Patch Tuesday – January 2014

A few quick bits of information for today that might be of interest to those of you working with the Microsoft Stack.

If you dig into the KB2916605, it’s labelled as important, not critical but probably something you’ll still want to address. This impacts impacts Microsoft Word across several versions as well as the Word Automation Services and Office Web Apps of SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

Also new today, Power BI is now available for purchase for your Office 365 SharePoint Online tenants. If you have an E3/E4 subscription you’ll see a heft discount.

This past weekend I mentioned during a presentation on getting started with Office 365 that there are service updates that are pushed regularly. To get more information as to what’s being pushed each month, check out the Services Updates for Office 365 for enterprises, mid-size businesses and Education (English) here:

And if you’re interested in learning more pertaining to the Office 365 Service Upgrades that are ongoing for the Enterprise, more information is available here:

Looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to new content for SharePoint 2013?

Nothing really of note, the last update was back on 16 December 2013 with:

  • Deactivated controls in SharePoint Designer 2013 (new)
  • The building blocks of SharePoint hybrid (new)
  • Set-SPAuthenticationRealm (updated)

If you’re looking for updates for MSDN related SharePoint articles, you can find that content here – New and updated content for SharePoint 2013

December 2010 Cumulative Updates for SharePoint

This one goes out to my friend and SharePoint colleague, Mark Rackley, also known to many of you as @MRackley. Gotta help my Dev friends that wonder at times why the underlying infrastructure doesn’t work properly – hopefully these bits will help.

Seem like you just got the good bits for the October 2010 Cumulative Update for SharePoint 2010? Just like that *snap* the December 2010 Cumulative Update is available.

The cumulative updates contain several fixes that go across the entirety of the platform from REST to Search to e-mail notifications that should be sent to task assignee’s.

Information Articles for December 2010 Cumulative Updates:

SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459108
SharePoint Server 2010 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459257
Project Server 2010 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459258

Windows SharePoint Services v3 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2458606
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2458605

Full server downloads from the automated hotfix system available at:

SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 (x64 – 50.5 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2459125
SharePoint Server 2010 (x64 – 325 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2459257
Project Server 2010 (x64 – 330 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2459258

Windows SharePoint Services v3 (x86 – 29.5 MB, x64 – 33.4 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2458606
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010 (x86 – 63.7 MB, x64 – 60.5 MB) http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2458605

Please be aware that there are some known issues with the SharePoint 2010 Cumulative Updates which may incur issues with some functionality, namely this:

Important notes about the cumulative update package

  • The Microsoft Office 2010 hotfixes are now multilingual. This cumulative update package contains updates for all languages.
  • This cumulative update package includes all the server component packages. Additionally, this cumulative update package updates only those components that are installed on the system.

Known issue 1
Consider the following scenario:

  • You install the Cumulative Update in this KB article on a SharePoint 2010 server.
  • You restart the server as it prompts you at the end of the installation.
  • You run the Psconfig.exe tool after the server restarts.

In this scenario, you see an error page when you access the Manage User Profile page in Central Administration.

Workaround

To work around this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Central Administration page.
  2. Click Manage Services on the Server link.
  3. Find the User Profile Synchronization service, and then restart the service on the Server.aspx page.
  4. Perform iisreset after the service restarts successfully.

Known issue 2

2490381 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2490381/ ) You cannot create an AD DS synchronization connection that has multiple domains selected after you install the Cumulative Update in either KB 2459257 or KB 2459258

(Reference: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459257)

As always, be sure to install cumulative updates in a testing environment prior to implementation on a production system.

Lastly remember that for SharePoint 2010, you only need to download the patch for the product you’re working with whereas with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 you’ll need both the WSS v3 patch and the MOSS 2007 patch.

SharePoint 2010 – Drive Space Conundrum

One of the new capabilities of SharePoint 2010 that comes in handy is the Health Monitoring alerts that pop up on the front page of Central Admin. One thing you might run into is when you start to run out of disk space.  You’ll probably see something similar to this:

Always something that you want to see while you’re working on your environment right? Not so much.

