Upgrade to SP2013, part 2: Clean up first!

I had a look at what Technet suggests as upgrade steps, and here is the table. I don’t see anything about preparing your database for Claims authentication, as was so much spoken of at the conference. It will have to be a trial and error.
On my SP2010 test server, I have a restored copy of our intranet and I will use that to test upgrade to SP2013 so I get as a real scenario as possible. Will be interesting to see what happens with our branding and structure… 🙂

Before I moved the content database to the new SP 2013 server, I did a clean up on my SP2010 server. Better of not moving shit over if it can be resolved first.

Looked inside Health Analyzer, and of course there are some messages in there about farm accounts (you know what I mean, I am sure about that!) but there are also stuff that really matters like orphan items, missing server side dependencies etc. I had a message about orphan items in the database, so I just clicked on “Repair automatically” and refreshed and it was gone. For the “missing server side dependencies” it requires a bit more work!

I ran this powershell command to test the content databases:
Test-SPContentDatabase -name WSS_Content -webapplication https://intranet.xxxxx | out-file e:upgradeupgrade.txt -width 500
Got the following results from that:

Category  : MissingFeature
Error        : True
UpgradeBlocking : False
Message         : Database [xxx] has reference(s) to a missing feature: Id = [xxx], Name = [Weather Web Part], Description = [Displays the Weather], Install Location = [WeatherWebpart].
Remedy          : The feature with Id xxx is referenced in the database [xxx], but is not installed on the current farm. The missing feature may cause upgrade to fail. Please install any solution which contains the feature and restart upgrade if necessary.

Category      : MissingSetupFile
Error           : True
UpgradeBlocking : False
Message         : File [FeaturesTaxonomy_WebPart_Feature1 Taxonomy_WebPartTaxonomy_WebPart.webpart] is referenced [1] times in the database [xxx], but is not installed on the current farm. Please install any feature/solution which contains this file.
Remedy          : One or more setup files are referenced in the database [xxx], but are not installed on the current farm. Please install any feature or solution which contains these files.

Category        : MissingAssembly
Error           : True
UpgradeBlocking : False
Message         : Assembly [xxx.Eventhandler, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=xxx] is referenced in the database [xxx], but is not installed on the current farm. Please install any feature/solution which contains this assembly.
Remedy          : One or more assemblies are referenced in the database [xxx], but are not installed on the current farm. Please install any feature or solution which contains these assemblies.
Since the UpgradeBlocking status False on all of them, then I guess it’s no need to worry but I have tried to resolve most of these errors anyway to clean up the database. First thing is to check where a solution is added, and to do that just run this SQL query on your content db:

Select * from Webs where SiteId in (select SiteId from Features where FeatureId = ‘guid’)

And then I could go to that site and remove for instance webparts from the web part gallery that was no longer referenced. Removed them from both Recycle bin and Site collection recycle bin. Ran the test-spcontentdatabase cmdlet again and it was gone.

I also used FeatureAdmin2010 (amazing tool from Codeplex!) to search through the farm and removed the files that it suggested.

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Upgrade to SP 2013, part 1: Hardware reqs (on test server)

And so let the fun begin! This will be a post with many parts, I begin with the easiest part… 🙂

After attending the awesome SharePoint Evolution Conference in London this April, I was so inspired to get started with SP2013 that I immediately put up a migration plan when I got back to the office. Although I had installed an SP2013 server a few months ago, I had not really had any time to test much. But now it’s time!

So I had an “old” test server that I created a few months ago with the following installed. I run all on the same machine since it is my test server:
– Windows Server 2012
– SQL Server 2012
– SharePoint 2013 (no updates installed yet)

But the machine needed more juice, I could barely start it. As I had seen at the conference the least minimum reqs for a server is to have 8 GB RAM and I only had 4 (!) but I got 12 GB so now it’s more responsive.

Minimum reqs according to Technet:


What I had on the server:

And what it was upgraded to:

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New setting for AD import

Use SharePoint Active Directory Import – User Profiles
Instead of using the default setting of synchronization of User Profiles, you can select the “Use SharePoint Active Directory Import” setting. Which is a lighter version and which only imports information from the AD. If you had a connection before, it is lost when you click on this setting.
First you need to create a new connection again. You will notice a good difference here: you can click on “Filter out disabled users”! Very good.

You can no longer click on “Edit connection filters”.

You cannot edit the User Properties, such as adding the thumbnailPhoto to the Picture property.

