Let’s not "View All Site Content"

I’ve been managing our company’s new SharePoint (WSS 3.0) “intranet” for about a month or so now and have been slowly introducing features to different departments based on needs. Most of the time, I’ve simply been setting up the sites, pages or libraries they need and making them accessible through the navigation areas.

Some things were left off of the navigation intentionally, like subsites for special projects and other bits of the SharePoint content that were really meant to stay in the background. However, all of it is accessible using the “View All Site Content” link on the top of the default left navigation bar, much to my dismay.

Turns out, I’m not the only person who wants that link to disappear easily and there are a variety of solutions available on the Internet, depending on your needs. For my organization, I really just needed the link to not be visible. I’m not deeply concerned about people having the permissions to access that view, I just want it to be difficult to get to that view in the first place!

Since I’m not a SharePoint designer guru, nor am I very good at CSS, I wanted a simple solution that would give me the option of removing the link without having to poke around in the “master pages” and whatnot. I found Mark Wagner’s post How To: Hide/Remove “View All Site Content”, complete with a downloadable solution package that was perfect for my needs. It was quick and easy to install and didn’t even require the restart of IIS.

Upcoming Events for Techies

The Citrix and Microsoft Roadshow – a free, half-day event being held in multiple locations across the US covering desktop virtualization. If you are in CA, catch it in Sacramento on May 25th, inSan Francisco on June 10th or in Los Angeles on June 17th.
Enterprise Content Management in SharePoint – another free, half-day seminar hosted by Microsoft, QuickStart Intelligence, and KnowledgeLake. Learn how to lower costs and increase productivity by transforming your existing Microsoft SharePoint into an Advanced Enterprise Content Management system using SharePoint 2010. This is being held June 18th in Microsoft’s San Francisco office.
Also don’t forget about the Microsoft Bus Tour if you’ll be on the east coast, which starts today! I’m hearing some cities are already fully booked, so don’t miss out if you can still grab a slot.
The Bus Tour ends at TechEd in New Orleans and I’m looking forward to a fun-filled week of learning. Visit me at the Springboard booth in the TLC area if you are going to be there.

Icons and Indexing for PDF files on SharePoint

Part of our SharePoint project is making sure that users can find what they are looking for (including within PDF documents) and that there are icons next to the documents that accurately reflect the file type. There are a variety of blog posts and information out there regarding this from several years ago, but I’d like to summarize this up for those of you who might be doing what I’ve done – installed WSS 3.0 on Server 2008.

Out of the box, WSS 3.0 only indexes standard Windows file types, which are Office files and basic text files. It will also only show the proper icons for Office files. All other files get the default “blank paper” icon.

To allow for searching of PDF files, you’ll need the proper iFilter installed on your server. We are using version 9 of the Adobe Acrobat product line, so by installing Acrobat Reader 9 on the server all the necessary files were installed. No need to download any other iFilter components separately.

Then I followed the steps as outlined in KB 927675. This article was last reviewed in May 2007, but the steps haven’t change for Server 2008. However the data I found in Step 3 for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\12.0\Search\Setup\ContentIndexCommon\Filters\Extension\.pdf registry setting was different than in the article. It was {4C904448-74A9-11D0-AF6E-00C04FD8DC02} on my installation.

Next you’ll need the icon files. You’ll want the 17 x 17 pixel one from the Adobe website. If you have any other icons for specialty file types you’ll wanted added to your server, you might as well gather them all up and make sure they are 17 x 17 as well. Copy them all to \Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\IMAGES.

Then open the XML file that WSS uses to reference which file types display which icons. This is at \Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\XML\DOCICON.XML. (Saving a backup copy is always a good idea at this point.)

Add a mapping key for each of the file types at the bottom of the file, above the /ByExtension closing tag. XML is case sensitive so make sure you use same case and spacing as previous entries. The key will be Mapping Key=”ext” Value=”iconfile.gif” OpenControl=”’/. Replace “ext” with “pdf” or whatever file extension you are adding a icon for, and adjust the “iconfile.gif” name to reflect the correct name of the image files you added.
Then save the XML file.

To ensure a full new crawl of all the PDF files for indexing, you should restart the server or stop/restart the spsearch service and force a full index using the stsadm -o spearch -action fullcrawlstart. I just restated the server, as we are using a virtual server for SharePoint and VMs restart pretty quickly.

