Jack of all that is Microsoft, Master of None

September 26, 2006

MOSS 2007 References

I’m been working with the B&R Team on a large number of MOSS customizations & development, and I’ve come across some great resources that I listed below… hope these help you out as much as they help our team…


Liam Cleary – ‘MOSS Look & Feel Series’

Shane Perran

Tools to Assist You

And of course… the SharePoint Product Team Blog


September 23, 2006

Getting OWA to Run on an SPS 2003 Server

I’ve been working over the past few weeks with a colleague of mine, Chris Winn, on a huge MOSS 2007 customization / development effort.  Hopefully pretty soon I will be able to blog a bit about the project, as we’re doing some really cool stuff.  Anyhow, the other day, Chris mentioned to me that he wanted to run OWA on an SPS 2003 box that was also running SQL 2005. We agreed that this isn’t exactly supported and not well documented, but frankly, OWA is just a web site… you could shut down the mailbox stores and such, and just have it connect to the back-end mailbox server.  So why can’t it run on an SPS box?  Well Chris took the initiative and worked on this, and came up with the following… if you would like to get in touch with Chris and ask any questions, post them here and he can respond to them.

Basically, the reason for doing this is that the client required SPS users to be able to seamlessly move between SPS & OWA without having to re-login.  As we all know, the SPS 2003 Exchange web parts are quite lacking in functionality, so this would be a way to give them the full functionality of OWA – only a seemless experience.

So here’s what you will need to do, from Chris W, with a few additions that I threw in…

  1. Perform your typical installation of SPS 2003 (Note: Read Step 3 before installing).  In this case, SQL 2005 was also installed locally on the box and the SPS environment was running SSL with a valid wildcard certificate.
  2. Make sure that you hardcode the SharePoint host headers to match your particular SharePoint application requirements (your host header value should not be blank).
  3. Check to see if your SharePoint web site has an Identifier = 1 within IIS.  You can do this by clicking on the ‘Web Sites’ folder within IIS, and in the view on the right-hand side, one of the columns is identifier.   Only the ‘default web site’ that is created upon install of IIS has this default identifier value of 1.  If your SPS site is using this site, then the OWA installation will not work, because OWA requires the default web site (Identifier = 1).  Therefore, before installing SPS, make sure that you create a new web site to extend Sharepoint on to (typically located on a different logical disk).  Note that if you deleted your Default web site, you will need to go on to another IIS server and save the default web site to a config file, then create a new web on your SPS box from this file… because you need that default web site with the identifer = 1 for OWA.
  4. Verify that you have installed and have the SMTP & NNTP services running.  Check this by going into add/remove programs -> windows components -> Application Server -> IIS.  If you have been using SMTP within IIS, then make a note of your settings, as you will need them later.
  5. Open up SharePoint Cental Administration, and choose ‘Configure Virtual Server Settings’ -> then choose the Portal Server that you want OWA loaded on -> then under ‘Virtual Server Management’ choose ‘Define Managed Paths’.  Now, add in ‘exchange’ & ‘exchweb’ as excluded paths… note that ‘exadmin’ is optional.
  6. Now install Exchange 2003 – Minimal – and make sure you include the Exchange System Management Tools.  Then update it to Service Pack 2 (make sure your back-end is also on SP2).
  7. Run Exchange System Manager and find your SharePoint server (that will have OWA on it) under the appropriate Administrative Group -> Servers.  Right click on the server -> Properties, and check the box to configure this as a ‘Front-End Server’.
  8. Now, delete the Default Storage Group by deleting the child Default & Public Stores.  Make sure you do this only on the SPS / OWA server – not your Back-End Exchange server!
  9. Also stop & disable the Exchange Information Store & MTA Stacks services.
  10. In Exchange System Manager -> Under your SPS Server -> Protocols -> HTTP -> Properties for ‘Exchange Virtual Server’ -> Settings tab -> Uncheck the box for ‘Use forms-based authentication’.
  11. Now, head over to IIS.  If you look in the Default Web Site (identifier = 1), you will notice quite a few virtual folders that Exchange has installed.  You will need to save exchange, exchweb & exadmin (optional) to a configuration file.  You can do this by right-clicking on the name -> all tasks -> Save Configuration to a File.
  12. Now, open up your SharePoint web site within IIS, and right click – New -> Virtual Directory from File.  Create a virtual directory from file for the ones you saved in step 11.
  13. Now, download and install the update for Exchange 2003, KB 911829.
  14. Note that if you created the default web site, edit the host header to make it inaccessible.
  15. Also note that if you were using SMTP before you installed Exchange, go into Exchange System Manager & modify the SMTP settings under the SPS server back to what they were set to earlier (Step #4).

That’s it… good luck, and comments & questions are always welcome.


September 22, 2006

MOSS 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh Install Fail – Roll Back… Sort of!

