I recently completed a SharePoint migration for a client from 2007 to 2010. Overall the migration went well, however, we did have one small issue with the SharePoint 2010 Timer Service that I thought I should share with all of you. Read on for a brief explanation of the issue and my quick fix.
 

The Symptom 

We had a development and production environment, and after going live with the 2010 site, we started hearing complaints from the users that they weren’t getting alert notifications. They would get the original email that the alert was setup, but not the actual alert based on their criteria. Hmm. Not only were alerts not working, I noticed that Search crawls weren’t working, and User profile syncs weren’t happening. Not good.  

I knew that email alerts were tied to the SharePoint timer service, so I went on the server and into services.msc, and checked the SharePoint 2010 Timer service. Yep, not started. I tried to start it, got a logon error. I modified the service properties filling in the correct password, and it said that it was granted the Logon as a service right. Strange, but OK. Crawls were working, the UPA sync’d, we’re good. One off, no big deal, we moved on. 

This happened again the next day. OK we need to dive into this more. In the event log, I saw this: 

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That doesn’t make sense. One of the prerequisites of configuring the User Profile service is that the farm account is a local admin, and was granted the logon as a service right. Let’s go double-check that.  

The Fix 

Go to Start –> Administration Tools –> Local Security Policy, then in the console expand Local Policies –> User Rights Assignments. Double-click the entry in the right pane for “Log on as a service”, and view the users in the members list. The farm account should be there. In our case, it wasn’t. 

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I noticed the icon was different for a few of the rights, which denotes that the right has been defined by an AD GPO, and also because the buttons were grayed out. So while we could get the service to start once, once the service was cycled and the GPO was refreshed, it un-did the change and broke the service again. Since I didn’t have rights to fix it, I communicated this to the AD admin who added the farm account.  

I then started the service again, and all errors went away and it stayed started from then on. For once I didn’t have to check the ULS logs! 

Now your mileage will vary, and there are multiple reasons for the service not staying started. But a locked-down GPO was the cause in my case. Use good troubleshooting steps and work backwards from the symptom, don’t forget to check the simple stuff and you should find success.  
 

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