Finally, if you’d like to check out the older blog posts I used as references, check out Configure PDF IFilter in WWS 3.0 and Searching PDFs with WSS 3.0 SP1.

Error Messages: When they could be more helpful…

The last few weeks I’ve been tripped up by this odd issue with connecting calendars in SharePoint to Outlook 2007. The problem was following me from machine to machine, which made it particularly troublesome. Other people I tested with could properly connect to the calendars, so I knew it wasn’t a show-stopper for our SharePoint (WSS 3.0) roll out, but I knew I’d need to get it solved at some point.

The only two symptoms I had that seemed worth any salt was the fact that the “sharepoint.pst” file wasn’t being created and Outlook would throw an Informational Event in the Application log, that stated “Operation Failed” (Event 27). So which operation was failing?

Turns out we had an odd collection of things going on that contributed:

  1. An Office GPO set a while back during our Office 2007 deployment defaulted newly created PST files to sub-folder in the user’s home folder called “outlook” (Ex. home\outlook)
  2. Several users (including myself) had an unexplained file named “outlook” (no extension) of 265MB in size in their home folders.
  3. Users (like me) who didn’t use PST files or had their PST files in a different location before the policy was applied.

The GPO policy wouldn’t have been an issue, if not for the random “outlook” file that was blocking the creation of the sub-folder for the sharepoint.pst placement. (Bad default PST file creation after the software upgrade from Office 2003? Failed personal mailbox creation if the server/username couldn’t be resolved for some reason?)

The Windows operating system will allow the creation of folders that match filenames as long as the file has a file type extension on it, but if the file doesn’t have an extension it’s not possible to create a folder of the same name. If this problem occurs in Windows Explorer, an error message will pop up.

However when Outlook 2007 was confronted with the inability to create the sub-folder, it failed in a mostly silent fashion – providing only the “operation failed” message, without any additional information that would have been valuable in the moment. A error window or line in that application log error detailing the path to where the sharepoint.pst file was supposed to go would have made the error quick and easy to resolve.

SharePoint 2007 Notes & Oddities

Since working with SharePoint for a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a few oddities that I think are worth mentioning. Some I have an explanation for, others I don’t.

Oddity #1Rich-Text Editor for Web Parts doesn’t work properly on 64-bit Internet Explorer.

I get a scripting error when I try to use the rich-text editor and when I edit a wiki page on a machine using 64-bit IE, I get the HTML code instead. This is a known issue with “Level 2” browsers – of which 64-bit IE (7 or 8) is considered. TechNet details out the compatibility issues. This issue still appears to remain with SharePoint 2010 according the compatibility table for that version as well.

Oddity #2I can’t link SharePoint calendars to my Outlook 2007.

This seems to be a problem that only affects my user account at the moment and it follows me from computer to computer. I have two machines at work 64-bit Windows 7 with Office 2007, and Windows XP SP3 with Office 2007. In both instances, if I select the option to “Connect to Client” I get the prompt to accept the connection and then nothing happens. No link to the calendar, no sharepoint.pst is created, no mention of calendar link in the Sharepoint Lists under account settings. Outlook 2007 reports an information event in the application log – Event 27: The operation failed.

I’ve had two other people test the functionality with no problems, so this is bizarre for sure. But I want to work out why this is a problem before rolling SharePoint out across the board. If I want to get rid of public folder calendars, everyone needs to be able to link SharePoint calendars into their Outlook. Even me.

Special Note #3Make sure the SharePoint site doesn’t launch in Protected Mode.

Protected Mode blocks a lot of the functionality of ActiveX, so the drop down Action menus won’t work for users in this mode. I noticed this when I accessed the site from Terminal Services RemoteApp. I’ll need to adjust some of the policies and IE security features on terminal services to make sure regular users have the same experience they would in the office.

Starting out with SharePoint

This week I’ve started implementing the SharePoint pilot at the office. Right now, the goal is to use it an “upgrade” to our current Intranet and provide some calendar and meeting workspaces for better collaboration.

Our existing Intranet is organized by department, with a subset of users in each department being responsible for updating content in their areas. Right now, we use the combination of a basic IIS website and Macromedia’s Contribute as the client application for updating the pages. We’d had some difficulty with the Contribute application and training, which has resulted in the Intranet being mostly static content.

