Demystifying the SharePoint My site “Social List”

So this post is regarding the “Social List” which you might have noticed in your SharePoint My site. I’m purposely using the term “might have *” because not everyone would have payed attention to that list in the SharePoint My site. That being said, the purpose of this post is to make you understand what’s the “Social list “in your SharePoint My site and how it works.

Let’s begin with where I find it ….

Go to your SharePoint My site –>Site contents –>Take a look at the items there. You should be able to find the “Social List “as shown in the image below.

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What’s a social list?

It’s a default list that’s present in your SharePoint “My site” that displays all the content you’re following.

The url for this will look like: _ https://mysite.sharepoint.com/personal/vignesh/Social/FollowedContent.aspx

At times you might see some weird issues while opening your SharePoint My site and the error will say something about the follow feature/social feature not working … Remember in scenarios like that , the culprit could be the “ Social List “ . For some reason if this list gets corrupted, then you might face issues while opening your SharePoint “My site “.

Feature that activates this list:

A hidden feature named “Social Data Storage “in your SharePoint My site takes care of turning on this list. Hence if this feature is deactivated then you won’t be able to find this list in your SharePoint “My site” and would end up facing problems while accessing the my site. I’ll discuss in detail about this feature later on this post.

What’s present inside the “Social list”?

Well , if you need to take a look at what’s present inside this list , please use “ SharePoint Designer “ and try to open it .

This is what you would find inside the “Social list” ….

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Social Data storage feature:

As mentioned earlier, the Social data storage feature takes care of turning on this list. The GUID of this feature is “FA8379C9-791A-4FB0-812E-D0CFCAC809C8”.

While troubleshooting “My site” or “following” issues, please make sure that this feature is activated on your My site.

Since this is a hidden feature, you need to use a tool called “SharePoint Manager ” from Codeplex or PowerShell to check if this feature is activated in your My site.

Using SharePoint Manager:

  1. Install this in a machine which has SharePoint on it and expand the Mysite web app .
  2. Expand the sites option
  3. Search for the problematic user’s Mysite
  4. Expand the list of features
  5. Look for a green plus symbol next to the feature

Check the screenshot below ….

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Using PowerShell command:

Get-SPFeature -Site https://mysite.sharepoint.com/personal/username  | Sort DisplayName | FT DisplayName,Id

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Things to know:

  1. There are certain features that gets activated in a user’s My site only when a user tries to visit his My site for the first time, during this process  SharePoint will trigger the “My site  instantiation process” which will create the user’s My site . In addition to that there are few other features in your  My site which doesn’t get activated until you start using it (Ex: Your My site Blog). The feature related to the My site blog won’t be activated in your My site until you start using the Blog in your My site.

 

  1. A user cannot follow a site, a person, a tag or a document without having a My site set up for him first. If you try to do, SharePoint will throw an error stating that you don’t have a My site yet and will prompt you to create one.
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Issues with MDS feature in SharePoint 2013:

This post is related to the previous post I made in my blog describing the “Issues involved with Minimal Download Strategy feature”. I’m not going to really get into the meats and potatoes of that issue here once again .However , if you want to create a KB article for your end users letting them know that this is a known issue in SharePoint 2013 , then this would be the article for that ….

The Minimal Download Strategy  (MDS) feature in SharePoint 2013 can introduce the below mentioned two issues when you enable it in a team site. It’s a known fact that MDS will be turned on by default in a team site in SharePoint 2013.

Issue 1Deleting a document from a document library will produce an error as shown in the screenshot below.

MDS 1

Explanation:

When you go to a document library in a team site which has the MDS feature turned on and try to delete a document, it’s going to produce an error as shown in the screenshot above.

Repro steps:

Go to a document library in a team site which has the MDS feature activated (remember this feature will be activated by default in a SharePoint Team site) and try to delete a document from a document library by clicking on the “ellipsis” –>“Delete document “BUTTON, you will see an error as shown below without any correlation ID. However, the document would still get deleted from the document library.

