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Doug Allen's Articles

SharePoint Login Issues: How to Fix Users who can’t Log in via their User Principle Name (UPN)

Microsoft Active Directory

I got a call from a client recently where one particular user was unable to login to SharePoint via their User Principle Name (UPN). For those non-AD SharePoint folks out there, UPN refers to an attribute on the user account object in Active Directory. Anytime a user is created, at a minimum they will have a user logon name and a UPN suffix (domain name). The UPN is composed of the user logon name and the UPN suffix joined by the @ sign. Read on to see how I quickly resolved this issue.

Dealing with Mixed Content Prompts in SharePoint After SSL Change

Security Warning: Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely?For the IE users out there, I’m sure you’ve come across this dialog once or twice in your life. On several of our recent client projects we’ve been doing a lot of changing over from unsecure to secure URLs via SSL certificates in SharePoint. Invariably, as soon as you enable SSL and log in to SharePoint, you get this wonderful prompt: Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely? Find out how to get rid of this for good...

Quick Tips for the SharePoint Chart Web Part

SharePoint 2010 Chart Web Part

On a recent project I got to work with the out-of-the-box (OOTB) Chart Web Part in SharePoint 2010. My team just needed to chart some simple data, nothing fancy, but we had some fairly specific styling requirements. We tried Web parts from other vendors they already had and got close, but we just couldn’t get there. Luckily we were upgrading to Enterprise anyway, so that allowed us to use the Chart Web Part that comes with SharePoint OOTB.

4 Quick Tips: Branding SharePoint2010

Over the time I’ve been using SharePoint, I’ve been taking notes on the tools and that make my job a little bit easier. Lately I’ve focused on collecting a ton of tips for working with branding in SharePoint2010. To help other people working with branding in SharePoint, I thought I should share some of my information.

SharePoint 2010 Taxonomy Term Changes Don’t Update Content

SharePoint 2010 Managed Metadata

If you’re like a lot of other folks, you’ve taken advantage of the Managed Metadata functionality in SharePoint. You’ve created your taxonomy group, specified your term sets, and created some terms. Then you’ve created your managed metadata column in your site collection, and pointed it to your specified term set. You’ve then uploaded a lot of documents and specified terms for the metadata column, everyone is “happy happy happy”.

But then you need to rename one of your terms currently called “Information Technology Department” to just “Information Technology”. No sweat, you go into the Term Store tool, rename the term. Done right? To your surprise, when you look at properties of various documents tagged with your term, they haven’t been renamed. Hmm … what gives?

How to Delete a Service Application Database that is Not Responding

powershell_iconOn a recent project, I hit an issue with databases that was interesting. We were restoring a lot of databases over to a development environment from production, as well as the managed metadata database. I had gone through the whole deal, backed up the database in the old server, restored it to the development SQL server, etc. There was an issue with the Managed Metadata service that required to have service application re-created. This lead to a situation where the service application database was unprovisioned, but not deleted.

Did You Know Microsoft Expression 4 Is Now Free?

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I don’t believe Microsoft Expression ever had a huge following from web developers and graphics designers, but it served a purpose. Whether you liked it, hated or loved it, Microsoft has done what it does best again.

In case you haven’t visited their website lately, you will notice some major changes with Expression. Basically, they are rolling the Expression products into Visual Studio 2012 and beyond, forgoing the standalone tools. For the time being, they made Expression Web 4, Expression Design 4 and Expression Encoder 4 free for download. That may not be a big deal to some, but I think it could prove useful to some.

How to Resolve the Missing Item Scheduling in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint Publishing SchedulingSo you’re going about your business in SharePoint, say when you want to publish an article page. You open the page and click on Publish, and the Schedule option isn’t there! Ack! Oh the humanity! If you’re uploading a document, the schedule items appear on the edit properties (editform.aspx) dialog.

You may be asking, what scheduling option? Well, it’s the option for being able to publish pages at a future date and time and is activated at the document library level. If you have a publishing site, this feature should already be activated on the Pages library. But it can be enabled on any site/library under the right conditions. This is very likely a simple fix. Let’s review the items to check.