First, I must preface this blog post by saying that if you follow what I write, I take absolutely no responsibility for your environment getting all screwed up (even though technically you’re following what I wrote because you’re environment is all screwed up).  You better make sure you backup everything possible! This is a beta product, and it should be installed in a development environment, so that if need be, you can perform crazy things like what I’m about to write…

So about 12 hours ago, I started a MOSS 2007 B2 TR upgrade on a standalone server.  Everything went exactly as planned, until I ran the ‘SharePoint Products & Technologies Configuration Wizard’.  The wizard took a long time to run, and eventually it got to step 8 of 9… but then boom!  All hell broke out… I got an error and the damn setup couldn’t continue.  So I tried to run the Wizard again, thinking that maybe the error was a fluke, and this time, I got the following error:

Exception: Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPUpdatedConcurrencyException: An update conflict has occurred, and you must re-try this action. The object SPConfigurationDatabase Name=SharePoint_Config Parent=SPDatabaseServiceInstance is being updated by WEB\myaccountname, in the psconfigui process, on machine SERVERNAMEHERE.

I did some searches, and I couldn’t find anything that really helped with this error.  My thougth was that maybe the installer thought that the database was in use by another user, and couldn’t gain exclusive access to perform the upgrade.  I tried rebooting, dropping all db connections, changing dbo… you name it.  And yet every time, I kept getting this error.

So I did some digging further through the logs, and I found a line mentioning that an upgrade was ‘already in progress’… but I wasn’t running any upgrades at this time – I just had a botched MOSS Beta 2 server with some portion of the TR installed.  So the thought that came across my mind was that somewhere on the system, the Wizard was looking at a version number, and saw – the TR version number, and therefore thought that the upgrade was running or already installed.  So I did something dangerous – dug through the registry and changed any references to this version number back to the previous version (… and then in the config db’s Versions table, deleted the record that was inserted by the installer also referencing the newer version number.  I rebooted the server, and ran the Config Wizard again – and wow, what a suprise – it still thought the upgrade was running.

So now I was not a happy camper… what am I going to do… I’ve got what was a good Beta 2 server now completely broken (I did test opening every site and got all kinds of errors), and TR is there partially installed – and can’t be rolled back.  So I took it upon myself to perform the following to try and get Beta 2 back up and running.  Just to preface this, my thought was that I could uninstall / reinstall Beta 2 and overwrite everything to get back to some type of usable state:

1. Restored all of the Beta 2 pre-upgrade databases to SQL (Because I had no idea what state the databases were in after the failed TR upgrade attempt).
2. Uninstalled .NET Framework 3.0
3. Uninstalled & reinstalled IIS
4. Repaired the .NET Framework 2.0 (because IIS wasn’t showing .NET 2.0 as an available web server extension)
5. Attempted to uninstall SharePoint Server 2007 from Add/Remove program. This was great – when I clicked Remove & told it to uninstall, the uninstall screen would completely disappear after about 10 seconds… nothing was touched!  Craziness!

So I was still up the creek without a paddle… until I did the following:

1.  Deleted the folder C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\SERVER12
2.  Went back into add/remove programs and removed SharePoint – only it’s that ‘fake remove’ – where it removes it from the list because it can’t find the program files.
3.  Stopped / disabled all of the Services related to SharePoint & Office.
4.  Rebooted & prayed.

After the reboot, I installed the Windows Workflow Foundation Beta 2, then ran the MOSS 2007 Beta 2 installer… and voila… it worked!  It actually went through the entire installer & configuration wizard without any issues.  So I then reconfigured everything through Central Admin, and then recreated my Web Applications… but when I recreated them, I pointed them to the already existing Beta 2 databases that I had previously restored.  And each and every time I created the new web app and attached it to the correct content database – it worked!

So… the moral of the story is… this worked for me, and I wanted to throw it out there for you.  If you’re completely stuck with a half-installed TR upgrade and don’t know what to do, maybe I’ve given you some ideas.  Just one other thing – it’s almost 6am here on the East Coast and I haven’t slept… so I will review & update this post when I’m functional & can think.

I wish you good luck, and hope you do not run into anything like the problems I hit.  But if you did, know that you are not alone!


September 18, 2006

Well, It’s Been a While

Filed under: Uncategorized — cregan @ 2:02 am

Hi everyone,

I must admit, I’m quite dissappointed with myself in that I haven’t posted a new article in quite some time. B&R has been extremely busy lately – as soon as the end of summer hit, we had an explosion of great projects. Currently, the majority of our work is around MOSS 2007, and our developers are really putting together some great new stuff. I hope that I will be able to showcase some of it here very soon. In the meantime, I have a few articles I am working on, and will have them released soon… so stay tuned… I promise the wait will be worth it!

On a side note, Jason Medero and I had the pleasure of having dinner with two MVPs… Bob Mixon & Bob Fox last week in New York City. We had your typical dinner chat about MOSS, SPS, etc… well, okay, it was trypical chat for anyone who lives & breathes SharePoint! Bob Fox was nice enough to post some pictures, and you can check them out on his Blog Here.

Keep checking back – more to come!


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