Now, this error is not because of any bad configuration in your SharePoint Farm or due to any feature dependency for the MDS feature to work seamlessly .This seems to be a problem with the product itself and looks like this hasn’t been fixed yet.

Workaround:

  1. This error doesn’t show up when you try to delete the document using the “delete document”button in the top ribbon interface.

MDS 2

  1. Also if you try to by-pass your load balancer by changing the host file of your PC to point a specific WFE, this error won’t show up.

Issue 2: Trying to create a new view in a document library will produce an error as shown in the screenshot below

MDS 3

URL will show this error code:  _vti_bin/owssvr.dll?CS=65001

Explanation:

When you go to a document library in a team site which has the MDS feature turned on and try to create a new view, it’s going to produce an error as shown in the screenshot above and the site url will also display this error code : vti_bin/owssvr.dll?CS=65001

Repro steps:

Go to a document library in a team site which has the MDS feature activated (remember this feature will be activated by default in a SharePoint Team site) and try to create a new view by clicking on the “ellipsis” –>“Create a new view “BUTTON, you will see an error as shown below without any correlation ID. However, the new view will still get created.

Workaround:

There is no workaround identified for this as of now, as the error pops up even if you use the “Create view “option in the top ribbon interface. However as already mentioned above the view would still get created.

Note: This error wouldn’t show up if you try to by-pass your load balancer by changing the host file of your PC to point a specific WFE

Conclusion:

We have did our troubleshooting on this issue by working with Microsoft and this seems to be a bug in the product. The F5 load balancer which takes care of handling user requests to the portal seems to be causing the trouble here.

Adding an SSL Certificate to SharePoint 2013:

Before we could jump in and discuss about how to add an SSL certificate to a SharePoint web application, how about a brief description on SSL certificates and it types and usage. So let’s start with what is an SSL Certificate first…

We all know that the usage of SSL Certificates has increased rapidly and henceforth the applications which make use of SSL Certificates has also indeed increased rapidly over a period of time.

Now the reason for organizations to use SSL certificates is quite obvious as it provides security/encryption to the content that is been viewed/accessed by the users.

Some organizations wish to use SSL to enhance trust in their security and identity, e.g. they want to show their customers that they have been vetted by an authorized certificate provider and are a legitimate organization.

So, What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It provides a secure connection between internet browsers and websites, allowing you to transmit private data online. Sites secured with SSL display a padlock in the browsers URL and possibly a green address bar if secured by an SSL Certificate.

So what is SSL used for? The SSL protocol is used by millions of e-Business providers to protect their customers, ensuring their online transactions remain confidential. A web page should use encryption expected to submit confidential data, including credit card details, passwords or any personal information. All web browsers have the ability to interact with secured sites so long as the site’s certificate is from a recognized certificate authority.

How to identify whether a site uses SSL Certificate?

When a digital certificate is installed on a web page, users will see a padlock icon in the browser address bar. When an Extended Validation Certificates is installed on a web site, the address bar will turn green during secure sessions.

Users on sites with SSL Certificates will also see : https:// in the address bar

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What are the different types of SSL Certificates?

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates: where the Certificate Authority (CA) checks the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name PLUS it conducts a THOROUGH vetting of the organization. The issuance process of EV SSL Certificates is strictly defined in the EV Guidelines, as formally ratified by the CA/Browser forum in 2007, that specify all the steps required for a CA before issuing a certificate, and includes:

  • Verifying the legal, physical and operational existence of the entity
  • Verifying that the identity of the entity matches official records
  • Verifying that the entity has exclusive right to use the domain specified in the EV SSL Certificate
  • Verifying that the entity has properly authorized the issuance of the EV SSL Certificate

EV SSL Certificates are available for all types of businesses, including government entities and both incorporated and unincorporated businesses. A second set of guidelines, the EV Audit Guidelines, specify the criteria under which a CA needs to be successfully audited before issuing EV SSL Certificates. The audits are repeated yearly to ensure the integrity of the issuance process.

Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificates: where the CA checks the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name PLUS it conducts some vetting of the organization. Additional vetted company information is displayed to customers when clicking on the Secure Site Seal, giving enhanced visibility in who is behind the site and associated enhanced trust.

Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates: where the CA checks the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name. No company identity information is vetted and no information is displayed other than encryption information within the Secure Site Seal.

Now, let’s jump into the steps to install SSL certificate to a SharePoint web application using IIS 8.

Note: The SSL Certificate provider in this case is DigiCert

  1. So first you need to start with saving the SSL Certificate file ((your_domain_name.cer) )  to the server on which the CSR was generated.
  2. Open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager–>From the Start screen, type and click Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
  3. In Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, under Connections, select your server’s Hostname.

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4. On the main menu, under IIS section, double-click the Server Certificates

5. In the Actions menu, click Complete Certificate Request to open the Complete Request Certificate .

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6. On the Specify Certificate Authority Response page, under File name containing the certification authority’s response, click  to browse to the .cer certificate file that DigiCert sent you, select the file, and then, click Open.

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7.Next, in the Friendly name box, enter a friendly name for the certificate. The friendly name is not part of the certificate; instead, it is used to identify the certificate. It’s recommended that you add DigiCert and the expiration date to the end of your friendly name, for example: (yoursite-DigiCert-expirationDate). This information helps identify the issuer and expiration date for each certificate. It also helps distinguish multiple certificates with the same domain name.

8.Next, in the Select a certificate store for the new certificate drop-down list, select Personal.

9.To install the SSL Certificate to the server, click OK.

10.Once you have successfully installed the SSL Certificate to the server, you still need use IIS manager to assign or bind that certificate to the SharePoint site.

11. Now, go to Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, under Connections, expand your server’s name, expand Sites, and then select the SharePoint site.

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12.In the Actions menu, under Edit Site, click Bindings.

13. In the Site Binding window, click Add.

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14. In the Add Site Bindings window, enter the following information:

Type: In the drop-down list, select https.
 
IP address: In the drop-down list, select All unassigned( If you’re wondering about what “All unassigned “means, it simply means all IP addresses and not specially the IP address assigned to the current server alone )
If your server has multiple IP addresses, select the one that applies.
 
Port: Enter 443, unless you are using a non-standard port for SSL traffic.
 
SSL certificate: In the drop-down list, select the friendly name of the certificate that you just installed.

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15. When you are finished, click OK.

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16. Once this is done, we need to install the root certificate on the SharePoint 2013 server.

17. For that, log into your certificate provider account. (I’m going with DigiCert here …)

18. Go to DigiCert® Management Console, under Order, click the order number for the SSL Certificate that you just installed.

19. On the My Orders tab, click Download.

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20. In the Download Certificate section, click the Download or Copy/Paste Individual Certificates .

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21. Next, click the ROOT CERTIFICATE icon.12

22. In the Opening TrustedRoot.crt window, click Save File to save the file to your SharePoint server.

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23. Once all this is done , go to SharePoint 2013 Central Administration

24. In SharePoint 2013 Central Administration, in the menu on the left, click Security and then, under General Security, click Manage trust.

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25. On the Trust Relationships page, in the menu at the top of the page, click New.

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26. In the Establish Trust Relationship window, in the General Setting section, in the Name box, type the name that you want to give the SSL Certificate.

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27. In the Root Certificate for the trust relationship section, click Browse to browse for and select the root certificate (i.e. crt).

28. In the Establish Trust Relationship window, click OK.

29. If the certificate is installed successfully, it should be listed on the Trust Relationships page.17

 

30. That’s it, you’re done!!!

Thanks for reading this post .Happy SharePointing!!!

Issues with Minimal Download Strategy feature in SharePoint 2013:

Well like every other SharePoint lover out there I always used to admire SharePoint for its cool features and for also being the best Enterprise Content Management platform ever for the business .However, there are certain features which really sound so cool when we read about it but they really fail to excite us when we work on it .So one among such feature is the “Minimal Download Strategy feature “  and this post is about the issues which you would face when you have this feature activated on your SharePoint site .