How to Configure a Filtered Calendar Overlay in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 Calendar overlayCalendar Overlays was definitely a welcome new feature when SharePoint 2010 was released. They provide decent basic functionality for being to have a nice view of multiple calendars at once (up to 10 calendars). Suppose you are in a situation where you want to do some calendar overlays, but you only want to show a filtered set of calendar entries on the calendar overlay view? This turns out to be much easier than it might sound. Now you could write a simple workflow that runs on the child list and copies the list item on the child calendar to the parent calendar, but that’s not really an overlay is it?

As I said, this is actually extremely easy to configure. It feels like it should be illegal to be this easy, so enjoy the moment! So what do we need to do? Here are the overview steps:

  • Create at least 2 calendars (one child, and one parent used to display the overlay)
  • Create items on the child calendar
  • Create a filtered Calendar View on the child calendar (e.g. only show items where category=X)
  • On the parent calendar, configure the overlay, and be sure to choose the new filtered view
  • Sit back, have a drink and bask in the awe of your coworkers and boss as they bow before you in the view of this incredible display of SharePoint awesomeness

Auto-Populate a SharePoint 2010 Contact List from User Profile Data

imageWhile the contacts list is usually filled out for contacts that are outside the company, there are times when you would use a contacts list to store internal and external resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to re-type your internal contacts’ information that are already in the system? Now you can with a little InfoPath customization on the contacts list.

Free SharePoint Training and other Resources

SharePoint 2010 trainingAs I work with various clients with different skill levels with SharePoint, I have on more than one occasion needed to compile a list of training resources. Microsoft (and others) provide a good number of resources so I thought I would try and compile a list in one place. These resources can be a mix of delivery methods including blogs, whitepapers, online videos, tutorials or courses. Let’s start with resources for end users, then move to the IT Pros, then to the developers. I started writing this for the purpose of training, but the lists quickly grew to include other resources, so I hope you find it a useful resource.

For the sake of this post, all resources will be for SharePoint 2010. But with the very soon to release SharePoint 2013, I will provide some information in another post. Stay tuned!

Correct Empty ULS Logs in SharePoint 2010

imageIf you're unsure what ULS logs are or what they're used for, please see my previous post where I cover the basics. On a recent project, I was adding a new server to a SharePoint 2010 farm. After the join was completed, I went to go review the ULS logs to ensure all looked well and no serious errors or other issues came up. To my surprise, it was empty! It turned out to be a simple fix, but here are some things to check when this happens:

  1. ULS logging is driven by the Windows service "SharePoint 2010 Tracing". Ensure this service is started, and if it is already running, right-click on it and choose restart. Then re-check the ULS logs.
  2. If the above tracing service is started and re-starting doesn't help, it likely is permissions related. This was the problem in my case. To fix this, do the following:
    1. In this environment, the tracing service was running as the application pool account. We need to add that account to the local user group "Performance Log Users".
    2. Check the membership of this group on a working farm server, and ensure the new farm server has the same group membership.
    3. Restart the tracing service, and check the ULS logs again for entries.
  3. If you still have trouble, check the other local security groups like WSS_WPG and WSS_ADMIN_WPG groups and ensure the problem server has the same memberships.

While you shouldn’t have to, it might be necessary to either perform an IISRESET on the problem server, or even reboot to ensure new credentials take affect.

Quick Tip: Change the “Search this site…” text in SharePoint 2010

SNAGHTML6b48e8bI recently had a client that wanted to change the default text that appears in all search boxes. By default it shows “Search this site…” and the client wanted it to be a little more customized to their environment. It turns out this is very simple to accomplish, and no code! We just need to edit 2 XML files.

Check SharePoint 2010 Site Collection Locks with PowerShell

Awhile back I ran into an issue where I had some site collection backups that failed to complete. No big deal, but this caused the locks on the site collection to remain in place, as I curiously found my administrator account with deny permissions on all sites in the site collection. This begs the question “What other site collections could be locked?” That becomes a real problem if you have a large number of site collections. Who wants to check each one in Central Administration one by one? Being the non-developer type, I turn to my trusty friend PowerShell.

