PerformancePoint 2010 Dashboard Designer – ‘An unexpected system error has occurred’ when adding a data connection

16 04 2010

Whilst trying to setup a PerformancePoint 2010 dashboard on my SharePoint 2010 boot to vhd environment today I received this error message – ‘An unexpected system error has occured’…’ when adding a data connection in the Dashboard Designer.

A couple of Google searches didn’t turn up much but did point me towards the ‘Secure Store Service’ – this can be found in Central Administration > Manage Service Applications.

The service was started but when I tried to manage the service I received another error stating that the service was not responding!

It was then that I realised – the environment in question did not contain the pre-requisite WCF hotfix which is required for SharePoint 2010 to install on Windows Server 2008 R2. This machine had actually been been upgraded from Windows Server 2008 x64 to Server 2008 R2 x64 (this was the SharePoint Information Worker VHD) therefore the hotfix did not exist.

I was worried I would have to re-install SharePoint after installing the hotfix but it turns out you don’t need to, just follow the steps below –

  1. Download the Windows Server 2008 R2 WCF hotfix (there are two versions of this patch and the latest is version 2 – ‘Windows6.1-KB976462-v2-x64.msu’), get it from here – KB976462
  2. Install the hotfix and reboot the machine
  3. Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies configuration wizard – PSCONFIG
  4. Proceed through the wizard and it will upgrade your SharePoint farm
  5. Check in Central Administration and you should now be able to successfully manage the ‘Secure Store Service’ and Dashboard Designer should work!!

Hope this helps 🙂

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Boot to VHD with the SharePoint Information Worker VHD (For those with 4GB of RAM or less)

6 03 2010

Before I begin I want to say thank you to a few people who helped me to get this working, through their blog posts and messages on twitter – @brianlala @joeloleson @LoungeFlyZ.

As I’m sure most of you are aware – the launch date for SharePoint 2010 has now been announced as May 12th. So what better time to start looking at SharePoint 2010.

Brian has already posted a guide on his blog that details most of the steps required to get this working –

http://spinsiders.com/brianlala/2010/02/03/high-level-steps-to-sp2010-demo-vhd-boot-joy/

I will cover some additional steps that aren’t mention and also what’s required to shrink the VHD and convert it to a fixed size. Whilst the VHD itself is only around 40gb in size – it has been set to dynamically expand and the OS partition is set at 130gb. This means that to boot from it you will need at least 130gb free on your hard drive as when the VHD is booted for some reason it needs to expand to its full size, see this post for more info –

http://codebetter.com/blogs/howard.dierking/archive/2009/08/08/windows-7-boot-from-vhd-a-few-gotchas.aspx

If you do not resize the VHD and don’t have the required space for it to expand then you will get a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) when booting.

I will also cover in this guide the process of injecting your hard disk controller driver into the VHD. Brian covers this in his guide but I have some tips for this which I will share.

For those of you that weren’t aware, Microsoft have provided a SharePoint 2010 VHD for download entitled the ‘SharePoint Information Worker VHD’. This download actually contains two VHD’s – the second of which acts as as a mail server (this one will not be covered in this guide).

The first VHD contains SharePoint 2010 Beta, Visual Studio 2010 Beta, Office 2010 ‘Mondo’ and most apps you will need. The machine is setup as a domain controller of the ‘Contoso’ domain and is pre-populated with about 200 or so AD users. Various SharePoint sites have already been setup too.

Whilst I think the VHD’s provided by Microsoft are great they are not setup to be booted from. I only have 4gb of RAM in my laptop so boot to VHD was really the only option if I wanted to run this machine.

Part 1 – Resizing/Cloning the VM

1. Un-install Office 2010 ‘Mondo’ from the machine, if you don’t do this you will not be able to remove it again and will most likely be stuck with a 1722 error each time you launch an office application.

2. Follow the steps on Brian’s blog post to upgrade the OS within the VHD to Windows Server 2008 R2. You will need run the domainprep tool with the /forestprep and /adprep command line switches first.

3. Now you need to resize the 130gb partition to something more manageable. So download a copy of the GParted live CD and boot from it. Once you are at the GParted interface select the partition and resize it down to a sensible size – I chose 60gb. You will need to click resize and then apply.

4. Once GParted has finished – reboot the VM and let the chkdsk run if it wants to check the consistency of the disk. If you have a look in disk management now you will see that the partition has been resized but we are now left with a lot of unallocated space – this needs to be removed before we can boot to the VHD.

5. Shutdown the VM and create a new fixed size virtual hard disk, you will need to make sure it is slightly bigger than the size you chose earlier when resizing the partition. I chose 63gb for the size of my new virtual disk.