Now, if you’re someone who hears about this feature for the first time, here’s my link to an article on Minimal Download strategy which was published on my site couple of days back.

I’ve indeed read couple of articles which speaks about the issues with MDS but this was the first time I ever happened to experience one  .Alright now let’s take a look at this ….

To activate MDS in your site:

Go to Site settings–>Manage site features –> Activate Minimal download Strategy.

ERROR

To repro the error:

Go to a document library in a team site which has the MDS feature activated ( remember this feature will be activated by default in a SharePoint Team site ) and try to delete a document from a document library by clicking on the “ellipsis” –>“ Delete document “ BUTTON , you will see an error as shown below without any correlation ID . However, the document would still get deleted from the document library.

ERROR 3

Now, this error is not because of any bad configuration in your SharePoint Farm or due to any feature dependency for the MDS feature to work seamlessly .This seems to be a problem with the product itself and looks like this hasn’t been fixed it.

Troubleshooting steps and Fix:

I tried to capture the uls logs by turning on verbose logging but it didn’t find any valuable information pertaining to this error. After researching about this in the internet this seems to be a problem with the MDS feature itself that came up in SharePoint 2013.

Fix:

  1. This error doesn’t show up when you try to delete the document using the “delete document” button in the top ribbon interface which is really weird .I have no idea how this is different from the former option which we tried .

ERROR 2

2. Also if you try to by-pass your load balancer by changing the host file of your PC to point a specific WFE, this error won’t show up.

Now, given these scenarios I try to dig a bit deeper about this issue by capturing the fiddler logs as suggested in this blog article and it turns out that the problem is with the response headers. The below mentioned article can give a deeper insight on how to get this fixed.

https://finarne.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/sharepoint-2013-error-after-creating-a-view/

Other errors related to this feature:

Upon reading couple of other blogs it looks like turning on the MDS feature will introduce few more issues like   the “1.Connect to outlook button” not working and “2. “Not able to create a list view “

http://corypeters.net/2013/08/issues-with-minimal-download-strategy/

The above mentioned article was published quite a while back and hence I’m not sure whether the content discussed on that article is still valid.

However ,in my tests I was able to successfully make use of the “Connect to outlook button “ and it didn’t create any problem .I’m yet to try creating a new list view and see if that works and will let you know about that once I’m done testing .

Happy SharePointing!!!! Thanks for reading this post …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powershell script to find and delete orphaned users in SharePoint

[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.SharePoint")

#Functions to Imitate SharePoint 2010 Cmdlets in MOSS 2007
function global:Get-SPWebApplication($WebAppURL)
 {
  return [Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebApplication]::Lookup($WebAppURL)
 }
function global:Get-SPSite($url)
 {
    return new-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($url)
 }
function global:Get-SPWeb($url)
{
  $site= New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($url)
        if($site -ne $null)
            {
               $web=$site.OpenWeb();      
            }
    return $web
}
#Function to Check if an User exists in AD
function CheckUserExistsInAD()
   {
   Param( [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)] [string]$UserLoginID )
 
  #Search the User in AD
  $forest = [System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectory.Forest]::GetCurrentForest()
  foreach ($Domain in $forest.Domains)
  {
   $context = new-object System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectory.DirectoryContext("Domain", $Domain.Name)
         $domain = [System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectory.Domain]::GetDomain($context)
   
   $root = $domain.GetDirectoryEntry()
         $search = [System.DirectoryServices.DirectorySearcher]$root
         $search.Filter = "(&(objectCategory=User)(samAccountName=$UserLoginID))"
         $result = $search.FindOne()
         if ($result -ne $null)
         {
           return $true
         }
  }
  return $false
 }
 