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My SP2013 server was getting slower and slower and I could not even create a site collection anymore, so I looked into Task Manager and the processes. Found a new one, noderunner.exe, and it was consuming a lot of CPU

That process is the Search service, with a new process name. Restarted the SharePoint Search Host Controller service and the performance looked a bit healthier after that

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Limits and restrictions in SP2013

Most intranets I have worked with are used more or less as a file server (I struggle hard with getting users to organize the files with tags rather than folders, but users are lazy and they often end up dragging files directly from the file server with folder structures that are huge), so the content db often grows large very fast. So it is always interesting to look at the boundaries and limits in SP2013.

This information is from technet and below here is what I find of interest. All information below is what Microsoft recommends:
Document size limit

You cannot configure SharePoint Server 2013 Preview to store documents that are larger than 2 GB This is a built-in absolute value, and cannot be exceeded by design.


There are some limits that you can exceed the default values of, but as you increase the limit value, farm performance and the effective value of other limits may be affected so it is at your own risk.

Recommended guidelines for general stuff

These limits are set so high that the company I work with never have to be bothered at least…

300 content databases per Web application

250,00 site collections per Web application.

Microsoft strongly recommends limiting the number of site collections in a content database to 2,000. However, up to 5,000 site collections in a database are supported

10 application pools per Web server

Content databases

Microsoft strongly recommend limiting the size of content databases to 200 GB, except when the circumstances in the following apply:
If you are using Remote BLOB Storage (RBS), the total volume of remote BLOB storage and metadata in the content database must not exceed this limit

Content databases of up to 4 TB are supported when the following requirements are met:
Disk sub-system performance of 0.25 IOPs per GB. 2 IIOPs per GB is recommended for optimal performance. You must have developed plans for high availability, disaster recovery, future capacity, and performance testing.
(We are not using SP backup, we manage backup using third party products.)

If you exceed the limit:
Upgrading of site collections within these content databases is likely to be very difficult and time consuming. It is strongly recommended that you scale out across multiple content databases, rather than exceed 4 TB of data in a single content database.

Content databases with no explicit size limit for use in document archive scenarios are supported when the following requirements are met:
You must meet all requirements from the “Content database size of up to 4 TB” limit earlier in this article, and you should ensure that you have carefully considered all the factors of that limit.
The sites must be based on Document Center or Records Center site templates. Less than 5% of the content in the content database is accessed each month on average, and less than 1% of content is modified or written each month on average. Do not use alerts, workflows, link fix-ups, or item level security on any SharePoint Server 2013 Preview objects in the content database

More limits… sure

Of course there are a lot of other limits and boundaries, but they are in such a large scale (as mentioned before) that I will never run into those limits anyway. If you are interested in those, find more on the technet link above.

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Some LIKES and DISLIKES in SP2013… (more to come)


Metro (or whatever the new design is called)

Yes I like it. Simple, easy but still a bit ugly/boring. Squares, single colors, no shades, no fancy pancy icons, simple colors and BIG characters. Ah well, it is OK 🙂

Import picture from computer

It may not seem as much but it is nice news! You may now import a picture from your computer without first having to upload it into the site….

Design Manager

I like this! This is new with 2013 and a great step forward when it comes to design! Find a shortcut on the Settings menu up in the right corner

Here you have a step by step list on how to change the design of your site

On the first Welcome page you can click on “Pick a pre-installed look” to easily change the theme of your site by choosing between a set of predesigned layouts, just like a blog tool. Although I could not find one theme that I liked, but you can of course create your own. I like the concept! Very nice 🙂 

I tried the pink theme, but huuua! 🙂 Anyway, nice with the Preview and No thanks options 🙂

You can add your own background image and also change color scales, very cool! For those who do not want to dig into the css and html code, this is awesome.

You can create your own design package, click the last link in the Design Manager to generate a wsp file

Knock yourself out 😉

“Sign in as a different user” – removed!!
Why like this Microsoft?! That was one of the best features of the personal menu. I use it a lot to test permissions and to see how a site looks for a Reader for instance. Shit. Found a blog that has the solution, but still – that is not what you want to do!
Here is how it looks default, “Sign in as a different user” is gone
And after modifying Welcome.ascx (which is a non recommendation and a crappy solution!)
User Profile Services
I still miss a link back to “Manage service applications” from the User Profile Service App. The two most used service apps are Search and User Profiles, at least in my server farm. I am using bookmarks for these…
A bit disappointing that the user profiles app has not been improved. There are a lot of things that could be better, for instance speed of the AD connection. Come on, that should be lightning fast, but in SharePoint it takes for ever after you have setup your connection (if you want to edit your AD containers for instance… zzzz). Also the filters could be easier to set.
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Configure the SP2013 server

I must say that I am not too fond of the Metro style in SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013. It looks very simple and ugly, but I will probably get used to it… I have always branded SP sites to have the company look & feel (which sometimes is hell as you all know who have worked with the css files), but in this version it does not feel necessary since it will be used on more mobile platforms and you don’t want too many design elements on those sites. So I do understand why the metro style is incorporated, but it is still ugly 🙂

Now the fun part begins, configuring your first SP 2013 server!! This is the first screen that loads after you have run the Configuration Wizard

I want to setup all databases my self so that I can have a better naming standard than the wizard gives. So hit the Cancel button and start creating dbs!

You come to the Central Administration first page and my eyes are drawn to the new section of CA: Apps! Cool. There is a link both in the left side menu and as a section on the CA page. Guess they have not yet figured out what the icon should look like

Service Applications

But before I dig into the new stuff I must create the service apps and set everything up. The two default apps are “Application Discovery and Load Balancer Service Application” and the “Security Token Service Application”

Here are some news also, in the Service Application list (see red marks). And the Web Analytics db is gone from the list.

Search Service

I will start with the Search Service App. I used the same search account for all app pools since it is on my test server. The search service app created the following apps and the WSS_UsageApplication was in Stopped mode, just as in SP2010

The Search Application has a better organized left side menu, and some new stuff. Will dig into this more later. For now, I only setup the search schedules so I know that search is running. And there was this new setting: Continous crawling. No need to setup incremental crawls, I like! Enabled.

Managed Metadata

Created the Managed Metadata Service Application. No news there as far as I could see. When I clicked the link to open the Managed Metadata app I got a red error message that the Service or App Pool was not started. But I had started the Managed Metadata service so I did an IISRESET and that helped

User Profiles

Moving on to the User Profile Service App. I always create the MySite host from here

And now for the most exciting click, enter the new UPS app. Oh yeah, forgot, first start the SERVICES!! It is so annoying that the services for the common service apps don’t get started when you create them

Start the two services

A bit simplified interface. Just add the farm account and password

And wait for that “Starting” to change into “Started”…. always exciting…. Now get a coffee or something, because this will take time

Wohoo! Some 20 minutes later, the service actually got started!

A few new links, other than that – you feel at home here

Created a new connection no change there! It is still quite slow to expand and collapse the AD containers 🙁

Creating the connection filter is the same as in 2010, same shit I would say. Not logical stuff in here at all, unless you are a true AD nerd. I always have to google this because I want to exclude the disabled accounts and you cannot guess your way to do that… This is what you have to set

UserAccountControl (wait…) Bit on equals 2

Top ribbon

There is a new top ribbon which I have not decided if I like or not, yet.. What I do like is the right part of it in the grey area with shortcuts to permissions and content in focus. All of the blue links seems to take you to MySite, now at least. And the left most is totally meaningless but I guess that will change.

Select experience

When you create a site collection, you can select Experience (2010 or 2013)

Working on it… (Puking on it)

This message is going to drive me mad, I am already sick of it!

And don’t be sorry FFS!! Arrrgh..
Seriously, are document libraries and lists to be called APPS now?
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Installation steps SP2013 Preview

Launch the Splash screen

Install the prereq’s

Restart when asked

Continue installation after restart

Then launch Splash screen again, and install SharePoint Server 2013

You will first get this “error” message… you must restart before you can continue installation.

Enter the product key which you will find on this page:
Put the index files on another drive than system drive

I installed as a standalone the first time, but I got a lot of errors and problems so I uninstalled SP again. Installed as a Complete this time

Launch the Config Wizard

Create a new Server farm

 Specify sql db and farm admin account

If you get any SQL connection errors when you press Next here, then make sure the SQL services are running and that you have an instance setup. You need version 10.51.2500 of SQL Express (2008 R2).

Enter the passphrase
Confirm the port and authentication provider

Confirm configuration settings

The configuration tasks starts

Ended up with a Configuration failed and that a restart was necessary. Did that (this because I had upgraded my SQL express to R2 during setup)

Configuration successful

Now let the fun begin!

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