Thursday, June 28, 2007

Error HRESULT E_FAIL has been returned from a call to a COM component.

When the MOSS crawl was started, it started throwing up this exception:

System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x80004005): Error HRESULT E_FAIL has been returned from a call to a COM component.

We had no clue about this one and the log messages weren't much helpful. They contained the following error:

CSTS3Accessor::InitURLType: Return error to caller

But checking the eventviewer on the app server(where the indexer was running) showed the following error:

Content sources could not be accesed.

All these messages started throwing up before forms authentication was turned on. For Forms authentication (using Active Directory membership provider) to work, imperonation was turned off.

This was the root cause of the problems. Turning on imperonation was supposed to do the trick and get everything to work, but looks like we have more bugs in the code and hence we had to go back to switch back to the default membership and role provider. Switching back to the previous state helped in indexing/crawling the content. The crawl started again without any problems.

Also careful planning is required if you plan to use forms authentication. Enterprise Search will not work with forms authentication without some workarounds. Allocate some good chunk of time to work on it. You need to create a two zones :

  • Default Zone - Forms authentication for external users.
  • Custom Zone - Extend the previous web application to create a new zone. Configure it use Windows authentication(with NTLM) and let the crawler crawl across this zone.

Atleast one zone must be configured to have NTLM for the search to work. Also make sure that the content access account has access to this zone.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Been really busy these days...

Not having much time to do some reading as a big project is getting to roll out. Iam planning to blog regularly, but with the intricacies in my life, its really hard to do to find time to do something interesting.
For now, check out the new interactive live tv at :

Its a lazy sunday afternoon out here and Iam getting ready to doze off....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sharepoint 2007 Backup, Restore, Migration

The built in Sharepoint Backup and restore tool essentially backs up everything(including indexes, but not sure about Custom Solutions, Alternate Mappings, IISMetabase). I was not able to test this one, but will do it sometime soon.

In order to have a fail proof recovery plan, one might follow these steps:
  • Backup the whole farm using the built in backup tool (either through central admin/ stsadm)
Command: stsadm.exe -o backup
-directory \\backupfolder\ -backupmethod full
  • Back up all the databases(content and configuration using sql server tools)
  • Backup the web front end servers(IIS Metabase, Hive, Inetpub, IIS logs etc.)
In case of disaster, you could use stsadm/central admin to restore the complete farm. Also, you can create the Web Application, restore the content databases and intall the custom solutions. You should create a new configuration database and if needed you can also restore the old one. Now this method will not restore the indexes or any settings in the central admin(Alternate mappings, search scopes, bdc and others) .You will end up creating the scopes and reindexing again.
If you want to migrate from one farm to another, check this article:

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Photosynth is a new technology from Microsoft Research which enables to combine and view pictures in a three dimensional space. It's a Microsoft and University of Washington collaboration project. With a huge collection of pictures you can have a detailed view of a particular element on the Photo.
Do you want to try it ? Check it out here.

Here are a few videos to know more about it:

This is not open to the public but you can have a look at the available collections here.
If you want to know more about it, Please visit their website at:

More videos:
Photosynth and Virtual Earth:

Video: Virtual Earth and Photsynth Tour of St. Peter's Basilica

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sharepoint 2007 Backup

Recently I have been looking for different backup options for Sharepoint 2007. You have two options for it:
  • Traditional Backup (using Central Admin, Stsadm tool, IIS Metabase backup, File System backup of Custom Assemblies, binaries and code, IIS logs, event logs, home directories, HIVE and many more)
  • Using Third Party tools like ''
Central Admin : You can backup the databases from here, but cannot schedule a backup
STSadmin tool: Much more control than the previous one but not much of a granularity
Third Party tools: Provide much granularity upto an item level. But need to shell out lotta of green paper...
This post is not intended to give a detailed explanation of the backup procedure. Its is just a place to find some of the links to the resources.
Joel Oleson as always has a great post here. Things to expect here : What to Backup and what tools to backup?
Technet has an article on the backup plan.
More articles:
Relationship between IIS Metabase and Configuration Database:
Backup Sharepoint Search:
I guess that's it for this I go.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

AppSettings in a file other than web.config

As the number of websites in Sharepoint increases, the bin folder gets bigger and also the web.config becomes larger. But, you can have multiple web.config's and have the Appsettings in a different file. Thanks to Mark for bringing this to my notice.You can use the file element of the appSettings attribute to specify the optional file.

