Next Tuesday, December 2nd 2014, I will be hosting a webinar together with Datapolis to talk about workflows, and more particularly SharePoint Designer Workflows. Here is the info:

Process automation is one of the most wanted benefits that SharePoint offers. In this session we will look at three must have workflows for SharePoint by using SharePoint Designer as well as a lot of useful tips and tricks that can be used in any SharePoint 2010 & SharePoint 2013 workflows.

 

Agenda

 

During this webinar you will learn how to:

- Improve business processes with workflow logic

- Select the workflow which meets your process requirements

- Choose between SharePoint Designer and other solutions depending on your needs

 

Duration

 

60 minutes

 

Speaker

Vlad is a SharePoint Consultant with more than 5 years in IT specializing in analyzing and deploying your perfect SharePoint infrastructure. He is currently working as a President and Senior Consultant at his own company: vNext Solutions. Vlad is currently the youngest SharePoint MVP in the world and is known in the community for his technical abilities and for founding the biggest and most active SharePoint Community that you can find at www.SharePoint-Community.net. Vlad also has his own blog at http://www.absolute-sharepoint.com and he often shares his knowledge by speaking at local conferences and community events.

 
 

Please note the event is at 10AM Eastern Time on the registration page of the webinar you can switch timezone to be able to see them in your timezone.

 

Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1271680118121811714?source=spcommunity

Today I was at a client and we wanted to create a new Managed Property called “EntityName”. It looked simple, just create a new manage property, set your options, click OK and it’s done! However, we got this strange error:

internal problem connecting to or querying the database

“The settings could not be saved because of an internal error: There was an internal problem connecting to or querying the database.”

After reading the error message, my first reaction was checking if the SQL was up and I didn’t have any Access Denied errors in the Event Viewer. However, everything looked up. I then looked up in the ULS and found the following log:

SqlError: ‘Violation of PRIMARY KEY constraint ‘PK_MSSManagedProperties’. Cannot insert duplicate key in object ‘dbo.MSSManagedProperties’. The duplicate key value is (EntityName, 0).’ Source: ‘.Net SqlClient Data Provider’ Number: 2627 State: 1 Class: 14 Procedure: ‘proc_MSS_AddManagedPropertyEx’ LineNumber: 52 Server: SQLSERVER,1433′

SqlError: ‘The statement has been terminated.’ Source: ‘.Net SqlClient Data Provider’ Number: 3621 State: 0 Class: 0 Procedure: ‘proc_MSS_AddManagedPropertyEx’ LineNumber: 52 Server: SQLSERVER,1433′

According to the log, there is already a managed property called “EntityName” in Managed properties, however when I do a Search for it, it doesn’t show up!

I wanted to know more on the problem, so I went to SQL Database (PS: Microsoft doesn’t recommend you to do this!) and looked what’s inside the ‘dbo.MSSManagedProperties’ table. I then found something really interesting, there is a field called “Hidden”! And no surprise, my “EntityName” was in there:

So, to help you in the future, here are all the hidden Managed Properties in SharePoint 2013:

PID FriendlyName PID FriendlyName
0 All

2147418060

ows_taxId_SPLocationSite
2147418028 AnchorLink

2147418054

PHFlags
2147418033 BaseHref

69

PluggableSdid
2147418035 ChangeID

2147418042

PluggableSecurityBlob
2147418048 ChangeIDEnd

2147418089

PluggableSecurityTrimmerId
9 ContentExcludeFromSummaries

99

QIRExternal
2147418058 CrawlLogLevel

2147418057

RankPrecalBottom
2147418036 CrawlObjectID

2147418056

RankPrecalTop
2147418090 CrawlUrl

2147418019

RedirectedURL
2147418034 CRC

2147418018

Robots
2147450879 DefaultProperties

330

SameEnumDepthProps
2147418016 DirLink

2147418080

Scope
2147418021 DirLinkSecurityUpdate

2147418027

SecurityBlob
2147418020 DirLinkWithTime

2147418053

SecurityId
2147418026 EndAnchor

2147418031

SecurityProvider
2000000001 EntityName

2147418038

SiteContainer
2000000002 EntityNamespace

2147418088

SocialDistance
2147418022 FollowAll

2147418091

Summary Description
2147418023 FollowNone

70

TAUCCLICK0
12 IndexDocId

71

TAUCCLICK1
2147418037 IndexRare

72

TAUCCLICK2
183 InternalExpiresInDays

73

TAUCCLICK3
674 IsPartiallyProcessed

74

TAUCCLICK4
2147418039 LinkHRef

2147418049

TAUCCLICKNOTIFY
2147418040 LinkOfficeChild

2147418051

TAUCDISPLAYURL
2147418041 LinkOfficeChildList

2147418050

TAUCTITLE
2147418043 NonDocument

2147418046

TempAuthor
2147418024 NormalizedForwardURL

2147418062

TempLastModifiedTime
2147418025 NormalizedURL
68 NtSdid
2147418044 ows_MetadataFacetInfo
2147418045 ows_SPLocationInfo
2147418059 ows_taxId_SPLocationInfo
2147418061 ows_taxId_SPLocationList

So, to fix this problem, make sure you name your new Managed Property something that is not in the columns above!

Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

I was working at a client that was configuring Business Connectivity Services to bring data from an ERP into SharePoint. Of course, the main benefit of bringing it to SharePoint was being able to Search information using the powerful SharePoint 2013 Search Engine.

As you see in the following screenshot, I had 4 External Content Types from which I wanted to bring information in SharePoint. This guide assumes your profile pages for your External Content Types were already created!

First of all I created a new Content Source, setup all the options and run my full Crawl, I was able to search the data in SharePoint! Great!

However, the benefit of SharePoint Search is that you can heavily customize the search in order to bring results that really matter to the user. So, in my Enterprise Search Center, I wanted to add tabs that would only show me results from Projects or Clients. So, I created a new Search Page by clicking on the “Add Page” link in the Search Center and naming it “ClientResults”.

I then went into Site Settings > Search Settings and added a new “link”. I pointed it to “/search/Pages/ClientResults.aspx”

So Now, I did the same for “Projects” As well, so now when I go into my Search Center and click the arrow, I got the “Projects” and “Clients” choices!

But, whenever I Search, it doesn’t filter anything! It’s basically the same as “Everything”. We got to go change this! I will show the screenshots from the point of a SharePoint Administrator, however you can do this even if you don’t have access to the Central Administration! If you are a Power User, you can follow the tutorial from Site Settings > Search. We will use the “Schema” and “Result Sources” option.

Back to Central Administration > Service Applications
> Search Service Applications , on the bottom left, you will click on the “Search Schema“. And then Create a New Managed Property

Here are the Details I gave it:

 

 

Now, in the Mappings to crawled properties part, click on “Add a Mapping

In the “Business Data” Category, choose the “EntityName” crawled property and select OK.

 

Now, just click on the OK button and the managed property will be created!

 

Now that we got our managed property, we will need to do a full crawl of both the BCS and the SharePoint Content Sources! This will make sure that the data is crawled, as well as the search schema is updated!

After the full crawl is done, we will go in the Search Service Application > Result Sources and then click New Result Source.

After you fill the initial information, launch the “Query Builder

Create a Result Source for a BCS Entity

 

In the Query Builder, we will focus on the “Property Filter” part. First of all, click on the “Select Property” dropdown, and choose to “Show all managed properties”


Afterwards, reclick on the dropdown, select the BCSEntityName managed property we just created. The operation must be “Equals“. And then you will choose “Manual Value“. In the textbox right under, insert your database name, in my case it’s “client“. And then click on “Add property Filter“.

We will then click on the “Test Query” button. If everything is ok, you will see a bunch of your records and they are pointing to the good URL of your Profile Page!

Once that works , click on Ok to close the Query Builder, and then OK again to save your new Result Source!

Now, all we have to do is modify the Search Page to show us the right stuff! Navigate to your Search Center, Search for something random and go to the “Clients” Tab. Then, click on the settings wheel and click on “Edit Page”

Then, Edit the Search Results WebPart.

Click the “Change query” button.

 

In the Select a Query dropdown, choose the ClientBCS option! You can then customize it further in the Refiners & Sorting options, however we won’t go there in this tutorial. Click OK.

 

Afterwards, click OK on the “Edit WebPart” window.

Afterwards, check in the page and publish it! Now when you search in Clients, you should only find Client Names and nothing else! You are done!

Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

While configuring some Search Result Sources for a client, I had the following error when trying to build my query.

“The Search display templates are not present on this site collection. To add them, you need to activate the “Search Server Web Parts and Templates” feature on the Site Collection Features page.

Display Error: The display template had an error. You can correct it by fixing the template or by changing the display template used in either the Web Part properties or Result Types.

Template ‘~sitecollection/_Catalogs/masterpage/DisplayTemplates/System/Control_QueryBuilderPreview.js’ not found or has sytax errors. (Load Template: ) ”

Search Display Templates are not present on this Site Collection

After looking at what was missing, me and my colleague Joseph Henry Passineau found that in fact there was a feature missing on the Central Administration site collection. The feature is called Search WebParts. So, to fix the problem, simply run the following command in an elevated SharePoint Management Shell:

Enable-SPFeature SearchWebParts -url http://<central admin url>

Afterwards, re open the “build your query” page, and everything should work properly!

Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

While I was doing a Proof of Concept for Community sites in SharePoint 2013, I wanted to show how users can automatically join communities without being approved by an administrator. However, when I went into the Community Settings I didn’t see the “Enable Auto Approval” checkbox!

 Missing Enable Auto Approval

When it should look like this

I checked in Microsoft’s code to see if this is a bug, or made on purpose by the SharePoint Team, and it’s in fact made on purpose by the SharePoint team!

I found out that the “Auto-Approval for permission request” section only appears when your community is a site collection and not a sub-site! So, if you need this functionality, make sure you create your community as a Site Collection!

Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

While doing a SharePoint installation at one of my clients using AutoSPInstaller, I kept having problems with the SharePoint Search Provisioning. After looking in the Event Logs, I found that there was an Access Denied Error on a certain Registry Key. The Event ID is 8193. Usually, the Event Viewer shows you what account has an access denied, but this time it wasn’t the case!

Also, for Search purposes, here is the error from AutoSPInstaller

Exception : System.Management.Automation.MethodInvocationException: Exception calling “Unprovision” with “0” argument(s): “The executing code must run on server SPWFE1.” —> System.InvalidOperationException: The executing code must run on server SPWFE1.

And the error from the event viewer:

Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error calling routine RegOpenKeyExW(-2147483646,SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VSS\Diag,…). hr = 0x80070005, Access is denied.

Operation:

Initializing Writer

Context:

Writer Class Id: {0ff1ce15-0201-0000-0000-000000000000}

Writer Name: OSearch15 VSS Writer

Writer Instance Name: OSearch15 Replication Service

Writer Instance ID: {a7e6cfde-ea80-43fa-b33e-e5b879a27133

 

So I went in the Event “Details” Tab to try and find more about the error, but at the first look, nothing displayed more info about the account name.

Event ID: 8193

However, when we scroll down in the Event Viewer, there is a “Binary to Word” translation that helps us a lot more! When we look at it, we can see the account number on multiple lines!

 

 

 

 

 

It was my Services account who didn’t have access to a registry key! To fix the error, do the following steps >

  1. Open regedit as an Administrator.
  2. Navigate to HKLM > System > Current Control Set > Services

  3. Then find the “VSS” folder!

  4. Right click on the “VSS” folder. And then click on permissions,

  5. Add the account that had an Access Denied and found earlier in the script and give it Full Control as it needs Read & Write to the VSS!

  6. You should make sure that this account has access to the VSS Registry key on all the SharePoint Servers in the farm having a search Component. I recommend doing a reboot after changing the registry key, however it should work without one!

 

Now your Search provisioning should work without any problem!
Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

Yesterday, Microsoft Learning decided to give us an early Christmas Gift and give us 4 exams for the cloud for free! Those exams will allow us to get either a Microsoft Specialist Certification in Azure or a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) on Office 365! Here are the eligible exams:

To earn Microsoft Certified Specialist in Azure, pass one or both of these exams:

  • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • 70-533: Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions

To earn Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate in Office 365, pass both of these exams:

  • 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements
  • 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services

However, please note the offer is limited to 10 000 vouchers and you must takes all your free exams before December 31st 2014!

Here are the Official Terms and Conditions from Microsoft Learning:

Terms and Conditions for Microsoft Certification Exam Vouchers:

  • Offer good until December 31, 2014 for up to a total of 10,000 vouchers distributed worldwide.
  • Eligible exams: A voucher may be redeemed to take one of the following MCP exams: 70-532 (beta), 70-533, 70-346 or 70-347. This offer does not include Microsoft Technology Associate exams.
  • Offer ends on December 31, 2014 or while supplies last. Individuals must register for and take all exams prior to December 31, 2014.
  • Vouchers may not be used for any other offering than the specified offer.
  • Microsoft, Prometric and APTCs are not responsible for lost or stolen vouchers or voucher numbers.
  • Vouchers may not be redeemed for cash, credit or refunds.
  • Expired, stolen or lost vouchers will not be replaced.
  • Vouchers may not be applied to exams that have already been taken.
  • Vouchers are nontransferable and are void if altered or revised in any way.
  • Any resale or distribution of vouchers is expressly prohibited.
  • Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the recipient.
  • There is a rescheduling fee for individuals who reschedule or cancel their appointment to take an exam 15 or fewer days before the scheduled date.
  • Individuals that cancel or reschedule their appointment to take an exam seventy-two hours or less from the scheduled time will forfeit their exam voucher (voucher cannot be used again).
  • Individuals that fail to show up for their scheduled exam appointment will forfeit their exam voucher (voucher cannot be used again).
  • Voucher expiration dates cannot be extended under any circumstances.
  • To register for an exam, visit the Prometric website www.prometric.com.  You must provide the Voucher code provided by Prometric when registering to take an exam.
  • Exam 70-532 is a beta exam and all beta policies apply.
  • Due to government gift and ethics laws, government employees (including military and employees of public education institutions) are not eligible to participate.