For this implementation, I’ve set up one site collection with the main site being the company Intranet home page. Then I created additional sites for each department and a couple extra sites for some specialty areas, like our company-wide disaster preparation. Each of these sites will likely have different contributors, so I wanted to allow for different permission sets for each site.

I’ve spent some time populating each site with some of the content that exists on our current Intranet site, playing around with web parts and getting a feel for what I’d be able to implement in this first phase. I’ve spent several days just copying and pasting – it’s almost a little addictive. Our current Intranet has a lot of documents and forms for reference, so I still need to set up the necessary libraries and port that information over to mirror the current web experience in SharePoint.

I’d like to be able to hand over the majority of the content management to the contributors in each department once everything is officially “live” and we’ve organized some formal training. With the addition of web parts for announcements, discussion boards and wikis, I’m hoping SharePoint will allow our Intranet to become a more fluid destination with fresh information posted by a variety of staff members. I know I’m looking forward to using Wikis to provide more tips from the Helpdesk related to using ImageRight, Shoretel, email and our remote access solutions.

My 2010 Reading List: So Far

It’s unfortunate that I feel like I’m starting the year already behind on my “tech” reading list. Here’s a quick list of I have within arms reach.

In addition to books, I’ve downloaded several whitepapers onto my Kindle for those free moments on the subway:

Authentication Roadblock for WSS 3.0 Access on the local Server

Ran into a fun little authentication issue with IIS 7 and SharePoint recently. I installed a SharePoint farm on one machine and set up my first site collection with a custom host header. Once the site was created I was unable to access it from the host server where I was working. I received an authentication prompt three times and the browser would report that the page load was “Done” but the result was a blank page. The problem did not occur when I set up the site using the host name and a port number.

A peek in the server event logs showed my account failing the authentication with the following:

Security Log Error: 4625
Keyword: Audit Failure
Failure Reason: An Error occurred during Logon.
Status: 0xc000006d

A little Internet searching and a look at one of my favorite troubleshooting resources, www.eventid.net, resulted in a link to Microsoft KB 896861, which explains an authentication issue with Integrated Authentication and versions of IIS over 5.1.

The fix that worked for me was to disable the loopback checking, a security feature designed to prevent reflection attacks. Make the following change to the registry and everything will be right in your SharePoint world.

  1. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry key:
  2. Right-click Lsa, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  3. Type DisableLoopbackCheck, and then press ENTER.
  4. Right-click DisableLoopbackCheck, and then click Modify.
  5. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  6. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart your computer.

Installing IIS for SQL 2005 and SharePoint

I’ve started planning out an installation of SharePoint at work and have found myself installing some of the necessary WSS 3.0 components in the lab. I want to set up SharePoint as a small server farm on one server, which requires SQL to be pre-installed. Both SQL 2005 (if you want all the services) and WSS 3.0 require IIS, but the default installation of IIS on Windows Server 2008 does not include all the necessary components for either one.

First to support WSS 3.o, you’ll need to make sure all the components in this list are selected. But if you go with the just components on that list, you’ll still get a warning about “IIS Feature Requirement” when installing SQL 2005. Most of the necessary components overlap with WSS 3.0 except for one – HTTP Redirection – so be sure to select that one as well.

Finally, if you are looking around for some WSS 3.0 installation guides, here is a link to some of the downloadable documentation. Perfect if you are looking for some fresh reading on your Kindle.

Handy ASP.NET 2.0 Tidbit

I’ve been familiarizing myself with WSS 3.0 this week and as part of that process I’ve been doing several installation in the lab. I ran into an issue on Windows 2003 Server with the installation of .NET 3.0 Framework and ASP.NET 2.0, which are required for the installation of Windows SharePoint Services.

While I had all the components installed, the ASP.NET 2.0 appeared to be missing from IIS. Our DBA has some experience with IIS and had run into a similar problem in the past, so he had the answer for me. ASP.NET 2.0 isn’t automatically registered with IIS and that problem is easily solved by running this command:

c:\windows\microsoft.net\framework\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis -iru -enable

I want to keep this fix handy, since my co-worker certainly saved me some time. Figured I might as well pay it forward and share it with others who may run into the same issue.