 $WebAppURL="<a class="vglnk" href="https://sharepoint.crescent.com" rel="nofollow"><span>https</span><span>://</span><span>sharepoint</span><span>.</span><span>crescent</span><span>.</span><span>com</span></a>"
 #Get all Site Collections of the web application
 $WebApp = Get-SPWebApplication $WebAppURL
 #Iterate through all Site Collections
 foreach($site in $WebApp.Sites) 
    {
 #Get all Webs with Unique Permissions - Which includes Root Webs
 $WebsColl = $site.AllWebs | Where {$_.HasUniqueRoleAssignments -eq $True} | ForEach-Object {
        
        $OrphanedUsers = @()
        
  #Iterate through the users collection
  foreach($User in $_.SiteUsers)
  {
      #Exclude Built-in User Accounts , Security Groups & an external domain "corporate"
   if(($User.LoginName.ToLower() -ne "nt authority\authenticated users") -and
                ($User.LoginName.ToLower() -ne "sharepoint\system") -and
                  ($User.LoginName.ToLower() -ne "nt authority\local service"-and
                      ($user.IsDomainGroup -eq $false ) -and
                          ($User.LoginName.ToLower().StartsWith("corporate") -ne $true) )
                   {
                    $UserName = $User.LoginName.split("\")  #Domain\UserName
                    $AccountName = $UserName[1]    #UserName
                    if ( ( CheckUserExistsInAD $AccountName) -eq $false )
                    {
                         Write-Host "$($User.Name)($($User.LoginName)) from $($_.URL) doesn't Exists in AD!"
                                    
                                    #Make a note of the Orphaned user
                                    $OrphanedUsers+=$User.LoginName
                    }
                   }
  }
        
        # ****  Remove Users ****#
        # Remove the Orphaned Users from the site
        # foreach($OrpUser in $OrphanedUsers)
        #   {
        #        $_.SiteUsers.Remove($OrpUser)
        #        Write-host "Removed the Orphaned user $($OrpUser) from $($_.URL) "
        #   }
        
 }
}

 

Solution for the list view issue with MS16-004 (January 2016 PU) for SharePoint 2013

Please refer to Stefan Gobner’s blog link below where he talks about the fix for the list view issue that was introduced with (MS 16-004) Jan 12,2016 security patch update .

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/stefan_gossner/2016/01/15/solution-for-the-list-view-issue-with-ms16-004-january-2016-pu-for-sharepoint-2013/

 

 

What to expect from Visio Service in SharePoint 2013?

VisiodrawingInSP480x412

Alright ,I happened to work on a small project where I was supposed to configure the “Visio Services” in SharePoint Server 2013 for my customers  and I’m writing this article to share my experience on  that . Now , I’m not going to talk about how to configure “Visio Services” in SharePoint 2013 as I guess that’s a pretty straight forward process unless you’re gonna deal with configuring external data sources .

I’m just gonna talk about what to expect from Visio services in SharePoint 2013 , once again this article is only gonna discuss about the bare minimum features in Visio Services and I’m not gonna take a deep dive into it and talk about stuff like  external data sources in this post .I’m saving that topic for a different post ….

1.What is Visio Service in SharePoint Server 2013?

Visio Service in SharePoint Server 2013 can let users share and view Visio diagrams.

2.What’s the use and benefits of Visio Service?

Visio diagrams can be rendered by Visio Services and viewed in a Web browser. This lets users view Visio documents without having Visio or the Visio Viewer installed on the local computer. This also allows diagrams to be viewed on mobile devices. Basic exploration and navigation of these rendered diagrams are supported within the “Visio Web Access” Web Part. Page designers can configure the user interface and functionality of the Web Part.

3.What are the supported Visio file formats in SharePoint Server 2013?

Visio Services in SharePoint Server 2013 can render diagrams created in Visio 2010 or Visio 2013.

For Visio 2010,

Visio diagrams created in Visio 2010 must be created using Visio 2010 Professional or Visio 2010 Premium and must be published to a SharePoint site as a Visio Web drawing (*.vdw) file

For Visio 2013,

Visio diagrams created in Visio 2013 must be created by using Visio Professional 2013. The new standard diagram format in Visio Professional 2013 (*.vsdx files) can be rendered by Visio Services, along with the Web drawing (.vdw) format

4.Which file format is not supported by Visio service in SharePoint Server 2013?

