Second Life of a Hungarian SharePoint Geek

June 25, 2017

How to get the Url of the “Edit View” Page of a Specific SharePoint List View from PowerShell

Filed under: PowerShell, SP 2013, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 07:33

There might be cases when you can’t access the Edit View page of a specific list view from the SharePoint UI. For example, there is no such direct link in the case of Survey lists. There is no ribbon including the Manage Views group, and the Views area is missing from the List settings page as well.

You can, however access the Edit View page from your browser if you know its URL. The standard URL of this page has this pattern:


As you see, the ViewEdit.aspx page is responsible for this functionality. The encoded Ids (Guid) of the List and the View are passed as query string parameters (List and View respectively).

You can get the URL of the page using this PowerShell script easily:

$web = Get-SPWeb ‘http://YourSharePoint/Web/SubWeb’
$list = $web.Lists[‘YourList’]
# get the default view of the list
$view = $list.DefaultView
# or get an arbitrary view by its name
# $view = $list.Views[‘All Items’]
$viewId = $view.ID

function EscapeGuid($guid)
  return "{$guid}".ToUpper().Replace(‘-‘, ‘%2D’).Replace(‘{‘, ‘%7B’).Replace(‘}’, ‘%7D’)

$url = $web.Url + ‘/_layouts/15/ViewEdit.aspx?List=’ + (EscapeGuid $list.ID) + ‘&View=’ + (EscapeGuid $view.ID)

You can even start the page in Internet Explorer from PowerShell if you wish:

$ie = New-Object -ComObject InternetExplorer.Application
$ie.Visible = $true

June 13, 2017

A Quick and Dirty Solution to Create a Blank Site in SharePoint 2013

Filed under: Administration, SP 2013, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 18:36

Recently one of our clients requested a change in a custom-built SharePoint application. The original version of the application was built for SharePoint (MOSS) 2007 using Visual Studio 2008, then upgraded to SharePoint 2010 using Visual Studio 2010. Later the site was upgraded to SharePoint 2013, without any change in the code of the solution.

Now we had to create a replica of the site in our developer environment including the list data. We pulled a backup of the site using the Export-SPWeb cmdlet successfully in the productive system, and created a new team site in the development system as a target of the Import-SPWeb cmdlet. When executing the restore operation we’ve got this exception:

Import-SPWeb : Cannot import site. The exported site is based on the template STS#0 but the destination site is based on the template STS#1. You can import sites only into sites that are based on same template as the exported site.


In the error message STS#0 means the Team Site template, and STS#1 stands for the Blank Site template (see SharePoint site template IDs and their description here). Jason Warren suggests in this thread to use the -Force switch of the Import-SPWeb cmdlet to force the overwrite of the existing site, but we had the same issue even using this switch. How could we create a new web site using the Blank Site template? Solutions available using the server side, like using PowerShell or unhiding the Blank Site template are discussed in this thread. But what could we do, if we had no access to the server side, as this site template is not available on the web UI anymore?

We found a simply solution using only a single browser (Internet Explorer in our case) and the F12 Developer Tools.

Load the site creation page in the browser, then start the Developer Tools, and select the list of templates using the DOM Explorer.



Select an options in the select element, like the Team Site


… change its value attribute to STS#1


… and finally click the Create button on the web page to create the new blank site.

This solution is quick, but I consider it to be dirty, as users should perform it themselves and each time they need a blank site, so definitely not a user friendly option. But it might be handy if you need a simple way without access to the server side.

March 26, 2017

Generating Pseudo GUIDs for Your Project Server Entities

Filed under: PowerShell, Project Server, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 06:24

As you might have known, since the version 2013, Project Server utilizes pseudo-GUIDs to improve Project Server performance. These ones has the format of a “classical” GUID, but actually generated sequentially. As Microsoft states in this TechNet article:

"We handle GUIDs a little better in Project Server 2013 – and in many places they are sequential GUIDs which cause less index fragmentation"

This topic is quite good described in the Project Conference 2014 presentation Project Worst Practice – Learning from other peoples mistakes by Brian Smith. See the video recording between 6:08-13:54, or the slides 10-14.

