the domain controller it was connecting to as its logon server.

My machines didn’t seem to have any issues talking to each other however. Just to make sure, I changed them both over to a private virtual network, but that didn’t seem to help at all.

After a bit more rummaging, it turned out that the batch file I had used to create the users I needed for the SharePoint service accounts on the domain controller hadn’t created the ‘user@domain’ format of the user account correctly.

Recreating the users manually immediately solved the problem and the wizard ran successfully.

Cannot remove folder “SharePoint site name”

I recently ran into this issue while trying to move a series of sub-sites to site collections on a SharePoint farm. In order to achieve part of the process, I’d scripted the deletion of the sub-site tree using the stsadm –o deleteweb command once I’d exported it as there were quite a number of sub-sites and I wanted to try and save a little time.

I’d see the error message ‘cannot remove folder “sub-site name”’ for a couple of the sub-sites at a particular level, then the next couple might well be removed correctly, then more ‘cannot remove…’ errors.

To diagnose the issue a little more, I tried using the alternate options for the deleteweb stsadm command, namely

stsadm –o deleteweb –webid <sub-site ID> –databasename <content web application DB name> –databaseserver <DB server> -force

Note: To find a list of the sub-site IDs, run the following command:
stsadm –o enumallwebs –databasename <content web application DB name>
This will produce a list of all of the sub-sites including their URL and ID

Using the alternate options for the deleteweb stsadm command provided me with a lot more information on what the issue was that was stopping me from deleting some of the sub-sites.  In may case, the error shown was ‘The transaction log for database <DB name> is full. To find out why space in the log cannot be reused, see the log_reuse_wait_desc column in sys.databases’.

Checking the autogrowth options for the log file for the content database in question did indeed show that the file size was limited to quite a small value. Increasing the autogrowth limit on the transaction log to a more reasonable size immediately got me up and running again.

Trying to download more than 50Mb from SharePoint 2007 via webdav? You’ll need to know this…

If you store large files in SharePoint 2007 and are using webdav to access them (Explorer View uses webdav for example), you may be seeing the following error:

Cannot Copy <filename>: Cannot read from the source file or disk

If so, this relates to a registry key which is set on the local machine to limit the maximum file download size to 50Mb when using webdav.  To correct this behaviour, change the value of the FileSizeLimitInBytes registry key needs changing on the client machines.  To do this, follow these steps:

  • Start regedit
  • locate the following registry key:
  • In the right pane of the registry editor, right click the FileSizeLimitInBytes key and select ‘modify’
  • Enter a new value for this maximum file size (in bytes, as the key states) and click OK.
  • Close regedit and restart the computer.

Instead of making this change individually on each of the client machines, this key can of course be distributed via your organisation’s group policy.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009: Day 4

Today’s highlights from the sessions I attended:

  • One of the new features of SharePoint 2010 is Access Services – we at Black Marble have been doing some work using Access Services (see Richard’s blog post for more details, along with the Access 2010 demo on Channel9), which Robert and I presented during the first session of the day.  The talk was received well, with a number of people wandering over to me during the rest of the day to let me know they liked it.
  • The number of management packs for System Center Operations Manager required to monitor SharePoint 2010 has been reduced to precisely one!

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009: Day 3

A few more highlights from the sessions I saw:

  • The new taxonomy services in SharePoint 2010 look superb. The ability to be able to centrally define terms for use by the end users, along with allowing both open (i.e. read-write to the end user) and closed (i.e. read-only to the end user) term stores looks very promising indeed.
  • Some more of the new features of SharePoint Designer 2010 were demonstrated, including the ability to highlight those sections of a masterpage which when edited would cause the page to become unghosted.  The more I see of the new version of SharePoint Designer, the more I like it!
  • The ability to extract data from Excel workbooks using Excel Services, Web Services, JavaScript OM and REST looks very interesting.
  • Some really interesting things can be done within SharePoint 2010 using jQuery – Dustin Miller showed some simple but extremely useful ideas, some of which I’m now longing to have a play with.

All in all, a very useful 3rd day!

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009: Day 2

A few highlights from today’s talks:

  • With SharePoint 2010, we no longer have a Shared Service Provider (SSP), instead we now have service application instead. All of the applications benefit from an internal load balancing scheme (fault tolerant round robin load balancing), meaning that as long as you start a service application on more than one server, you’re better protected from failure.  Oh, and yes, that goes for indexing as well!
  • The Service Application framework is extensible; this means you can write your own services to be hosted by SharePoint. These will, in turn, benefit from the internal load balancing scheme mentioned above.  Yes, you can also use a hardware load balancer and from what I gathered, even write your own load balancer!
  • All of your Service Application management can be done from PowerShell – if you don’t know PowerShell, now is going to be a very good time to learn…  If you want to have a look at the available applets, try the following in PowerShell:
    this will return the list of available commandlets.
  • You will be able to add delegated administrators for specific Service Applications. These delegated administrators will have their view of the Central Administration site trimmed to only those items they should see.
  • Claims based auth looks very interesting, and can be extended to allow 3rd party applications to provide additional claims.
  • SharePoint Designer 2010 rocks!