(.vsd files) are not rendered by Visio Services and require Visio 2010 client app to be viewed. Similarly you won’t be able to open a Visio file with (.vsdx) file format using Visio 2010 client app and in order to open it you need to have the Service pack 2 for Visio 2010 installed in your PC.

5. Where can I upload a Visio file to view it?

Like any other Microsoft office files you can upload a Visio file to a document library in SharePoint for your users to view it and to share it with others.

6.What can’t be done using Visio services?

As already mention above “Visio services” in SharePoint can only allow users to view Visio files and hence you can’t edit a Visio file using Visio services. In order to edit a Visio file that is stored within SharePoint you should have the Visio client application installed in your PC.

7.What happens when I click on the “OPEN IN VISIO “button on a Visio file?

Visio 1

Clicking on this button will check whether you have the supported Visio client application installed in your PC and will open the Visio file using the Visio client app. You can edit the file if you want and save it back to SharePoint.

8.How to use the Visio Web Access Web Part to display a Visio file in SharePoint?

Please follow the steps below to make use of the “Visio Web Access web part”:

1.Make sure you have the “SharePoint Server Enterprise Site collection feature” activated under Site collection features. If you don’t have access to do this, please ask your Site collection administrator to this.

2.Make sure you have edit/design rights on the SharePoint site and click on the top ribbon on the SharePoint page and hit the “edit” button as shown in the image below.

Visio 2

3.Once done, click on the “insert” button and try to add the “Visio Web Access web part” by clicking on “Web part” .Please check the screenshot below.

Visio 1

4.Choose the “Visio Web access” web part from the Business data category as shown in the image below.

Visio 3

5.Once done clicking on the “Visio web access “web part, please choose where exactly you want the web part to be displayed in the page.

6.After adding the web part to your site, please click on the drop-down on the top right corner and choose the edit web part option as shown in the image below.

Visio 4

7. Choose the path of the Visio file by clicking on the “Web drawing url “ option on the tool pane .Make sure you have the Visio file already saved in a document library beforehand .

Visio 5

8. Once you’re done adding the “Visio file” go to the “Appearance” section below and choose “None” under “Chrome Type” as shown in the image below.

Visio 6

9. That’s it, you’re all done now. You should be able to see the Visio file being displayed on the SharePoint site.

 

Cleaning up disk space in SharePoint servers:

This article mainly discusses on the steps to be performed if you happen to come across a scenario where the “C drive”  is filled in the SharePoint server. In our environment we have the SharePoint Servers installed on the C drive and it’s very important that we maintain an adequate amount of free space in the C drive for SharePoint to function seamlessly.

Please use the WinDirStat tool to check the contents in the C drive .This will give you a detailed information about all the folders in the C drive and thus can be used to identify the folders which is larger in space.

WinDirStat Tool:

       WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for various versions.

On start up, it reads the whole directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views:

  1. The directory list, which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size,

  2. The tree map, which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away,

  3. The extension list, which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types.

WinDirStat Tool download link :_ http://filehippo.com/download_windirstat/

Listed below are few scenarios that can contribute to the C disk space increase:

  1. The Windows update option is set as “ Download updates but let me choose whether to install them”

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  If you choose this option in the “Windows update center” then the Windows update service will start to automatically download the updates from the Microsoft Update server and will be waiting for us to install it. The update files in this case will be automatically downloaded to the Software distribution folder(C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download) increasing the C drive space.

Fix:  Please make sure that this option is set to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to install them “. In this case the download center won’t download any updates from the Microsoft servers unless and until we manually click on the “download “button to download the updates. Hence this won’t result in unnecessary disk space increase.

2. Check whether “Diagnostic Logging” is set to “Verbose” in Central Administration. If that’s the case then the log file size will increase rapidly resulting in a disk space increase.