6. Attach the newly created hard disk file to the VM.

7. Now we need to clone the contents of the original hard disk onto the newly created one. There are a number of software options out there to do this – one in particular being Norton Ghost but this costs money. I found that Clonezilla which is free and open source does the job perfectly – http://clonezilla.org/. Download the live CD and boot the VM from it.

8. Follow the steps in the Clonezilla interface using beginner mode to clone the contents of hard disk 1 to hard disk 2.

9. Once Clonezilla has finished power off the VM and remove the original hard disk.

10. Power on the VM and make sure it boots correctly, if it fails check the troubleshooting section at the bottom of this post.

Part 2 – Configuring it to Boot

Before we can copy the virtual hard disk (VHD) file over to our client machine ready for booting we need to either inject the hard disk controller drives and modify the registry. If we don’t do this then we will most likely get a BSOD when we try to boot from the VHD.

I’m afraid that I am not going to go into a great level of detail here but will point out the steps that helped me and allowed me to get the VHD to boot.

1. Open the registry editor on the client machine (the machine you want to boot the VHD from) and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > services. This key contains all the drivers/services that windows loads when it boots.

2. Navigate to the same key on the VM, what you will need to do now is go through each of the sub-keys in the services key and compare each one’s ‘Start’ value. A value of 3 indicates that it will start when windows is boot and 0 indicates that it will not . Rather than go through each key, check ones which are most likely to be hard disk controllers e.g. ‘atapi,intelide’ etc.

Depending on your SATA/IDE controller it may not just be a case of editing these registry entries – you might need to copy the drivers to the VM and add registry entries for these drivers but I’m afraid I’m not going to cover that here.

3. THIS IS WHAT WORKED FOR ME – In my case I simply set the start value of the ‘msahci’ (SCSI Controller) to 0, this was set to start on the VM and I guess most likely because of the hardware that Hyper-V uses. Try this before attempting the above.

**Please note that once you have made these changes the VHD might not boot again in Hyper-V so you may wish to make a backup!**

Part 3 – Booting from the VHD

Once you think you are ready to boot from the VHD, copy the VHD file to your client machine and add an entry to the boot menu as described here –

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd799299%28WS.10%29.aspx

When you reboot your machine you will see a new option in the boot menu to boot into your SharePoint Information Worker VHD. If all has gone well then it will boot and you can then begin to install the drivers for your hardware.

Hope this helps someone – think this has been my longest blog post yet!! 🙂

**Troubleshooting

If for any reason the VM does not boot and you get this error message –

‘The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible’

Try these steps to fix it (I received the error after using GParted to resize the disk) –

1.Boot from the Windows CD you used to upgrade the VM

2. Select the ‘Repair My Computer’ option

3. Open the command prompt and type ‘bootrec /scanos’ – hopefully you will see the windows install

4. Now type ‘bootrec /rebuildbcd’ and select the windows install – this will add it back to the BCD boot menu.

5. Reboot the VM – hopefully it works!





Powershell scripts for SharePoint 2010 services – ‘Stop & Start’

26 11 2009

We all now know that SharePoint 2010 is resource intensive, especially intensive with its ram usage.

I originally installed full blown SharePoint 2010 on my laptop (which has 4gb of ram) only to see most of that ram being used up and none left for visual studio to run.

I would recommend anyone who wants to install it on their workstation that only has 4gb of ram to install SharePoint Foundation instead which needs much less ram and will be fine for simple SharePoint 2010 dev or just playing around.

After I had installed it on my workstation I went on a search of some powershell scripts that I could use to stop SharePoint’s services when its not in use and start them up when needed.

It turns out Emmanuel Bergerat had created some and posted them on his blog, see here –

http://blogs.msdn.com/emberger/archive/2009/11/16/stop-and-go-with-sharepoint-2010-on-your-workstation.aspx

Thanks Emmanuel!

I have modified these scripts to work with SharePoint Foundation instead of full SharePoint Server 2010.

You can find the scripts on my SkyDrive – link at the bottom of the post.

To get them to work you will need to open them and edit the line –

‘MSSQL$SHAREPOINT’,"SQLWriter",’SQLAgent$SHAREPOINT’ | ForEach-Object

You need to change the name of the SQL Service (in my case MSSQL$SHAREPOINT) to the name matching yours. This name will depend on what your SQL instance is called, if you install SharePoint ‘standalone’ then it will most likely be the same as mine.

Run the scripts in the following order –

1. ‘Manual.ps1’ – Sets services to manual startup (Only need to run this once)

2. ‘Start.ps1’ – Starts SQL & SharePoint Foundation services

3. ‘Stop.ps1’ – Stops SQL & SharePoint Foundation services

Hope this helps! 🙂

 

Link: SharePoint Foundation Powershell Scripts





How to: Install SharePoint 2010 ‘Standalone’ on Windows 7

23 11 2009

SharePoint 2010 Logo Since getting my hands on the Beta 2 version of SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint foundation I’ve read countless guides and blog posts about how to install it on Windows 7.

