December, 2009

  • Jie Li's GeekWorld

    ULS Viewer, for SharePoint 2010 Troubleshooting


    My friend Dan Winter posted 2009 SharePoint Toolbox Review today on his blog. Within the post, the best tool I like is the ULS Viewer. If there’s an election of SharePoint Administrator troubleshooting tools, I would vote it as the president!

    So what is ULS? It stands for Unified Logging Service. Mr. Winter explained that a lot in his blog so I would not repeat. But, it is the top one thing you should look at when you want to troubleshoot some SharePoint issue. Of course, troubleshooting is not always to get the symbols, debug and trace problems… If that is indeed needed, then it may be a bug.  Most of the time, ULS log is already quite helpful. For example, sometimes I got a service error in the webpage, some errors in event log, but nothing told the exact root of the problem. Then when I looked into ULS log, it told me that the credential of the user did not work. It is really helpful.

    I did a user research earlier this year, more than 75% of SharePoint Administrators had no idea about ULS log. There’re some reasons. Since the ULS log is designed mainly for product group and customer service usage, the default format is not very user friendly. The log is hard to read, and you may get overwhelming messages instead of the useful ones. Now, we have ULS Viewer to solve the problem.

    For SharePoint 2010, by default, ULS log is at

    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\LOGS

    You can check the directory and try to read those logs. I was quite used to that, with notepad:)

    ULS Viewer can be used in different modes. The log can be read from log files, real time ULS log, or even clipboard. Here’s some examples:

    On a machine running SharePoint 2010, run ULS Viewer. Click File, Open From, then choose ULS (This could also be done by simply press Ctrl+U). Immediately the logs will be shown in real-time. You can filter message level by click the icons in the middle. This can tell you what is going on inside SharePoint.


    The best feature I love is the Toggle Correlation Tree button. In SharePoint 2010 we can use correlation id to trace a series of event inside SharePoint. For example, in this screenshot, my machine is trying to flush usage log. The different entries may be buried in the big ULS log file, but with correlation id you can easily track them – they shared the same id “c000006c-5b56-412b-9de1-78aae06d121f”.


    Another good feature is the notifications. You can set notification level for ULS Viewer, by default it will pop up notification for Critical message. For example in this screenshot, when Health Analyzer checked my machine for a security rule, it wrote a critical message into the log. With ULS Viewer, you can quickly identify the location of the message. If there’s an exception, you can also check the detail of that.


    I’m ready to throw my notepad away – ULS Viewer is the one to go with, for troubleshooting.


  • Jie Li's GeekWorld

    SharePoint 2010 Beta with FILESTREAM RBS Provider


    You may have already been busy trying different new fancy features of SharePoint 2010. Time to try something really hardcore for IT Pro! Remote Blob Storage is always what people are asking for – to put blob objects outside of SQL Server database, directly on file system or on some storage solutions like Documentum and FileNet. In such way, it may provide cheaper storage or better performance. SharePoint 2010 support RBS, and also can leverage SQL Server FILESTREAM RBS provider for customers to try out the capability.

    In SharePoint 2010, FILESTREAM RBS Provider is also used for getting around the 4GB database limitation in SQL Server Express. Given the fact that SharePoint Foundation 2010 (used to be called Windows SharePoint Services v4) is no longer a part of Windows Server operating system, it will not use Windows Internal Database. So when Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 users are trying to upgrade their farms, they may have an internal database larger than 4GB, which would pass the limitation of SQL Server Express. There will be a prompt to let user download this FILESTREAM RBS Provider to put large blob objects on file system, store the rest like metadata, configuration in databases. In this way, the limitation of SQL Server Express can be bypassed. But, at the same time you should consider to move to other SQL Server editions. With the growth of the databases, SQL Server Express and Windows Internal Database are not the choices for scalability.

    Note: FILESTREAM RBS Provider does not always provide better performance. We will release document on TechNet for recommendation and planning.

    You can also consider using a third party RBS provider.

    Documentation (Updated on 12/04/2009)

    Overview of BLOB storage (SharePoint Foundation 2010) (SharePoint Server 2010)

    Install and configure Remote BLOB Storage (SharePoint Foundation 2010) (SharePoint Server 2010)

    Enable a content database to use Remote Blob Storage (RBS) (SharePoint Foundation 2010) (SharePoint Server 2010)

    Upgrade from a stand-alone installation of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 to SharePoint

    Installation Notes

    The key component is the provider itself. With SharePoint 2010 Public Beta, we need to use the FILESTREAM RBS Provider shipped with SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov CTP. Don’t worry, it can be installed and used with SQL Server 2008.

    The original download link on TechNet article pointed to an older version of the provider which was used with SharePoint 2010 Technical Preview (a.k.a. June CTP). This link has already been updated with the new one, so if you downloaded “RBS_X64.msi” earlier, please re-download it. The correct installer should be 4.67MB, with a digital signature time stamp at Nov 1st, 2009.

    When you copy and paste the script, be careful with the quotes – there could be issues with them. You need to clean the wrong quotes, and replace them with the right one.

    Follow the steps described in the documentation and get it setup. If you get into any problems, please report them to SharePoint 2010 - Setup, Upgrade, Administration and Operation Forum on TechNet Forums.

    Another point is, you can allow only big files to be put into FILESTREAM. Since FILESTREAM performance is not as good as the databases when it deals with small files (for example, <1M), you can change this threshold.  The following Windows PowerShell command change the setting to 1M (1048576 bytes), file below 1M will be stored in DB.

    $cbd = Get-SPContentDatabase “WSS_Content”

    It would be good to test the performance based on your own storage and hardware.


    Q1. Who should consider using FILESTREAM RBS Provider?
    A: People who are using Windows Internal Database to host their Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or SharePoint Server 2007 content database, and want to upgrade to 2010 products, should consider FILESTREAM RBS Provider. Also, FILESTREAM RBS Provider could also be considered to deal with the following scenarios:

    1. Store terabytes of data for archiving purpose.
    2. Media streaming.

    Q2 removed. :-) 


    Jie Li

    Technical Product Manager, SharePoint

  • Jie Li's GeekWorld

    Install Language Packs on Windows 7/Vista


    If you are evaluating SharePoint 2010 Beta on Windows 7/Vista, you may also want to try language packs on it. The language packs were not released with other beta bits on 11/18 publicly, but now they are available.

    Beta Language Packs for SharePoint Foundation 2010 Beta and SharePoint Server 2010 Beta are now

    So when you run the installer, you may find it reports an error say it cannot be installed on non-server system. This is expected. Since they share the same installer with SharePoint bits, you can use the same workaround to make it install.

    Follow the same way to extract all files to a folder, then modify \files\Setup\config.xml, add <Setting Id="AllowWindowsClientInstall" Value="True"/> under configuration tag, then save it.

    This would allow you to install SharePoint 2010 beta language packs on Windows 7/Vista, if SharePoint is already installed.

    <the same workaround can also work on Office Web Apps, since they share the same installer>



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