Note:  However, this depends on the path configured for “Diagnostic Logging “.If its set to some other drive other than the “C drive “ then there shouldn’t be any problem.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee748619(v=office.14).aspx

23. Check the space consumed by the logged in user profiles. This can be done by navigating to System properties à User profiles. Check whether the space consumed by all the user profiles is normal .If you see any abnormal increase in the space consumed by any user profile then please go ahead and delete that profile by selecting that user profile and clicking on the “delete” button.

Note: If you delete the user profile from “System properties” then this will remove the user profile from the registry as well. The next time someone logs into the server with that account, a new user profile will be created for that account.

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Steps for troubleshooting “My Tasks error in SharePoint 2013 My site“

This post is intended for those who are seeing an error as shown in the image below while accessing the “My Tasks” link in your SharePoint My site. As you all know for yourself the “My Task” link which you see in your SharePoint My site is driven by the “Work Management Service application” and it’s necessary to ensure that the WMA service is turned on and configured to run successfully. While I say the WMA service is the one that takes care of the “My Task “list that’s not the only component on which the “My Task “  list relies upon . There are couple of other dependencies such as “Search crawl” and “User Profile service” which takes care of the “My Task “list.

The “My Task” list in your SharePoint My site can display three different type of tasks ….

  1. The tasks assigned to you from Outlook ( this is possible only when you’re running Exchange Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013…they both need to be running on 2013 version )
  2. The tasks assigned to you from MS Project if you have that running in your environment and have configured that to sync with SharePoint.
  3. The tasks assigned to you using the default SharePoint “Task list “.

The Work Management Service Application provides functionality to aggregate tasks to a central location on SharePoint Server:

  1. Users get the possibility to view and track their to-dos and tasks.
  2. Tasks can be cached to a user’s personal site.
  3. Tasks can sync to Outlook where users can edit them wherever they have access to Outlook.
  4. Tasks can be aggregated from Exchange, Project Server and SharePoint.
  5. Based on ‘Provider model’ so that other systems can be integrated in the future.

Now, if the WMA (Work Management Service Application ) is not configured properly then you might end up seeing an error as shown in the figure below and you need to perform the below mentioned troubleshooting steps to get this fixed.

My task

Troubleshooting steps to fix this error:

  1. The Work Management Service Application should use the same account as the web application.
  2. Verify whether the service account for Work Management Service application has full control permissions on the User Profile Service application on Central Administration.
  3. Verify whether the service account for Work Management Service application has full control permissions on the Work Management Service application on Central Administration.
  4. Ensure that you do the above mentioned steps on the instance of the service application which is connected to the My site web application.
  5. Grant “Full Control” to the work management service account on the User Profile service application using “administrators” button on the ribbon.
  6. In addition to that grant “Full control” to the work management service account on the user profile service application using the “permissions” button on the ribbon.
  7. Ensure that the work management service account is given appropriate permissions in the “My site” content database.
  8. Check whether the service account of the Work management service application is equal to the identity of the web application pool because this could be an issue with the permissions too.
  9. Restart the Work management service and the user profile service on the servers.
  10. Perform an IIS reset.
  11. If this didn’t help ,please run the below mentioned PowerShell command

Run the PowerShell command to grant content access to a process account to the MY SITE web application:

  • $webApp = Get-SpWebApplication [URL of the MYSite web application
    $webapp.GrantAccessToProcessIdentity(“[Work Management account]”)
  • Note: this should do three things:
  •      Add the work management account to the user policy of the web application
  •      Add the work  management account to the config database with the permissions of     WSS_Content_Application_Pools
  •      Add the work management account to the My Site content database with the permissions of SPDataAccess.

12. Perform an IIS reset once done and also restarting the server and critical services is recommended.

IMPORTANT:

The tasks are stored in a hidden list called “WmaAggregatorList_User” at the personal site of individual users.

WMA aggregates tasks from SharePoint lists created in SharePoint Server (internally called TasksWithTimelineAndHierarchy-171) plus upgraded SharePoint lists from earlier versions of SharePoint (internally called Task-107 or GanttTasks-150).