Microsoft SharePoint conference 2009: Day 1

I’m attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas – it’s been an interesting first day with some notable announcements:

  • A public beta of SharePoint 2010 will be available in November, with RTM in H1 2010.
  • The new version of SharePoint Designer for SharePoint 2010 will be a free download.
  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 is the next version of what was called Windows SharePoint Services in version 3.0.
  • SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint (with a version for Excel as well) has been announced.  This was called project Gemini in previous demonstration I’ve seen and allows the manipulation of hundreds of millions of rows of data in real time. No, that number of rows is not a typo.

Where have all my SharePoint tasks gone?

One of the questions I’ve been asked a few times recently is along the lines of “I’d like to see all of my outstanding tasks shown to me in one place, how can I do this?”  This in particular seems to be something that applies to tasks as SharePoint stores tasks assigned to you in the site in which they’ve been assigned and thus they tend to end up scattered across the farm.

The good news is that using the Content Query Web Part (CQWP), it is easy to roll up all of your tasks from within a site collection into one place.  Here’s how:

Edit the page you want to show the task roll-up on:

Edit Page

Add a web part to whichever zone you deem appropriate; I’ve chosen the Right Zone for this example:

Add A Web Part

Select the Content Query Web Part from the list of available web parts and click OK:

Add Web Part Gallery

Now modify the shared web part we’ve just dropped onto the page:

Modify Shared Web Part Menu

At the right of the page an extra panel will appear showing the options for the CQWP.  We need to modify the settings in a few of these sections to change the data which is displayed.  Start with the Query section and change the List Type dropdown to show Tasks:

List Type

For a ‘My Tasks’ list to be useful, it should show only the tasks which relate to me and ideally only those tasks which are not yet complete.  This can be achieved by modifying the Additional Filters to limit the tasks shown only to those assigned to the currently logged in user and whose status is not ‘Completed’ (note that you should use ‘Task Status’ as the filter column in the latter case, not ‘Status’):


Next, if you wish, modify the Presentation section to sort the output from the query.  In this instance I have elected to sort the tasks displayed by due date, and not limit the number of items displayed:


Finally, in the Appearance section, modify the title to be shown to the user; in this case I have chosen ‘My Tasks’:


Click OK at the bottom of the panel and the settings should close and show you the results of your work.  In my case, this looked like this, with two tasks being pulled from different task lists:

Task rollup

The final thing to do if you have publishing switched on in the current site is to publish the page you’ve been modifying so that your users can see it.  If you don’t have publishing switched on, click the ‘Exit Edit Mode’ link which will have appeared when you started editing the page.

PerformancePoint message ‘unable to conenct to the specified server’ from the Dashboard Designer

I’ve recently been looking at PerformancePoint again. During the setup of my initial PerformancePoint test server, I hit an issue when looking at the Dashboard Designer:

Unable to connect to the specified server. Make sure the address is correct.

The error occurs after loading the Dashboard Designer and following the instructions onscreen to ‘refresh to load dashboards’. When I hit the refresh button, the message shown above was displayed.

I found a blog post by Nick Barclay which suggested a few possible solutions to the issue, but nothing I tried from the list of suggestions seemed to help me.

The error means that you cannot connect to the Monitoring Web Service which in configured in the server tab of the Dashboard Designer Options. In an attempt to work out why I was seeing the error, I tried connecting directly to the web service and saw the following:

Server Error in '/WebService' Application. Configuration Error.

The error indicated that a required DLL was not in the GAC.  The DLL in question is part of the ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 installation, reinstalling ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 fixed the issue straight away.

“Access is Denied” when crawling content on MOSS 2007 hosted on Windows Server 2008

One of the SharePoint farms we’ve built recently runs on Windows Server 2008  and SQL Server 2008.  As usual, the installation is a least privileged account setup, with individual accounts running the various services and app pools. The farm is also patched to the latest level.

We’ve experienced one or two issues with this setup, but the most persistent one has been to do with crawling.  When crawls run, they would consistently fail with the following error in the Event viewer:

“The start address <https://site.domain.com> cannot be crawled.

Context: Application ‘SharedServices1’, Catalog ‘Portal_Content’

    Access is denied. Check that the Default Content Access Account has access to this content, or add a crawl rule to crawl this content.   (0x80041205)”

In addition, the following error appeared in the SharePoint logs:

***** Couldn’t retrieve server https://site.domain.com policy, hr = 80041205 – File:d:\office\source\search\search\gather\protocols\sts3\sts3util.cxx Line:548

And the crawl logs showed only errors, each having the following description:

“Access is denied. Verify that either the Default Content Access Account has access to this repository, or add a crawl rule to crawl this repository. If the repository being crawled is a SharePoint repository, verify the account you are using has “Full Read” permissions on the SharePoint Web Application being crawled.(The item was deleted because it was either not found or the crawler was denied access to it.)”

We’d checked all of the usual suspects including web application permissions for the account used by search, database permissions etc with no success.

The solution was to disable the loopback check on the servers hosting SharePoint. Adding the hostnames served to the BackConnectionHostNames list in the registry on the SharePoint servers wasn’t enough, the loopback check had to be completely disabled.

As an aside, another issue we’d experienced with an InfoPath form with code behind failing to load correctly on these servers was also solved disabling the loopback check on these servers.

For instructions on disabling the loopback check, see KB896861.