One of the main components of the pseudo-GUID generation is the NewSequentialUid method of the Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Library.PSUtility class:

public static Guid NewSequentialUid() 

  Guid guid; 
  if (NativeMethods.UuidCreateSequential(out guid) != 0) 
    return Guid.NewGuid(); 
  byte[] b = guid.ToByteArray(); 
  Array.Reverse((Array) b, 0, 4); 
  Array.Reverse((Array) b, 4, 2); 
  Array.Reverse((Array) b, 6, 2); 
  return new Guid(b); 

So if you want to use the same kind of pseudo-GUIDs for your own custom entities you create from code, you can get the IDs by invoking the method (for example, via PowerShell). The code sample below illustrates, how to get a single ID, or a batch of  IDs (in this case, 5 of them):

# load the necessary assembly
# generate a single sequential ID
# or generate a range of sequential IDs, in this case, five of them
(1..5) | % { [Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Library.PSUtility]::NewSequentialUid().Guid }

October 1, 2015

The SharePoint Time Machine

Filed under: SP 2013, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , — Peter Holpar @ 22:06

Assume you have a SharePoint list with a lot of items. The list supports versioning and you should provide a snapshot of the items at a given time in the past.

As you know, the Versions property (of type SPListItemVersionCollection) of the SPListItem class contains the item versions. One can access a specific version via the indexer property of the collection, by the ID of the version (where the ID = 512 * major version number + minor version number), or by the version number (a.k.a. label, for example, 2.3), but there is no direct support to get the actual version at a specific time in the past.

To achieve my goal, I’ve implemented the GetVersionFromDate extension method, that iterates through the method, and returns the version we need based on its creation date:

  1. public static SPListItemVersion GetVersionFromDate(this SPListItemVersionCollection versions, DateTime localDate)
  2. {
  3.     SPListItemVersion result = null;
  5.     if (versions != null)
  6.     {
  7.         DateTime date = versions.ListItem.Web.RegionalSettings.TimeZone.LocalTimeToUTC(localDate);
  9.         SPListItemVersion prevVersion = null;
  11.         // versions[0] – current item version
  12.         // versions[versions.Count – 1] – first item version created
  13.         for (int i = versions.Count – 1; i >= 0; i–)
  14.         {
  15.             SPListItemVersion version = versions[i];
  16.             if (version.Created > date)
  17.             {
  18.                 result = prevVersion;
  19.                 break;
  20.             }
  21.             // if it is the last (actual) version and there is no result yet,
  22.             // then the date specified should be greater than the creation date of the last version
  23.             // we take the last version
  24.             else if (i == 0)
  25.             {
  26.                 result = version;
  27.             }
  29.             prevVersion = version;
  30.         }                
  32.     }
  34.     return result;
  35. }

Note, that the Created property stores the creation date as UTC time, that we should convert first.

Using this method accessing the specific version is so simple as:

  1. SPList list = web.Lists["Your List"];
  2. SPListItem item = list.Items.GetItemById(1);
  4. DateTime date = DateTime.Parse("2015/06/29 13:40");
  5. SPListItemVersion version = item.Versions.GetVersionFromDate(date);
  6. Console.WriteLine(version["APropertyName"]);

If you go through the items in the list and get the version of the specific time, you already have the required snapshot.

February 9, 2015

“Decoding” SharePoint Error Messages using PowerShell

Filed under: PowerShell, SP 2010, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 22:26

When working with SharePoint errors in ULS logs, you can find the error message near to the stack trace. In case of simple methods the stack trace may be enough to identify the exact conditions under which the exception was thrown. However, if the method is complex, with a lot of conditions and branches, it is not always trivial to find the error source, as we don’t see the exception message itself, as it is stored in language-specific resource files, and you see only a kind of keyword in the code.