The problem is finding one that gives you the correct install procedure and this often means trawling through the comments to see if it is a reliable source. Because of this I’ve decided to post my own tutorial of the steps I used to create a reliable and fully functional SharePoint 2010 environment on a single machine (client OS).

Keep in mind that this blog post only walks through installing SharePoint 2010 in ‘Standalone’ mode (aka default configuration). This does not give you as much flexibility nor does it replicate a server farm environment. But this does work well for small dev work or to simply play around with SharePoint 2010.

*RAM Requirements: Be aware that if you are planning to install SharePoint Server 2010 you will need a lot of RAM. The recommended minimum from Microsoft is 6GB. SharePoint 2010 will install on a machine with 4GB of RAM but this will not be enough for a development environment.*

1. Install the Pre-Requisites for your operating system listed in the following MSDN guide –

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx

2. Install the ‘WCF Hotfix’ (KB976462) for Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 which is available here –

http://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/Downloads/DownloadDetails.aspx?DownloadID=23806

3. Extract the SharePoint installation (.exe) that you downloaded, you can do this by typing at the command line the following –

c:\SharePoint\SharePoint2010.exe /extract:c:\Temp

4. Next we need to edit an xml file and add an attribute that will allow you to install SharePoint on a workstation OS. If you try and run the setup without performing this step then it will display an error message that the OS is not supported.

SharePoint 2010 Setup Error

Open the ‘config.xml file located at ‘c:\Temp\files\Setup\config.xml’ (where Temp is the folder that contains your extracted files from above).

Add the following line inside the <configuration> tag:

<Setting Id="AllowWindowsClientInstall" Value="True"/>

Save and close the file.

5. Run the SharePoint 2010 setup (setup.exe).

6. When asked what type of installation you wish to perform select ‘Standalone’. This will install an instance of SQL Express and the default configuration. This will allow you to use local windows accounts.

SharePoint 2010 Installation Type

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7. Once the wizard has completed it will prompt you to run the ‘SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard’ (aka Psconfig). Do Not run the wizard and exit.

8. Install SQL Server 2008 cumulative update package 2 –

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/970315

image

9. When the above update has finished installing, execute the ‘SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard’. Ignore the warning telling you that installing SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 or Vista is unsupported. You also need to click ‘OK’ to the message explaining that IIS will be reset as part of the installation.

image

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The wizard will now configure SharePoint 2010 so you can sit back and relax! (Hopefully this step goes smoothly and you don’t see any errors).

10. When the wizard is complete, click ‘Finish’. An IE window should now popup and display a SharePoint page asking you to select the template you would like for your first SharePoint 2010 site collection.

SharePoint 2010 Central Administration

11. Success – the installation is now complete and you have a full working copy of SharePoint 2010 Beta! 🙂





SharePoint 2010 & FIMSyncronizationService Problems

19 11 2009

**Updated 23/11/2009

Jeremy Thake (@jthake) advised me that this service is required for the ‘User Profiles Synchronization Service’ in SP2010 and that if you disable it then this won’t work. Decide whether you are going to need this feature before you disable this. I am not sure why it slows down the OS so much when booting up.

____________________________________________________________________________________

I recently installed the betas of SharePoint Foundation 2010  on top of Windows 7 and full SharePoint Server 2010 on to Server 2008 R2. One problem I found is that after you have rebooted the machine a couple of times it becomes very slow to startup.

At first I thought it was just because I was running SP2010 on a machine with only 4gb of ram and that was just the nature of the beast. When I opened Task Manager though it told a different story – the service ‘FIMSyncronizationService (Forefront Identity Manager Synchronization Service)’ was still trying to start and slowing the whole machine down. Once this service was stopped the machine continued booting into windows.

The service never seemed to start properly and I am assuming this is only needed if you want to use the full Forefront product with SharePoint.

I have now disabled this service using ‘Services.msc’ and SharePoint 2010 is still working fine. I would recommend anyone with the same issue who is not using Forefront to stop and disable this service from loading.

Hope this helps 🙂





SharePoint 2010 Beta now available!

16 11 2009

To those who don’t already know, the beta of SharePoint 2010 is now available to MSDN/Technet subscribers 🙂

Here is the direct link to MSDN –

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/securedownloads/default.aspx?PV=42%3a393%3aEXE%3aen%3ax64

You can download both Office SharePoint Server 2010 (Full product) and SharePoint Foundation Server (Used to be WSS).

Have fun downloading!