Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Girl's Survival Guide to the Microsoft SharePoint Conference

Microsoft hosts a SharePoint Conference every year. They are most often in Las Vegas, run for about 4 days, and include 10,000+ attendees. Listen to the best speakers providing you with the latest information on SharePoint currently, and what may be in store for future releases. Sessions are about an hour and fifteen minutes each and run from 9am to 6pm on most conference days. Breakfast, lunch & small snacks are provided for you. Microsoft & their sponsors/vendors plan evening events/parties for attendees as well. If you want to survive the daily grind at SPC (short for the SharePoint Conference), follow the tips I have listed below...

Things to pack:
1) Tablet device with some sort of keyboard attachment (Laptops are too heavy for your tote bag or messenger so just leave it at home! I have an iPad with the Logitech bluetooth wireless keyboard.)
2) Smart phone (duh)
3) Personal Wi-Fi hotspot (the wi-fi provided by the conference is always flooded and mostly hard to get onto)
4) Chapstick (the weather is really dry out here but even if you forget, a lot of vendors have them for you too)
5) Layerable clothing (sometimes the rooms can be hot OR cold)
6) Comfy shoes! (You will be walking, so leave the business attire at home and just go CASUAL! Heels can be great for going out at night but trust me, those toes will be hurting and you will opt for comfort.)
7) Oil blotting sheets for your face (easier than touching up all of your makeup)
8) Backpack, messenger, or tote bag (if you go the tote bag route, just remember that your bag will become heavy with all of the swag from vendors so be prepared for shoulder/back pain)
9) Business cards (bring a ton! you will go through them all...)
10) Luggage lock for your suitcase (to keep all of your valuables safe while you are out of your hotel room)
11) Mobile battery pack (to charge your devices during the day because your phone/tablet will run out of juice!)
12) Charging cables (duh again)
13) Long wearing makeup (ex: waterproof eyeliner, foundation primer, waterproof mascara, etc.)
14) Small wallet/wristlet (minimizing the amount of weight that you carry in your bag during the day of the conference)
15) Cash for gambling
16) Hair ties
17) Cheaper jewelry/accessories (you don't want to bring anything too nice in case you lose it & make sure to lock it away when you leave your hotel room in the morning)
18) Twitter pin (if you don't have one, you can buy one from jenheartsart.com)
19) Neck pillow for the flights
20) Ibuprofin/Acetaminophen for those headaches (we women have more chances to get headaches than men!)
21) Shoe inserts (I love Superfeet)
22) Dry shampoo (for those mornings you are too tired to re-wash your hair)
23) Nail file in a pouch/case (so that it doesn't scratch the other items in your bag)
24) Turbie Twist (if you have long hair and want to speed up the drying process)
25) Expandable suitcase (pack with the expanding portion not utilized so that when you do finish the conference, you can use the expander for all of the sawg)

Things you don't need to pack:
1) Hair Dryer (hotel usually has it)
2) Shampoo/Conditioner or Body Lotion (also provided by hotel)
3) Pens/Paper (vendors have a plethora of pens and notepads if you need them)
4) Reading material (let's face it, you won't have time)
5) Sunglasses (again, a lot of vendors seem to have those too)
6) Alarm clock (you can get a wake up call from the hotel or just use your phone)
7) Anti-bacterial hand gel (most conference areas have them available in the hallways or vendors have small bottles as giveaways too)

Things to do about 2 weeks before the conference:
1) Log into myspc.sharepointconference.com and sign up for sessions
2) Export those sessions to your smart phone AND tablet (this will create a calendar you will be "subscribing" to. Add/remove sessions on the myspc site and the subscribed calendar on your device(s) will update. Plus, I love the reminders I get about where I need to be next!)
3) Create and save a search in Twitter for the SPC hashtag (ex: #SPC14 for the 2014 conference or #SPC15 for the 2015 conference). Look at it as much as you can! Vendors will be tweeting contests and parties.
4) Download and set up a note taking app such as OneNote to take notes during sessions
5) Grab the OneNote data from the myspc web page listed above. This will have general conference information and maps that can be accessed offline after the initial download. 
6) Sign up for any vendor parties (google it, you never know what others may post.)
7) Follow @SPConf on twitter (they are the main twitter account for the conference)
8) Set up your Yammer account and app on all devices
9) Like SharePoint Conference on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/wwspc
10) Follow @WomeninSP on Twitter to see what events they are hosting during the conference (usually a lunch)

Things to do as soon as you arrive at the hotel (preferably fly in a day or two before the conference):
1) Buy large bottles of water to keep in the hotel room (you will get dehydrated)
2) Buy snacks (the snacks provided at the conference are limited and may not fulfull every dietary restriction)
3) Register and pick up your badge
4) Look through the conference swag provided during registration. You will see vendor advertisements which may include some raffle entries. Fill those out before you hit the Exhibit Hall.
5) Visit the vendors the night before the conference starts. The Exhibit Hall is usually open for a few hours. Get in on the free swag & giveaway contests early!
6) Check out the Microsoft Store because they will run out of products quickly
7) Figure out how far your room is from the conference location (if the conference is in the same hotel, try the walk to estimate time in the morning)
8) Write down or take a picture of your room number
9) Go to bed early!!! (Because you will not be sleeping the rest of the week.)

