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Infrastructure Update Intel

posted July 28th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Update: Please see Christophe Fiessinger’s blog post concerning Known Issues with the Infrastructure Update

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“Internet Explorer cannot display the Web Page” error when signing in to SharePoint 3.0 using Windows Authentication

posted June 20th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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I recently encountered a situation where users attempting to login to a SharePoint 3.0 site when using the “Sign In” link were recieving an “Internet Explorer cannot display the Web Page” error. The Web Application was configured to allow Anonymous Access and to also use Integrated Windows Authentication.

No errors showed in either the Application or System logs. The IIS Logs displayed a 401 error:
2008-06-20 14:55:01 W3SVC96982807 ServerIP GET /_layouts/Authenticate.aspx Source=%2Fdefault%2Easpx 80 - ClientIP Mozilla/4.0+(BrowserIdentificationString) 401 1 0. Examination of the HTTP traffic with Fiddler showed the same 401.1 error.

Investigation of the Web Site’s properties in IIS showed that HTTP Keep-Alives were disabled — enabling them resolved the problem.

Integrated Windows Authentication (NTLM) requires HTTP Keep-Alives; this is because Microsoft’s NTLM for HTTP authenticates connections, not requests. This means that the HTTP connection must be kept open while the NTLM handshake completes. More technical information can be found here. There is no method that I know of to get around this limitation other than to not use NTLM.




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Creating or Viewing Views in Data Analysis can cause Analysis Services to become unresponsive

posted April 23rd, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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At a previous client, I encountered an issue where, when creating or viewing certain views in Data Analysis, the Analysis Services service would spike in processor/memory utilization and become unresponsive.

I have recently discovered that this is a known issue in environments that have an interaction between Office Web Components and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services with Service Pack 2 (which means Project Server).

Although I’m not 100% sure, I believe the KB that covers this issue is KB936251. The symptoms seem to fit.

At any rate, I have been told that the resolution was included way back in SQL Server 2005 Cumulative Update 2. I recommend that you install the current CU, which is CU7, due to the number of fixes it contains. UPDATE: I’ve recieved information that CU6 is a better choice due to some issues introduced by CU7. I’ve posted a followup article here.




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Fixed Duration Tasks in Project 2007

posted April 11th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Earlier today in the EPMFAQ Forums, there was a discussion concerning an issue in Project 2007 whereby the Duration on a Fixed Duration task is set to 0d if the Work on that task either rolled up or was set to 0h.

This is divergent behavior from Project 2003, and one that appears to be causing issues for a rapidly increasing number of users. Many of us within the community have been aware of this issue for quite some time, but there appear to be many people that are unfamiliar with this little conundrum, be they users, administrators, or consultants.

Here’s my response to the question:

The issue you are referring to manifests when the Work for the task is set to 0h, whether by rollup or entry. This results in the task’s Duration being set to 0d. This is true for all Task Types, including Fixed Duration.




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Adjust the Default Project Web Access Permission Levels

posted April 3rd, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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At many of my clients, I encounter situations where the default Permission Levels created by Project Server for Project Web Access sites cause problems. Typically, everything is going along just fine when suddenly one day PWA has a different theme or the “My Tasks” or “My Timesheets” page is blank and/or throws an error. While on occasion the error is legitimate, usually it is due to an inexperienced user editing the Shared version of the page. If you haven’t encountered this issue yourself, at this point you may be wondering how this is possible… The simple answer is that for many organizations, the default Permission Levels grant too much power to non-Administrative users.

When you provision a new Project Web Access site, Project Server creates four Permission Levels (described in this technet article):

  • Web Administrators (Microsoft Office Project Server)
  • Project Managers (Microsoft Office Project Server)


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Looking behind “An unexpected error has occurred” messages

posted March 31st, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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At one time or another, almost everybody recieves an error while working in Project Server 2007’s Project Web Access. By default, SharePoint (and therefore Project Server 2007) are configured to present what are known as “custom” errors. These are an inherent part of ASP.NET that allow developers to create friendly error pages to report errors rather than the stock ones provided by the .NET Framework. These pages are generally simplistic and often leave out a great deal of information, such as stack traces. The reason for these pages is chiefly to spare the user the gory details of whatever unhandled exception just occurred. Unfortunately, not every error is or can be logged. This causes an obvious problem in Project Server deployments — especially when trying to resolve a transient error.



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Your Take: Language Packs and Customized Themes

posted March 6th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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One of my clients has recently deployed a Sandbox of Project Server 2007 with MOSS 2007 (both RTM versions). During the course of this deployment they installed a number of the SharePoint Language Packs, in addition to creating a custom theme for Project Web Access. After deployment, they started having problems with incorrect rendering of the ASPX pages, along with some people recieving numerous authentication prompts (sometimes up to 17). In addition, for some people the page renders correctly on the initial load but manifests these problems if refreshed.

I believe the problem is one of two things: the permissions on the custom theme files, or some unforseen interaction with the language packs. The client is presently conducting further testing to confirm this theory. I have also suggested they fully patch both PS and MOSS from RTM to the Post-SP1 Hotfix Rollup.



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Event ID 6398, 6482, and 7076 in your event logs?

posted February 9th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Are you seeing one or more of the following Event IDs (6398, 6482, and 7076) in your event log approximately every minute? Many of our clients have seen these errors indicating insufficient storage on their MOSS/WSS/Project Server farms, but are unable to find exactly what the errors refer to. Upon investigation, they generally find that there is sufficient memory and hard disk space on all servers in the farm (including SQL Server). However, even in cases where the amount of available storage is lacking, expanding the amount of available storage does not make the errors stop.

The full errors are:



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Are your timer jobs inexplicably failing to complete?

posted January 24th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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I recently encountered a situation where I would see literally hundreds of errors in the ULS logs like this:

01/18/2008 10:22:59.99 OWSTIMER.EXE (0×0600) 0×08F8 Windows SharePoint Services Timer 5uuf Monitorable The previous instance of the timer job ‘Config Refresh’, id ‘{3F51D43C-C7DD-403D-A63B-1163EA9B46A6}’ for service ‘{2F8D95DC-ECBF-4661-83AD-92CA4162CD4E}’ is still running, so the current instance will be skipped. Consider increasing the interval between jobs.

Every single Timer Job Definition was throwing these errors (sometimes hundreds of them) every time it was invoked. There were no other errors in the Application Log or ULS Logs, even with verbosity cranked all the way up. Alerts weren’t going out, the cube build was failing, and literally everything that relied on a timer job was nonfunctional. Restarting the Timer service alleviated the problem temporarily, but it would inevitably come back after the first invocation of the timer job.



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Maintenance Plans for Project Server 2007 DBs

posted January 3rd, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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As I’ve previously discussed, at my present client we recently were working very closely with Premier Support to resolve some issues with the cube build. Throughout the course of these discussions, I was told that I really should be running DB Maintenance Plans on the PS07 DBs because with the switch to GUIDs in Project Server 2007, the indices in the various databases can become stale very quickly.

My response to Premier was that since Microsoft has provided no guidance on doing this, and since Microsoft has made such a big deal about not touching any of the databases except Reporting (or Published in very limited circumstances) implementers (including myself) are concerned about doing ANYTHING with regards to Maintenance Plans without guidance from Microsoft.

Premier responded that Chris Fiessinger wrote a blog post about this recently. The agent I was working with gave me advice on how to set up the jobs in the maintenance plan, and promised to press the Product Group to put out some official guidance in the near future.



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