For some reason it always seems that just when things are going well, profiles are synchronizing, users are starting to engage the SharePoint platform, and boom, whammo, the file system fills up with log files, trace logs and event logs. So just a gentle reminder to examine where your log files are and consider moving them to an alternate drive than the core OS drive.

How do I do this you ask?  Pretty simply…

First off, decide what your disk plan is for your SharePoint Servers – hopefully you’ve got more than just a single drive in your system, if not slap on an extra drive (either physical or virtual) for log files, or if you’ve got a SAN handy, request an extra drive on separate spindles from where your data is stored and have them zone it for your SharePoint server to be added for offloading.

Next, for your IIS logs, simply open up IIS and go to the server name (in my case SP2010WFE-01) and then in the main information pane of IIS, scroll down to Logging underneath IIS.

Locate the Directory location and modify it to the location that you’ve setup for log files, in my case I’ve added an additional drive to my SharePoint server with the logical volume “E:”

Once IIS creates the structure, you’ll want to copy over old log files from your core OS drive (C:inetpublogs) to your new location.

Next up, Trace Logs for the Unified Logging System…

Within SharePoint Central Admin, navigate to Monitoring, within Reporting select “Configure Diagnostic Logging”.

Direct Link – http://<NetBiosNameOfSharePointServer&gt;:<CentralAdminPort>/_admin/metrics.aspx

Scroll down to the Trace Log section where you’ll see something like this:

Simply input the drive that you’d prefer to use, in my case replacing %CommonProgramFiles% with “E:Program Filescommon files”, and you end up with something like this:

Go ahead and copy over the contents of the Logs file on the original instance to the new instance to consolidate your log files.

Lastly, moving your event logs to the log drive is definitely a consideration to make – especially the Security Log file as this will grow quickly once you’ve implemented Kerberos and opened your system to your user base (NTLM spawns quite a few security events too). Out of the box you’ll see your event logs like this:

Application Event Logs

Security Event Logs

System Event Logs

Simply modify the “File” location to the new location where you are looking to store your files, in my case I use “E:Windows EventsLogs” as the directory followed by the appropriate event log file name. This is documented in: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/216169

Further, to ensure that log files don’t explode, leverage the “AutoBackupLogFiles” property within the Application Events (you’ll have to add this to the Security and System Event Logs, simple DWORD property). Setting the value to “1” or any value other than “0” will create backup files in the file location specified.

This is documented in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312571 (though it’s specific to 2000/2003 server, it works for 2008).

These three simple changes should assist in keeping your core OS drive lighter weight and prevent your system from a hiccup caused by a disk filling up.

TaxonomyPicker.ascx bug (SP2010 RTM)

Please note the update!

So apparently others have stumbled upon this but when doing my rebuild of RTM over the weekend I noticed a nifty little error popping up in the event log that raised a little concern with regard to the TaxonomyPicker user control.

Looking at the error, you’ll notice that it states the TaxonomyPicker.ascx user control can’t register an assembly ‘Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal.WebControls.TaxonomyPicker’ from assembly ‘Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c’.

If you’ve seen something like this before it’s typically because either a user control was edited incorrectly such that a character was incorrectly added to the assembly register string, or someone removed the assembly from the server and the user control is “freaking out” (never a good thing).  In this case it’s just a typo in the user control – but wait, this is out of the release to manufacturing right? Yeah, about that…

So the fix, simply navigate to the 14 root at: %systemroot%Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14TEMPLATECONTROLTEMPLATES where you’ll find the TaxonomyPicker.ascx user control.

If you haven’t created a short cut to the 14 root yet, you may want to as I’m sure you’ll be visiting there often 🙂

First – make a copy of the file and save it as perhaps TaxonomyPicker.ascx_backup or something along those lines – what works for you, run with it.