On Conference Days:
1) Order room service for breakfast if you are short on time in the morning and want the extra rest (lines for the provided breakfast can be long)
2) Arrive at sessions early (seats can fill up fast and they do limit the amount of people per room capacity)
3) Find the snacks! (There are usually mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Sometimes they are in the classroom hallways, sometimes they are in the exhibit hall. Check both places and hoard extra snacks if you need to.)
4) Follow your speakers on Twitter and mention them in your Tweets when you can
5) Fill out session evaluations after attending each one (You may win a prize!)
6) Drink lots and lots of water
7) Talk to others at your breakfast or lunch table and see what sessions they plan on attending or how their SharePoint environment is set up. You never know what you might learn from someone else. :)
8) Note the "Community Area" to find out more about SharePoint User Groups
9) Keep the business cards from people you meet and make notes on them so you remember who they actually were

After the Conference:
1) Check myspc.sharepointconference.com for downloadable content from each session
2) Play with the Hands On Labs (even if you didn't attend any of those session in person). The links to the Hands On Labs should be on the myspc site.
3) Connect with all of the people you met on LinkedIn or on Twitter using those business cards you kept!

Remember, PACE YOURSELF and HAVE FUN!!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Locate Where a Content Type is Being Used on Your Site

I always run into the problem of wanting to delete an old Content Type but receive the error from SharePoint saying that it is "still in use". Instead of wasting time checking where the Content Type is in use for each list or library, just use the PowerShell script below as was posted by "Dave the SharePoint Engineer":

$webapp = Get-SPWebApplication $targetWebApp
$sites = $webapp.Sites
foreach ($site in $sites)
  foreach ($web in $site.AllWebs)
    foreach ($ct in $web.ContentTypes)
       if($ct.Name -eq $targetCT)
          Write-Host $targetCT is defined as a content type in $web.Url
    foreach ($list in $web.Lists)
       foreach ($listct in $list.ContentTypes)
         if($listct.Name -eq $targetCT)
            Write-Host $targetCT is defined in list $list in $web.Url

Note: If you still cannot delete the Content Type, be sure to check your Recycle Bin for any remaining items which may be attached to that Content Type. Be sure to delete items from the End User Recycle Bin as well as the Site Collection Recycle Bin.

*Credit Shall Be Awarded To: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/david/archive/2011/08/25/powershell-script-to-locate-content-type-useage.aspx

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Correlation ID Error on Web Parts Using a Data Connection

Issue: Users are navigating to a SharePoint 2010 web page where a web part is displaying a Correlation ID error. There error states:

"Unable to display this Web Part. To troubleshoot this problem, open this Web page in a Microsoft SharePoint Foundation compatable HTML editor such as SharePoint Designer..."

Only some users see the Correlation ID error while some see the actual web part data. The web part on the page was created in SharePoint Designer using a data connection. You have a SharePoint 2010 farm which contains Network Load Balancing (NLB).

Troubleshooting/Symptoms: Users are hitting different Web Front Ends (WFEs) when accessing the page while NLB is enabled on your farm. (NLB distributes network traffic to each WFE.) In order to figure out which WFE users are hitting, try this trick. Users hitting a certain WFE (for example WFE1) see the web part information clearly, while others hitting another WFE (for example WFE2) are receiving the Correlation ID error. Using the ULS Viewer on WFE2, search for the Correlation ID error a user receives. It happens to display this error:

"Error while executing web part: System.Net.WebException: The remote server returned an error: (401) Unauthorized."

WFE1 has Loopback Checking disabled, while WFE2 has Loopback Checking enabled. Only users accessing the SharePoint web page through WFE2 are receiving the correlation ID error.

Explanation of Fix: The reason this occurs is because the NLB is referencing the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of each WFE. For security purposes, the default setting is to have Loopback Checking enabled so as to prevent reflection attacks on the server. The NLB could access WFE1 without an issue which is why users getting to the SharePoint page through that server did not have a problem seeing the web part data. Users accessing the page through WFE2 though, will receive a Correlation ID Error (which is actually a "401 Unauthorized" error) upon postback because of the Loopback Checking issue. The fix is to disable Loopback Checking on WFE2 so that the NLB can reference the server without encountering a problem and therefore display the web part data for users who happen to be hitting it.