 

Patching Distributed Cache in SharePoint Server 2013

The Distributed Cache plays an important role in SharePoint Server 2013 as it’s a key component for performance and caching. Distributed Cache is not a SharePoint service, it’s a standalone service called AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server. SharePoint Server 2013 requires Windows Server App Fabric and the App Fabric 1.1 CU 1 (KB 2671763) to be installed .It takes care and improves the performance of the following features in SharePoint Server 2013:

  • Authentication
  • Newsfeeds
  • OneNote client access
  • Security Trimming
  • Page load performance

This document explains in detail about the procedure to be followed for patching the App Fabric component in Windows Server. An App Fabric Cumulative Update is exactly the same as a CU for SharePoint, it contains all previous CUs. So if we install CU6 you also get CU1 to CU5 installed.

List of App Fabric 1.1 Cumulative Updates:

Note: If you want to identify the version of App Fabric installed in your machine and also the CU version which is installed, please go to the “Programs and Features” section in Control panel and take a look at installed updates.

AF

  1. The version number would be listed there.
  2. The installed CU would also be listed there with the corresponding KB number.

 

System Requirements:

  1. Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 32-bit or 64-bit.
  2. Before applying the cumulative update, make sure you have administrative privileges on the computer where you’re installing this software.
  3. To apply this cumulative update package, we must have AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server installed. Additionally, we should also have the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 installed.
  4. A system restart is required after installing the Cumulative Update.

Now let’s take a look on the steps to be followed for installing the CU on a server running SharePoint 2013.

Listed below are the steps to be followed for applying the App Fabric CU’s:

  1. Please download the CU from Microsoft download center .I’m considering the CU 6 here. Download link for App Fabric 1.1. CU 6 :_ https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3042099
  2. Once done downloading the cumulative update package to the server in which you’re going to run it, please run the below mentioned to gracefully shutdown the service instance on the local machine.

Stop-SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance –Graceful

  1. This command will gracefully shutdown the service instance on the local machine. A graceful shutdown means that all the cache items will be distributed to the other service instances in the cache cluster.
  2. Wait for minutes to make sure that all the cached items has properly propagated to the other servers.
  3. Now it’s time to run the package, run the patch executable and follow the instructions. It’s basically a next, next, finish procedure. The App Fabric 1.1 CU 6 doesn’t need any specific change to be made on the exe.config  file like how CU 3 did. So please proceed further by clicking next.
  4. Once you’re done installing the CU, please restart the computer.
  5. When the machine is back online, please run the below mentioned command to start the service instance again. The App Fabric Windows Service will be disabled when its shutdown and we are not supposed to start it manually. Please use the below mentioned PowerShell command to do that.

$instanceName =”SPDistributedCacheService Name=AppFabricCachingService”

$serviceInstance = Get-SPServiceInstance | ? {($_.service.tostring()) -eq $instanceName -and ($_.server.name) -eq $env:computername}

$serviceInstance.Provision()

  1. This command will turn on the Distributed Cache service instance on the machine and will start the AppFabric Windows Service.
  2. Once you’re done completing all the above mentioned steps you’re now ready to move on to the next machine.
  3. Please allow some time for the newly patched cache service instance to catch up.
  4. Finally run the below mentioned commands to check if the Distributed cache service is back online.

To see what  Distributed cache-servers SharePoint thinks there are run this:

Get-SPServiceInstance | ? {($_.service.tostring()) -eq “SPDistributedCacheService              Name=AppFabricCachingService”} | select Server, Status

For AppFabric run this from a machine already in the cache-cluster:

Use-CacheCluster

Get-CacheHost

  1. This will confirm whether the Distributed cache service is back online from a SharePoint as well as from an App Fabric perspective.
  2. For any reason, if you don’t see the status of the servers as “online”, please go ahead and run the below mentioned command to remove and re-add the Distributed Cache Service Instance.

To remove:  Remove-SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance

To Add   :    Add-SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance

  1. Run the remove command first and then wait for couple of minutes and then run the add command.
  2. At last, once everything looks fine you’re good to go ahead and patch the second server following the same steps mentioned above.