First, what are we talking about specifically? In Central Administration, click Application Management, then under Site Collections, click Configure quotas and locks. Choose your web application/site collection, and view it’s status:

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Follow The Top SharePoint Blogs in One RSS Feed!

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If you’re like me, at some point in your life you have set out to search the internet for SharePoint for one reason or another. After you found what you were looking for, you take a few extra minutes to look at what other posts the site has and you realize, this is pretty useful, I want to grab the RSS feed. Or you are just building a list of your favorite SharePoint MVPs. Or maybe you’re new to SharePoint, and don’t know all the cool kids’ blogs. Well after a while, those really start to stack up in your RSS reader. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine all those useful SharePoint RSS feeds into one single feed?

Keep Up to Date on Microsoft SharePoint Cumulative Updates

SharePoint 2010 Cumulative UpdatesUpdates are everyone’s favorite topic, and I just wanted to throw out a few good resources on how to keep up to date on the updates that Microsoft released for SharePoint 2010 and WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007.

The Updates RSS Feed

First and foremost, to keep up to date on SharePoint updates, you need to subscribe to the updates RSS feed! These posts provide links to the KB articles and downloads for the various configurations (Microsoft Office, SharePoint Foundation, Server, Server with Project Server, Office Web Apps, FAST Search, etc.). Notice that this feed includes all Office products, not JUST SharePoint. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t publish an update feed just for SharePoint that I know of. Also, Stefan Gobner, a Senior Escalation Engineer with Microsoft support, does a bang up job also posting SharePoint CU releases on his blog, as well as when issues come up. Links:

Quickly Find the SharePoint 2010 Configuration Database with PowerShell

powershell_iconI wanted to share this quick tip with PowerShell. Many times, we need to have an easy way to find the configuration database, and like a good SharePoint administrator, you want to try and use PowerShell. I have come across other blogs here and others that mention finding this with the registry, so this is just another way to do it.

Easy Way to Get Relative Path of SharePoint 2010 Site via PowerShell

powershell_iconThe more I learn and get to know PowerShell, the more I love it. I am able to perform what used to be time-consuming tasks (many hours or days) in seconds (after you write the script of course). While writing a script recently to perform some tasks on numerous SharePoint sites (webs to be precise), I was constructing URLs for the sites and using as variables and I needed only part of the URL (the managed path). After a little poking around, I found a nice easy way to do it.

Tips to Avoid Login Prompts in SharePoint

imageOne of the most common issues I hear when implementing SharePoint for new clients, or supporting an existing SharePoint environment is the dreaded login prompt. There are multiple reasons for the password prompt, but I'll try and cover the basics here.  Personally, I haven’t had to login to our internal company SharePoint in at least 6 or 8 months!  How can you achieve this SharePoint nirvana? Let’s walk through the common steps to avoid having to login to SharePoint, whether opening the site or when opening documents. Here’s a quick rundown.

  1. 1. Internet Explorer Security Zone
  2. 2. Windows Credential Store
  3. 3. Prompts When Opening Documents

SharePoint 2010 Ratings and Custom Content Types

imageThere are numerous cool new features in SharePoint 2010, and I’ve found that integrating them into custom solutions are not always straightforward. I found this to be true with ratings as well. Ratings are one of the new social tagging features that gives users a 1–5 star graphic to rate content. You can find a high level overview of social tagging features here on TechNet.

Normally this isn’t a problem. For example, you have your normal Shared Documents library, and you want users to be able to rate content. No problem right? We go into the library settings, and then click on Rating Settings. We simple click Yes, and hit ok. Too easy:

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TechNet Content for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 Now Available on Amazon!

There was no big fanfare on this and could have been easily missed, so I thought it was worth repeating.  Microsoft and the content publishing team have compiled their downloadable content and made available on Amazon in a nicely bound book!  It’s great for all those out there that would stay up late at night feeling guilty for killing so many trees printing it yourself. You can find the the download links here on TechNet. I will include the information here as I’m just nice like that. I also didn’t say they were the cheapest around, but price varies by book ($66 is a little steep in my opinion).