To set the DisableLoopbackCheck registry key, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry key:
  3. Right-click Lsa, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  4. Type DisableLoopbackCheck, and then press ENTER.
  5. Right-click DisableLoopbackCheck, and then click Modify.
  6. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.

Note: I know there is a lot of talk about this regarding the better way of ensuring a secure environment relating to this functionality. Microsoft does state the preferred method is to specify host names as opposed to disabling loopback checking. It's up to you, but here is a great blog post on it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Get Inside My Head: Infographic on Millennials

            OMG: Getting Inside the Millennial Mind

                Check out our data visualization blog.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Updating SharePoint 2010 Managed Accounts & SQL Server Passwords

If you need to update the passwords for your managed accounts in SharePoint, you have a few different options. To check out your settings/options, navigate to:

Central Admin -> Security -> Configure Managed Accounts

  1. SharePoint can manage the password for you and change it automatically on based certain intervals
  2. Update the password directly within Central Admin
  3. Change the password of the account in Active Directory first, then update the account's password via Central Admin
Your organization's policies can determine which option you choose. In my experience, most organizations have a separate team of System Administrators who maintain all accounts within Active Directory and enforce password policies there.

Let's say a new password policy is coming out next week. You will need to get ahead of the curve and update all of your passwords prior to the changes taking place, otherwise you are afraid your farm will come to a sudden halt. Your system administrators will be updating the passwords but are nice enough to tell you what they are for each service account SharePoint uses. In order to update the passwords in SharePoint, navigate to:

Central Admin -> Security -> Configure Managed Accounts -> Change Password Now -> Use Existing Password -> Enter the password provided by your System Administrator -> Ensure that Enable Automatic Password Change is NOT checked-> Click Ok

The SQL administrator password needs to change to, but uh-oh, that's not one of SharePoint's managed accounts (nor should it be). Your System Administrators, have just changed the password in Active Directory and have notified you. To update the SQL passwords related to SharePoint you will need to update 2 services. Follow the steps below:
  1. Log on as administrator to the SQL Server
  2. Click Start and search for Server Manager
  3. Expand Configuration-> Services.
  4. Find the service called SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) and right-click -> Properties
  5. Log On tab -> Type in new password -> Click OK
  6. Select Yes when a dialog box pops up informing you that services will need to be restarted in order for the changes to take effect
  7. Right click on the same service and select Stop
  8. Right click again and select Start
Follow the same steps above to update the password for the SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER) service as well.

Check your SQL Server's Windows Application Event Logs. If you receive errors, be sure that the SP Timer Service has been restarted on the Web Front End server.

Change the SharePoint 2010 Farm Passphrase

If you need to change your SharePoint 2010 Farm's Passphrase, it's definitely doable. A farm passphrase is created when running PSConfig and when joining new servers to the farm. If you inherit a SharePoint farm from someone else and they have forgotten the passphrase (or they left the company), you can always reset the passphrase. You are going to use SharePoint Management Shell (PowerShell) to make this quick and easy change. Here is what you will enter into PowerShell:

$passphrase = ConvertTo-SecureString -asPlainText -Force

PowerShell will then ask you what the new passphrase is going to be....

Once you have that typed in, you will need to enter another line into PowerShell:

Set-SPPassPhrase -PassPhrase $passphrase -Confirm

You will need to confirm the passphrase you entered before. Click Y to confirm this change. Now your farm's passphrase is updated!

Error When Deleting Search Service Application in SharePoint 2010

Scenario: You attempt to delete your Search Service Application in SharePoint 2010 through Central Admin but the process never completes or takes too long to complete (and does not actually delete the application). You attempt to delete the Search Service Application again through Central Admin but now receive an error.

You then decide PowerShell is next viable option when deleting so you use the following script:

$spapp = Get-SPServiceApplication -Name ""
Remove-SPServiceApplication $spapp -RemoveData

You receive another error and are still unable to delete the Search Service Application.

Fix: STSADM becomes your friend again here. You will first need to grab the GUID for the Search Service Application. You can do this by...

  1. Log into the server hosting Central Admin
  2. Open SharePoint 2010 Management Shell (PowerShell) as Administrator
  3. Enter Get-SPServiceApplication
  4. Find the Service Application you wish to delete and copy the GUID (You can do this by right clicking in the PowerShell window -> hitting Select All -> Control + C -> Right Click and Paste into a fresh Notepad document -> copy the GUID from the application you wish to delete)
  5. While still in PowerShell, type: stsadm -o deleteconfigurationobject -id *type in GUID here*
This will delete your Search Service Application completely!