 UPDATE(17 Oct 6PM Est): Out of vouchers for now, but MS Learning said more will be released soon! You can always try your luck on the link below!

Update on November 6, 2014: 

Great news! Due to popular demand, we have reloaded the voucher portal today. Supply is limited, so visit http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/goodstuff/p/mcp.aspx now to request your voucher.

All vouchers must be used at Prometric testing centers by December 31, 2014. Scroll down for instructions, FAQs, and terms and conditions of this offer.

To get your voucher, go to this page: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/goodstuff/p/mcp.aspx Please note, the site had some troubles lately but MS Learning is fixing it and should be done by the time you read this blog post! To read the official announcement click here.

 

Share this Offer with your friends on twitter and let them profit as well!

Tweet: Get Certified on #Offce365 and #Azure with 4 FREE Exams! http://ctt.ec/1JFnd+ by @vladcatrinescu Get your voucher now! #BorntoLearn
Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

This summer, the Microsoft Azure Team released a very interesting feature with the new feature in which you can create a full SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure with just a few clicks. Microsoft, however explicitly says that this is not for production, but only for evaluating SharePoint 2013 or testing your deployments on a SharePoint 2013 highly available (HA) environment.

Talking about HA, the SharePoint 2013 farm template comes in two flavors:

  • A basic two tier SharePoint 2013 farm (SP + SQL + DC)
    SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure

    Source: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-sharepoint-farm-azure-preview/

  • A Highly Available SharePoint Farm (2 WFE + 2 APP + 2 SQL + 2 DC)

Source: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-sharepoint-farm-azure-preview/

In this Blog Posts, I will show you a step by step on how to create your SharePoint 2013 farm in a few clicks and what result you get at the end! Before you start the tutorial, you might ask yourself “What exactly am I going to have after finishing this tutorial?”. It’s a great question, so here is the short version:

  • A SharePoint 2013 farm that represents one of the topologies above. You cannot customize the number of APP / WFE servers, the only two options are pictured above.
  • The farm will run on SharePoint 2013 Service pack 1.
  • No Service Applications or customizations.
  • SQL Server is running SQL Server 2014.
  • If you went for the high availability option, the databases will be in an AlwaysOn availability group.
  • 1 Webapp & 1 Site collection

Step by Step Guide

  1. Navigate to the Azure Portal (in Preview at the time of writing this posts) > https://portal.azure.com/

    SharePoint 2013 Farm in Azure

  2. On the bottom left, click on the “New” green plus sign, and then select “SharePoint Server Farm”

  3. The first few questions will ask you to name your Resource Group as well as to create a User. Please remember this user, as you will need it to login to the servers later on! This screen will also ask you if you want to “Enable High Availability”. Although it’s just a simple checkbox, this is where you decide if you want the simple two-tier SharePoint or the Highly Available SharePoint three tier farm we saw above! For the purpose of this tutorial I went for the highly available option!

  1. Click on the Domain Controllers tab to configure settings. In this tab, you can select your Host name prefix as well as your forest root domain name. You can also modify the size of the Virtual Machines you want to create! If you want your credit to last longer, you can put a smaller size, however performance will suffer as well! When you’re done with your settings, press OK!

  2. After your DC’s are setup, click on the SQL Servers tab to setup your SQL Servers. In this tab you can setup your Host name Prefix again as well as select the size of your SQL VM’s. You can also change the SQL Service account and give it a different password. Since this is for a test, I just left the same password as the account I created in Step 3. Again, if you want your credits to last longer, you can choose smaller Virtual Machines in the Pricing Tier category, however your performance will suffer! The file Share witness, is the witness of your availability group. You can’t change any options on that one! Press OK when done

  1. After you’re done with the SQL, time to setup SharePoint Servers. In the SharePoint Servers tab you can again select what pricing tier you want your four virtual machines to use, as well as select the username and password for your two service accounts. Microsoft will only create two service accounts for you, since, as mentioned before, it won’t create any service applications! You can either use a custom password or the same one as the account in step 3.

