Thursday 15 October 2009

A day in SharePoint hell

Yesterday was my day in the land of SharePoint. It was mostly admin work, doing some upgrades for customers and also some migrations. Nothing out of the ordinary. But it was a day that was filled with issues and trying to fix problems that shouldn’t really have been problems, but as we all know, those of us who work with SharePoint, these little issues have a very quick habit of turning into massive problems.

So lets begin with some issues, causes and resolutions which I learnt in my day in SharePoint hell yesterday

Issue: Gradual upgrade option is greyed out when trying to do a WSS 3.0 install

Cause: The WSS 2.0 farm had the database on a separate SQL Server machine which was using an instance named SharePoint. This caused the installer to think that we were using an MSDE instance and would not allow us to use the gradual upgrade option. I got the information from this post.

Resolution: You cannot rename an instance of SQL server. You can rename the server but not the instance. The options were to uninstall and reinstall SQL Server, install a new instance or find another way. The easiest thing for me to do as WSS was the only thing running on this machine was to create an SQL Server Alias and use that name instead of the instance. This worked. You can get a lot of great information on creating an SQL Server alias from this post. I then changed the WSS 2.0 installation to use the new SQL alias as the default configuration database server and content database server.

I reran the WSS 3.0 installer and the option to do a gradual upgrade was enabled.

Issue: Schema mismatch when trying to do a gradual upgrade.

Cause:  I did a prescan to verify that the upgrade would be ok. Strangely it return 0% and 100% without the usual 10 steps in between but gave no error. It turned out that WSS 2.0 SP3 had been applied but the database version read as which is SP2. A quick check in the Add/Remove programs in the control panel confirmed that SP3 was applied to the system. So it should have read All WSS/MOSS version numbers here. So the database versions were out of sync. A quick check revealed I needed to force an upgrade across the farm. So using the command stsadm -o upgrade –forceupgrade the version numbers were now in sync.

I tried again with the gradual upgrade and it returned an error. This time it was pretty simple. When resetting the version numbers, the prescan that was originally done was removed so I had to do prescan again and this time, it returned a number of percentage increments. The gradual upgrade worked after that.

Issue: Could not connect to the config database after it had been moved to a new server

Cause: I moved the config and content databases from one database server to another. When I ran the WSS 3.0 setup wizard we didnt have the password for the original service account so we reset it.

Resolution: Turns out that resetting the password was the problem. By resetting the password without the databases been attached to the farm the hashed values for the account were never updated so the database would not allow us to connect. Originally as I thought this was a security issue, I reset the permissions on all the objects in the database such as views, tables and stored procedures but this didn’t resolve the issue.

I tried to reconnect the original databases to the farm and it gave an error of 997 Encryption/Decryption error which meant that after a couple of hours of trying to figure this out I had to create a new configuration database and set up the original settings again. It also turns out that the advice on this Microsoft knowledge base article is not correct for this. This post provided the more correct information for me.  A possible solution could have been to have been to update the farm credentials if it had been possible.

Issue: Could not see Create or Extend web application in the central administration website

Cause: Logged in to the central admin web site as a non local admin user

Resolution: Logged in to the central admin web site as a local administrator group user

So there you go. That was my day in SharePoint yesterday.

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