Next using your favourite text editor (TextPad for me), open the user control and observe in the first line the error.

Interesting that “TaxonomyPicker,” made it through quality assurance testing, but alas, not a huge detail right? Simply replace the “,” with a “,”

Save the user control and restart the app pool and presto, the error should be no more.

Permissions still as they should be? Should look like this…

Also, check to ensure that you’re still inheriting permissions properly by opening the file properties -> security -> advanced

And with that, you’re done. Happy tuning.

Update – Apparently the error will continue to persist even after making the correction to the file.

Looking in the Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal Assembly it looks like there is no actual TaxonomyPicker class, so in reality you can just keep the copied file (TaxonomyPicker.ascx_broken) and remove the fixed version. That being said, until the TaxonomyPicker class is implemented within the Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal assembly, you’re safe in not worrying about this user control.

SPDiag v1 – First Impressions

So as a follow up to mentioning of the tool, my first impressions to the SPDiag tool are essentially – holy guacamole, this is awesome!  It’s nothing super flashy, though you can download the .net 3.5 Microsoft Charts plugin to provide for additionally graphical views of information.  It sports the plain jane simple minimalistic UI that we’ve become accustomed to as infrastructure engineers, but hey, it’s the content that counts!

SharePointDiagnosticsTool-1

The tool is fairly simple to setup and out of the box requires very little configuration, though if you’re interested in configuring it to meet a specific case where specific traffic is being filtered or merged, the configuration guide is available at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1c222804-51c7-4bb5-ae3d-89c68ad27a78&DisplayLang=en

The more interesting information from my perspective that provides for quick and simple analysis of a farm are the solutions and timer job definitions information that can quickly be glanced at.

SharePointDiagnosticsTool-2

Lastly though, this tool also brings together trends that show up in the monitoring metrics with a little bit of graphing capability using the aforementioned .net 3.5 Microsoft Charts plugin.  Granted, what you see below isn’t all that interesting, but that’s also because there’s not much configured or utilized in this dev farm…yet.

SharePointDiagnosticsTool-3

Props to the SharePoint Product Team for developing this tool as a part of the upgraded toolkit suite!  Stay tuned in for future updates and to see some pretty data streaming through the Trends section.

Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit v3 Available

For those of you that read the recent article pertaining to the SharePoint Diagnostics v1 tool for SharePoint 2007 and were slightly confused and left wondering where it was buried in the v2 release of the toolkit, Microsoft has answered the question.

Downloads available at:

Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit v3.0 x86

Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit v3.0 x64

“The SharePoint diagnostics tool provides administrators with a unified interface for troubleshooting SharePoint Server performance issues…”

To read the documentation available…

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1c222804-51c7-4bb5-ae3d-89c68ad27a78&displaylang=en

Now Playing: The Goo Goo Dolls – Let Love In – Stay With You

Have you clustered your users yet?

Yes, you read the title correctly.  I’m not referring to clustering SQL servers, nor am I referring to your clustered ISA servers, or Microsoft Clustering Services.  Rather I’m talking about clustering your users to see what their permissions are and if they’re similar to the permissions of anyone else in your farm.

What are you talking about?

AvePoint has released as a part of their DocAve suite, a free tool that “clusters” your users with like permissions into a visualization to provide you with the ability to look at a user and see users with similar permissions.  It’s proper title – “User Clustering Web Part for SharePoint”.

This is definitely different than what other companies have put together in terms of permissions related capabilities in tool suites like Barracuda Tool’s DeliverPoint or iDevFactory’s Universal SharePoint Manager 2007, and actually could be very helpful.  One of the things mentioned in the demonstration video is the ability to see the outliers.  This could be very beneficial in situations where you have someone that has far more permissions than you meant for them to have.

I’ve yet to pull down a copy for myself and try it out, but I thought it was a neat idea nonetheless… I’m curious if it shows permissions of users that have access to sites that are in web application level security groups… something to find out.