  1. I didn’t list it in the steps, but in the Optional Configuration you can change your subnet and a lot of Network stuff. Since it’s only a test farm, I don’t recommend changing anything unless you really need to. In the Subscription tab, you must choose the subscription that will pay for this farm! Most people only have one, so not a lot of choices, but for other people they have one from the MCT and one from their partner MSDN for example! I choose my biggest one so I could at least finish this article before it runs out!

  1. The last Step before we hit the Create button is to select where do we want our farm to be hosted! Since I live in Montreal, I choose Eastern US since it’s the closest one to me!

 

  1. Click the Create Button!

 

  1. Wait! The whole process took about 1h30 for me

 

Let’s see the result

 

After waiting for the farm to create, you can see a new “tile” in your Azure Portal by the name of your farm. When you click on it you see all the information about your resource group.

For your SharePoint Farm, one important detail to check out is in the Deployment history. When you click on the tab, you will find out what the Central Admin URL is as well as your first Site Collection!

If you want to Remote Desktop into a Virtual Machine, click on the SharePointFarm1 resource group, then select the server you want to remote Desktop into, and lastly click on Connect.


Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this step by step tutorial and it will help you test drive Cumulative Updates, lab scenarios or anything before you send them in production! I think that this a great new feature in Azure from the Azure team and I will probably use it in the past! However, I wish we had the option to include Office Web Apps, as well as having all or at least some Service Application (ex; Search) coming configured out of the box!

What do you think about this feature?

Leave  a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

If you’re interested by Azure and the IAAS concept, make sure you reserve October 21st because Microsoft is organizes the second AzureConf! AzureConf 2014 is a free Azure Conference and  being a community event, releases all the sessions on channel 9 shortly after the conference. If you wanna get a preview of what it looks like, you can visit the 2013 sessions here Windows AzureConf 2013

free Azure Conference

Here are some words about AzureConf 2014:

On October 21st, 2014, Microsoft will be hosting AzureConf, another free event for the Azure community. This event will feature a keynote presentation by Scott Guthrie, along with numerous sessions executed by Azure community members. Streamed live for an online audience on Channel 9, the event will allow you to see how developers just like you are using Azure to develop robust, scalable applications on Azure. Community members from all over the world will join known speakers such as Michael Collier, Mike Martin, Rick Garibay, and Chris Auld in the Channel 9 studios to present their own inventions and experiences. Whether you’re just learning Microsoft Azure or you’ve already achieved success on the platform, you won’t want to miss this special event.

You can find out more about AzureConf 2014 on their website over here https://www.azureconf.net/

With the New Year coming in just 2 and a half months, I know I am not the only one who wanted to finish some Microsoft Certifications in 2014! Luckily, Microsoft Learning decided to give 15% off on most Microsoft Exams before December 31st!

15% off on most Microsoft Exams

Here are the details taken from the Born to Learn blog:

  • Offer available from September 25, 2014 to December 31, 2014 or while supplies last.
  • Individuals must register for and take a Microsoft Certified Professional exam between September 25, 2014 and December 31, 2014 at an authorized Pearson VUE testing center, or between October 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 at authorized Prometric testing centers.
  • Promotional code may only be used for exams taken by December 31, 2014.
  • You must enter the promotional code 15OFF or STU15OFF when registering to take an exam to receive discount.  Discount will be taken off the cost of the exam at payment.
  • This promotion is limited to Microsoft Certified Professional exams Commercial (070) and Direct to Student (072, 073) exams only.
  • Promotional code may be redeemed only in country from which they were received.
  • Promotional code may not be applied to exams previously taken or prior registrations.
  • Promotional code may not be combined with other discounts or vouchers.
  • Promotional code has no cash value.
  • Promotional code may not be used for any offering.
  • To register to take an exam, visit https://www.microsoft.com/learning/exam.
  • There is a rescheduling fee for individuals who reschedule or cancel their appointment to take an exam 15 or fewer days before the scheduled date.
  • There are no refunds for individuals that cancel or reschedule their appointment to take an exam seventy-two hours or less from the scheduled time.
  • There are no refunds for individuals that fail to show up for their scheduled exam appointment.
  • Due to government gift and ethics laws, government employees (including military and employees of public education institutions) are not eligible to participate.

You can find out all the details & the official announcement on the Born to Learn Blog over here: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2014/09/25/get-your-15-mcp-exam-discount-code.aspx 

Since I know it’s a popular question on my blog, no I got no news on a Second Shot offer yet, however as soon as I do, I will share it on my blog! If you want to stay up to date and be the first to see it, make sure you follow me on Twitter or like the Absolute SharePoint Blog page on Facebook! If you plan to take an exam before the end of the year, share it in the comments!