For example, let’s see the GetItemById method of the SPList object with this signature:

internal SPListItem GetItemById(string strId, int id, string strRootFolder, bool cacheRowsetAndId, string strViewFields, bool bDatesInUtc)

There is a condition near to the end of the method:

if (this.IsUserInformationList)
    throw new ArgumentException(SPResource.GetString("CannotFindUser", new object[0]));
throw new ArgumentException(SPResource.GetString("ItemGone", new object[0]));

How could we “decode” this keyword to the real error message? It is easy to achieve using PowerShell.

For example, to get the error message for the “ItemGone”:



Item does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user.

Note, that since the second parameter is an empty array, we can simply ignore it when invoking the static GetString method.

If you need the language specific error message (for example, the German one):

$ci = New-Object System.Globalization.CultureInfo("de-de")
[Microsoft.SharePoint.SPResource]::GetString($ci, "ItemGone")

it is

Das Element ist nicht vorhanden. Möglicherweise wurde es von einem anderen Benutzer gelöscht.

Having the error message, it is already obvious most of the time, at which line of code the exception was thrown.

It can also help to translate the localized message to the English one, and use it to look up a solution for the error on the Internet using your favorite search engine, as there are probably more results when you search for the English text.

August 31, 2014

How to use PowerShell to check if a SharePoint Group with a specified ID or name exists–Without error handling

Filed under: PowerShell, SP 2013, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 23:18

Recently I created a PowerShell script that should delete a group that has a specific name. If the script runs the second time, it throws an exception since the group is already deleted.

If you want to get/delete/add a group from/to a SPGroupCollection (like SiteGroups or Groups of an SPWeb) the methods throw typically exceptions of different kinds if the group does not exist (or already does exist in case of addition):

$web.SiteGroups.Remove(12345) throws
Specified argument was out of the range of valid values.

$web.SiteGroups.Remove("YourGroupName") throws
Group cannot be found.

$web.SiteGroups.GetByID(12345) and
$web.SiteGroups.GetByName("YourGroupName") throw
Group cannot be found.

$web.SiteGroups.Add("YourGroupName", $usr, $null, "Group description") throws
The specified name is already in use.

I wanted to eliminate the error messages. If these commands were PowerShell Cmdlets, we could use the common ErrorAction parameter with the value SilentlyContinue (see more here), however with standard .NET object calls only the Try/Catch block would be available.

Throwing and handling exceptions has always a performance penalty. How could we check if the group exists before trying to get/delete/add it from/to the collection?

After a short search on the .NET based samples I found:

  • A generic- and lambda expression-based solution, that is nice, but not easy to transfer to PowerShell.
  • An interesting solution, that uses the Xml property of the SPGroupCollection object .
  • A solution that is based on the GetCollection method of the SPGroupCollection object.

I chose the third sample to transfer to PowerShell. The equivalent PowerShell condition to check the group by ID:

@($web.SiteGroups.GetCollection(@(12345))).Count -eq 1

To check the group by name, we can use:

@($web.SiteGroups.GetCollection(@("YourGroupName"))).Count -eq 1

The parameter of the GetCollection method is an array, so we can use the same method to check if all or any of multiple groups exists.

For example, to check by ID if both of the groups we need exist:

@($web.SiteGroups.GetCollection(@(12345, 54321))).Count -eq 2

To check by name if any of the groups we need exists:

@($web.SiteGroups.GetCollection(@("YourGroupName1", "YourGroupName2"))).Count –gt 0

April 23, 2014

Who Has Deployed This Solution?

Filed under: PowerShell, Reflection, SP 2010, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , , — Peter Holpar @ 22:09

Recently we had a problem in one of our server farms that was caused by a sandboxed solution that was deployed by mistake as farm solution as well. I wanted to know who has deployed the farm solution, but in the Central Administration we can see only the time of the deployment, but there is no information regarding the person who performed the action:


If we submit the following SQL query in the configuration database of the farm (using the name of the solution as the filter)…

  1. SELECT [Id]
  2.       ,[ClassId]
  3.       ,[ParentId]
  4.       ,[Name]
  5.       ,[Status]
  6.       ,[Version]
  7.       ,[Properties]
  8.   FROM [SharePoint_Config].[dbo].[Objects]
  9.   WHERE [Name] = 'addispname.wsp'

… we should receive two records as result that include XML objects in the Properties fields like these ones:

  1. <object type="Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPPersistedFile, Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c">
  2.     <sFld type="Int64" name="m_FileSize">4748</sFld>
  3.     <fld type="System.Collections.Hashtable, mscorlib, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" name="m_UpgradedPersistedFields" />
  4.     <fld name="m_Properties" type="null" />
  5.     <sFld type="String" name="m_LastUpdatedUser">CONTOSO\Administrator</sFld>
  6.     <sFld type="String" name="m_LastUpdatedProcess">vssphost4 (5876)</sFld>
  7.     <sFld type="String" name="m_LastUpdatedMachine">DEMO2010A</sFld>
  8.     <sFld type="DateTime" name="m_LastUpdatedTime">2013-08-22T00:01:04</sFld>
  9. </object>
  10. <object type="Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPSolution, Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c">
  11.     <sFld type="Guid" name="m_Id">31079555-a0db-4dce-8ca4-51e3e40cb6d1</sFld>
  12.     <sFld type="Boolean" name="m_WebPartPackage">False</sFld>
  13.     <sFld type="Guid" name="m_Wppid">00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000</sFld>
  14.     <fld type="Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPServerRole, Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" name="m_DeploymentServerType">WebFrontEnd</fld>
  15.     <sFld type="Boolean" name="m_HasWebAppResource">False</sFld>
  16.     <fld type="System.Collections.Hashtable, mscorlib, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" name="m_UpgradedPersistedFields" />
  17.     <fld name="m_Properties" type="null" />
  18.     <sFld type="String" name="m_LastUpdatedUser">CONTOSO\Administrator</sFld>
  19.     <sFld type="String" name="m_LastUpdatedProcess">vssphost4 (5876)</sFld>
  20.     <sFld type="String" name="m_LastUpdatedMachine">DEMO2010A</sFld>
  21.     <sFld type="DateTime" name="m_LastUpdatedTime">2013-08-22T00:01:04</sFld>
  22. </object>

As you can see, one of the objects (SPSolution) describes the solution itself, the other one (SPPeristedFile) describes the persisted file that belongs to the solution. From the properties of the persisted file we can read the information we need, see m_LastUpdatedUser.

If you don’t like the idea to query the SharePoint content database directly, there is an other way to achieve the same information, for example using PowerShell and a bit of Reflection.

First we get a reference to our solution either by ID (as long it is known):

$solution = Get-SPSolution -Identity ‘31079555-a0db-4dce-8ca4-51e3e40cb6d1’

or by Name:

$solution = Get-SPSolution | ? { $_.Name -eq ‘addispname.wsp’ }

We can get the persisted file of the solution via the SolutionFile property, then using Reflection we can read its internal LastUpdateInfo property that contains the information regarding the user that deployed the solution:

$persistedFile = $solution.SolutionFile
$persistedFileType = $persistedFile.GetType()
$bindingFlags = [System.Reflection.BindingFlags]::NonPublic -bor [System.Reflection.BindingFlags]::Instance
$pi_LastUpdateInfo = $persistedFileType.GetProperty(‘LastUpdateInfo’, [System.Reflection.BindingFlags]($bindingFlags))
$lastUpdateInfo = $pi_LastUpdateInfo.GetValue($persistedFile, $null)
Write-Host $lastUpdateInfo

We should have an output similar to this one:

User: CONTOSO\Administrator
Process:vssphost4 (5876)
Time:August 22, 2013 12:01:04.0000

Beyond the user, one can find other potentially interesting information as well, including the host the solution was deployed from, and the process used to deploy the solution (executable + process ID a.k.a. PID). In the sample above the solution was deployed from Visual Studio, but in other cases the value can be for example powershell (4736) that means it was deployed using PowerShell.

February 5, 2014

How to Display Web Analytics Reports for Site Collection without Visual Upgrade

Filed under: Analytics, SP 2010, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 00:01

Recently I had to display the web analytics reports by a customer of us in a SharePoint 2010 environment without the Visual Upgrade, that means, the site collection is still using the WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007 design.

These kind of reports can be displayed via the Report.aspx page for a web site:


as well as the site collection:


If we had the Visual Upgrade, these links would be included in the Site Settings under Site Actions:


However, in the case of the WSS 3.0 UI, the links are missing, and if we try to access the Report.aspx page we receive the warning below:

This operation requires that the new SharePoint user experience be active. A Site Owner or Administrator can enable the new experience from the Site Actions menu or from Site Settings option "Title, description, and appearance."

The warning comes from the OnPreRender method of the Microsoft.Office.Server.WebAnalytics.Reporting.WebAnalyticsReport  class (Microsoft.Office.Server.WebAnalytics.UI assembly), see the SPUtility.GetIncorrectUIVersionMessage(true) method call below:

    if ((contextWeb == null) || (contextWeb.UIVersion < 4))
        if (this.IncorrectUIVersionMessageLabel != null)
            this.IncorrectUIVersionMessageLabel.Text = SPHttpUtility.HtmlEncode(SPUtility.GetIncorrectUIVersionMessage(true));

From this code can we see, that only the UI version of the current web site (contextWeb in the code above) is checked. That is, if we created a sub site anywhere in the site collection (for example called reports under the root site) using the 2010 compatible UI, we can display the reports for the site collection via a link like this:


November 6, 2013

How to change the structure of sharePoint site in a site collection

Filed under: PowerShell, SP 2010, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 23:08

SharePoint sites can be created using a wrong URL name, or in an even worse case, under a wrong parent site. In both cases the site is located at a URL that is somehow not ideal for the users. If there is no content in the new site yet, it is probably the easiest to delete and re-create the site using the right name / at the right place. However, if the users created a lot of content in the site, we should find another solutions to handle the mistake. It is good to know that there are alternatives for such issues.

Solution 1: If the site is created under the correct parent site but with a wrong name, it is the easiest to fix the name via the SharePoint UI. As described in this post, you can change the name under Site Actions / Site Settings / Title, description, and icon. This method does not help to move sites between parent sites.


Solution 2: One of my colleagues, Verena has found another solution via PowerShell:

Get-SPWeb http://yoursite/siteX | Set-SPWeb -RelativeUrl subsite1/siteY

Using this method, we can not only rename the site, but we can move it under an existing subsite as well. It is important to point out, that based on our experience, this method does not work in the other direction, that means, we cannot move a site up in the hierarchy, like from under a subsite to the root site. Thanks Verena for this solution, and happy birthday! Birthday cake

Solution 3: Using the ServerRelativeUrl property of the SPWeb object we can alter the structure of the sites as well. This method seems to be pretty flexible, makes it possible to change the site relationships in both directions.

$web = Get-SPWeb http://yoursite/subsite1/siteX
$web.ServerRelativeUrl = “/yoursite/siteY”

It is an interesting question, how the methods 2 and 3 above handle the case, when the site permissions are configured to be inherited from the parent site. Do they keep the permissions inherited from the original parent site? Or the permissions of the new parent site will be inherited? Recently we had to move sites using these methods, but in our case the sites had always their own permission sets, so I cannot answer this question right now.

September 10, 2013

Restarting SharePoint Timer Service on remote servers using PowerShell

Filed under: PowerShell, SP 2010, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , — Peter Holpar @ 20:45

Recently we installed a new version of a custom SharePoint timer job together with a SharePoint administrator of our company. After installation, the Timer Service must have been restarted, to enforce reloading of the new version of the assemblies. My colleague used a remote desktop connection tool to log in on each of our front end / application servers (we have a few ones) and restarted the service using Service Manager. I asked him (and myself): Wouldn’t it be much more easier to restart the services from a single console, for example, using PowerShell?

After a quick research I came up with the solution (you should update the server names in the script, of course):

$computers = ("SPFrontEnd1", "SPFrontEnd2", "SPApp1", "SPApp2")
$computers | % { Restart-Service -InputObject $(Get-Service -Computer $_ -Name SPTimerV4) }

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

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