Submitting a Document Set to a SharePoint 2010 Repository in Workflow

docset_welcomepage_bigEvery so often while working in SharePoint, you encounter a feature that has almost no documentation or you can’t find anyone with a similar issue. This happened to me when I was trying to configure a workflow to move a document set to a Records Center. After I got this to work, I wanted to try and save others the grief and frustration that I experienced. If “Unknownerror” means anything to you, this post is for you.

Who Would Use This?

This action might be useful in document management scenarios, where documents have a formal “approval” process, and management policies are defined to “expire” them to meet retention policies. Once expired, they would be removed from the current location and moved to another location, specifically a Records Center in this case where they sit waiting to be purged from the system.

Tip: How to Rename a SharePoint 2010 Server

Even if you’ve planned your SharePoint project properly, or it might be years later, you need to rename your SharePoint 2010 server. This quick tip covers this on SharePoint 2010 which is a much cleaner experience than it was in 2007. There is an STSADM switch that can handle it, but for 2010, there is a certain procedure to yield best results. I was able to do this on a single SharePoint server earlier and it worked great! This was a single SharePoint server with SQL on another server.

For 2010, there’s a new PowerShell cmdlet for this very thing, Rename-SPServer. This is this article on TechNet covering the procedure. It has you renaming the server itself first, then fixing up SharePoint. However I’ve heard of issues with that, and I had better results by doing it in reverse. That is, running the PowerShell to fix up SharePoint then renaming the server. Here is what I did:

  1. Tell SharePoint about the new server name via PowerShell. This is done via the Rename-Server cmdlet. Of course get-help is your friend to get details and examples, however the context help of the cmd (and the technet article for that matter) IS WRONG! It’s funny, because the example is right, but the explanation isn’t. Go figure, nobody’s perfect. Anyway, you give the command the old and new server names. TechNet says the old server name is in the form of a URL. That throws an error. It should just be . So the whole command would be like:
       1: Rename-SPServer –identity “old_server_name” –name “new_server_name”

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–Day 4

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Well, today’s the last day of the conference. I know, it’s very sad, but a great time was had by all. This was my first big conference, and I really enjoyed the experience. There were 3 breakout sessions today back to back with the day closing out with lunch in the early afternoon. It’s hard to believe they crammed 240 sessions in 3 and a half days! I got to rub elbows with some of the greats in the industry, bloggers, authors, MVPs and lots of folks from Microsoft. If there’s one tip I can give, it’s to stay in a hotel close to the conference! It was awesome to be able to be in 1 minute walking distance. You have to be able to drop off all the freebies in your room.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–Days 2 and 3

I'm attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Whew what a wild couple of days! I didn’t get to blog last night so I figured I would combine yesterday and today. The sessions have been really good.

 

Tuesday – Day 2

Tuesday started with the Todd Carter’s session about Extending SharePoint Health & Monitoring. He put on a good show, giving details on web analytics and diagnostic logging, and how to extend them using custom providers to get detailed reports. Very cool stuff! Then I attended one of the more popular sessions of the day by Microsoft Certified Master Scott Jamison, Best Practices Around SharePoint 2010 User Profiles. Now this topic is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, but I’ve come to a place where I accept the UPA for what it is, even with its shortcomings. He got a volunteer from the crowd (a fellow MCM and MCA Spence Harbar) to configure the UPA live. This was really more of a part 1 of 2, where Spence would take it deeper under the covers and show how to implement it via the UI and PowerShell.

Blog Topics

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CPR for CRM Study

The complementary paper includes over 12 years of research, recent survey results, and CRM turnaround success stories.

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SharePoint Readiness Assessment

This 60-second assessment is designed to evaluate your organization's collaboration readiness.

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CRM Self Assessment

Learn how you rank compared to organizations typically in years 1 to 5 of implementation - and which areas to focus on to improve.

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SharePoint Feedback Solution

This is a sandbox solution which can be activated per site collection to allow you to easily collect feedback from users into a custom Feedback list.

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SharePoint Upgrade Checklist

Whether you are upgrading to SharePoint Online, 2010, 2013 or the latest 2016, this checklist contains everything you need to know for a successful transition.