<appsettings file="customAppSettingsFile/">
<appsettings file="customAppSettingsFile">
<add value="testvalue1" key="test1">
<add value="testvalue2" key="test2">

You can specify the core appsettings in web.config and the extra ones in customAppSettingsFile. Any change to customAppSettingsFile will not restart the application. You have to modify web .config to make the application restart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TechED and IPhone Videos

The most talked about video at TechEd was probably the Back to the Future skit. Check it out here:

You can also watch the entire KeyNote at:

Also other videos can be found at Virtual Studio at:

As most of you know, Apple has released quite a few IPhone videos, you can find them here:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Safari on Windows

Apple today at WWDC conference released safari for Windows and it is supposed to be twice as fast IE on windows. Hope this is true !!! Also, Mark your calendars for June 29th - 6 PM, the date and time when IPhone gets released.
Update: Just installed Safari on Windows XP(on my personal laptop). As promised, it is much more faster than IE. I use igoogle and each tab has lot of gadgets on it. I use a lot of rss readers and on IE, it takes sometime to actual download everything. But with Safari, it looks that all the gadgets got updated really quickly.
Also, I use google recommendations as a tab and it never opened in IE. It used to throw a javascript error, but with safari it was damn quick to open with no errors. Great one indeed!!!
This is the error thrown up with IE, google recommendations on igoogle tab:

P.S: As you can see, the gadgets were still say as loading...

Friday, June 8, 2007

One more Friday...

Ahhaaa...there comes one more friday and as usual this week flew by quickly in a flash. I rented out three movies to watch this weekend and should be a busy one.

Okay, as most of you reading know about Microsoft Surface and if you want to quickly get on an hands on feeling about it , check out the cool app at (you should install silverlight)

It shows the capabilites of Siverlight and miniature view of Surface functionalities. You can check out more details about it at delay's blog. You can find more silverlight examples at : and Silverlight Examples & Samples.

Today is the last day of TechEd and Iam waiting to get my hands on the dvd. Also, 3 million IPhones are expected to be available on June 29 according to some resources. I guess that's all from me for today.Sayonara...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Teched 2007 annoucements and other

Even though Iam not at TechEd, Iam trying to keep an eye on the things happening there. Here are a few announcements:
  • Orcas, the next version of Visual Studio is officially Visual Studio 2008 (Visual Studio Shell will be release along with it)

  • Katmai, the next version of SQl server is officially SQL Server 2008

  • Acropolis, a UI framework for WPF
Earlier this month, Google announced Google Gears which allows a disconnected Web Applications. It is an open source browser extension, that allows Web Applications to provide offline functionality. It installs a local relational database to store the data locally and uses javascript api's to synchronize itself, when connected to the internet.
Siverlight + Google Gears ???? Check it out here.
IPhone is officially going to get release on June 29th and its believed they will be vanished as soon as they arrived. Long queues are expected at Cingular Stores on 29th as they cannot be preordered.
Also HTC has released a touch phone in competition with IPhone. Here is a pic of it from

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sharepoint 2007 Customization Policy Whiltepaper

This white paper dicusses policies for implementing and managing customizations in a Sharepoint based environment. Whitepaper

Original Url:

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Asp.NET ViewState

Rex Tang has a good list of article on Viewstate.

Being lazy, Iam just copying the links from his blog.

Articles to read:
Understanding ASP.NET ViewState - by Scott Mitchell
Speed Up Your Site with the Improved ViewState in ASP.NET 2.0 - by Fritz Onion
ViewState Encoding in ASP.NET 2.0 - by Fritz Onion
How do I reduce this ViewState thing? - by Bertrand Le Roy
ASP.NET 2.0: ViewState Numbers - by Dino Esposito
Cool ViewState Decoder - by Scott Guthrie
ViewState: All You Wanted to Know - by Paul Wilson
Tip on Saving ViewState on Server - by Paul Wilson
ASP.NET ViewState = Appendix? - by Scott Hanselman
ASP.NET ViewState: Pox on mankind? or clever like a fox? - by Scott Hanselman
Moving ViewState to the Session Object and more Wrongheadedness - by Scott Hanselman
Thoughts on grids and viewstate - by Dino Esposito

Decoding Tools:
ViewState Decoder 2.1 - by Fritz Onion
Page ViewState Parser - by Paul Wilson
ViewStateAnalyzer 2.0.0 - by Cristian Civera (via Scott Guthrie)
ASP.NET ViewState Helper - by Binary Fortress Software
ASP.NET ViewState Helpler Fiddler 2 Extension - by Binary Fortress Software

igoogle 6 tabs and no more

I have been using google homepage to add my content. Recently I moved to iGoogle and now I cannot add more tabs to the homepage. I cannot even see the add tab on the homepage. Any ideas anyone ?

Update : June 12th
Just noticed, now you can add more tabs to igoogle:

Friday, June 1, 2007

W3Wp.exe belongs to which AppPoolID ?

If you have different application pools and you need to know which application pool  the worker process belongs to, run the following command.
C:\WINDOWS\system32>cscript iisapp.vbs

Windows Live Writer

Windows live writer beta 2.0 has been announced and it looks pretty decent. I installed it just now and you have to enter the blog url, username and password to get started. It connects to Windows Live Spaces, SharePoint, WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, Moveable Type, Community Server and few other blogs.
Iam writing this post using Live Writer and lets see if it gets published.
You can download it from here: