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The Frog Pond of Technology

Ripples of Knowledge for SharePoint and Other .Net Technologies


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Brian T. Jackett
Columbus, OH

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Workaround for No Locations Available with Azure DevTest Labs

   In this post I’ll walk through a workaround to the “There are no locations available. You may not…” error when trying to provision a new instance of Azure DevTest Labs in the current preview (as of 2015/10/12).



   A few weeks ago during AzureCon 2015 there was an announcement that the new DevTest Labs offering was available in preview.  For those of you unfamiliar Dev Test Labs allows an administrator to set quotas for money used per month, size of VMs available, automatic shut down times for VMs, and more.  I immediately tried to register and followed the instructions to wait 30-60 minutes.  Later on I saw the DevTest Labs section available in the Create blade (note this requires using this link from the above page which as far as I can tell includes the “Microsoft_Azure_DevTestLab=true” querystring parameter to “enable” the DevTest Labs pieces in the UI).  When I attempted to create a new instance of a DevTest Labs I ran into an error stating that “there are no locations available”.

   I waited a little while longer and refreshed the browser but still had the same issue.  Today even days / weeks later no change and still the same error.  Thankfully I ran across a support forum post that led me in the right direction to resolve the issue.

Can’t create new lab in Azure DevTest Labs preview




   As a fellow forum poster “runninggeek” mentioned there was an issue with the Microsoft.DevTestLab provider in my subscription.  Others who registered after me did not have this problem as a problem with the registration backend was fixed shortly after this announcement went out.  Here is the PowerShell script I ran to workaround my issue.  You can also download from my OneDrive.




Switch-AzureMode AzureResourceManager

# if you have multiple subscriptions tied to account may need to select specific one for below command
Get-AzureSubscription | 
 -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.DevTestLab

# confirm that provider is unregistered
Get-AzureProvider -ProviderNamespace microsoft.devtestlab

Register-AzureProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.DevTestLab

# confirm that provider is at least registering (mine took 1 minute to fully register)
Get-AzureProvider -ProviderNamespace microsoft.devtestlab


   Essentially you need to connect in Azure Resource Manager mode and unregister the Microsoft.DevTestLab provider.  Wait until the provider is unregistered and then re-register the provider.  Close all browser sessions logged in to the Azure Portal and re-launch it from the appropriate link.



   Hopefully very few people ran into this issue as it appears to be caused by the timing of when you registered for the Azure DevTest Labs preview.  Thanks to “runninggeek” for pointing me in the right direction to resolve this.  I provisioned an instance of DevTest Labs this afternoon and starting to pour through documentation and the initial set of offerings.


      -Frog Out

Slides and Scripts from SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati 2015

   Thank you to all of the attendees at my “Running your Dev / Test VMs in Azure for Cheap” presentation at SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati 2015 (or as the locals liked to call it ScarePoint Saturday Spookinnati due to the Halloween theme.)  The slides and scripts from my presentation are below.  Enjoy.


PowerShell Scripts


Slide Deck


      -Frog Out

Slides and Scripts from Dogfood Con 2015

   A big thank you to everyone that attended my PowerShell for Your SharePoint Toolbelt at Dogfood Con this year.  We packed quite a few demos into the 60 minute session.  My slides and demo scripts are below.


Demo PowerShell Scripts


Slide Deck


      -Frog Out

Speaking at Dog Food Con and SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati 2015

   In a few weeks I’ll be speaking at SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati as well as Dog Food Con.  I’ve spoken at both conferences in the past and am excited to be accepted to speak at both again.  If you are in the Ohio area and can attend I highly recommend registering.  Here are the abstracts for both sessions and hope to see you in my session if you can join.



Dog Food Con

When: Oct 7-8, 2015

Title: PowerShell for Your SharePoint Tool Belt

Abstract: PowerShell is becoming the command line interface for all Microsoft server products including SharePoint. If you haven’t started using PowerShell you will want to add it to your set of tools in your tool belt. In this demo heavy session we will show tips and tricks for using the PowerShell console and ISE, traverse through all sites in a farm, create reports, and create a secure remote connection with whitelisted commands through constrained endpoints. We will also cover some of the more intermediate to advanced techniques available within PowerShell that will improve your work efficiency. This session is targeted to administrators and developers and assumes a basic familiarity with PowerShell.



SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati

When: Oct 10, 2015

Title: Running Your Dev / Test VMs in Azure for Cheap

Abstract: With an MSDN subscription you can run your dev / test SharePoint environment in Azure IaaS for less than the cost of a cup of coffee each day. In this session we will overview the basics of Azure IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), the pieces you will use to be successful deploying SharePoint in Azure (including the new Azure Resource Manager templates), and how to use resources as efficiently as possible to reduce your costs and boost your farm performance. This session is targeted to SharePoint developers and administrators. Prior knowledge of Azure is helpful but not a requirement.

Getting Started with ProcMon for Troubleshooting Long Running Processes

   In this post I will cover a few tips for getting started with using ProcMon (Process Monitor in the Sysinternals Suite) for troubleshooting long running processes.  Note that I am not an expert in ProcMon by a long shot, so this is more of a selfish post to remind myself of some key settings to be sure to configure.

   Side note.  You can run the Sysinternals tools from the web at Sysinternals Live without needing to download the tools to your local machine.  This is useful if your customer / organization doesn’t allow installing / running 3rd party tools or has concerns about running them directly on a machine.



   Skip down to the Tips section if you don’t want to read the back story.

   At least once a month I have a customer scenario where two or more applications are not playing nice with each other.  A .Net website and anti-virus software, SharePoint and server backup software, etc.  Usually the problem involves one piece of software placing a write-lock or exclusive hold on a file / registry entry while the other software expects the same.  In such a scenario we need to monitor a file / registry entry from a fresh start (restart application pool, process, etc.) until the file / registry access error happens which could be hours or days.  Since we are monitoring for such a long time we want to make sure that ProcMon only captures the data that we need as well as be mindful of memory / disk space usage.



1) Start ProcMon with no tracing

   If you start up ProcMon by double clicking the executable ProcMon will start capturing data immediately.  Instead launch it from the command line with the /noconnect parameter.

c:\sysinternals> procmon /noconnect


2) Specify a backing file

    By default ProcMon will store event data in virtual memory.  Since we could capturing hours or days worth of data it might be preferred to store that to a disk with lots of free space (multiple GBs or more depending on expected duration and number of events). 

   Navigate to File –> Backing Files… for these settings.



   Change the radio button from “Use virtual memory” to “Use file named:” and then specify the filename you would like to use as a backing file.  .PML is the default extension used so I followed that convention.



3) Apply filters

    By default all processes accessing any files and / or registry locations will be monitored.  Instead we want to filter events based on our criteria.  The most common scenarios that I run into (in order that I see them) are 1) filtering for location when we don’t know the process that is locking it or 2) filtering for a specific process when we know the process but not the location that is being locked.

   Click on the filter icon in the top menu or click Filter –> Filter… to access these settings.



    In the example below we filter for any path that begins with “c:\MyAppFolder”.  By doing this we include any subfolders of our application folder.



4) Drop filtered events

   By default ProcMon will capture all events whether they are filtered or not.  To save on memory (or file space if you use a backing file) you can drop filtered events.  There is a chance that if you created your filter incorrectly you may miss the events needed for troubleshooting but by keeping your filter broad enough that shouldn’t be an issue.

   Click on Filter and select the Drop Filtered Events menu item.  If there is a check mark next to the menu item then you have correctly configured ProcMon to drop filtered events.




   In this post I walked through a few quick tips for configuring ProcMon when you need to troubleshoot a long running process.  Hopefully these tips will help you avoid out of memory issues or having to parse through hundreds of thousands of events.


    Special thanks to my peer and teammate Ken Kilty for providing the research and background info for this blog post.


       -Frog Out

Be Careful Installing .Net 4.6 / Visual Studio 2015 with SharePoint 2013 (July 2015)

<Update 2015/7/28 2:30pm>  I received clarification that the SharePoint product group does support installing .Net 4.6 onto an existing SharePoint 2013 farm server.  It is the installer for SharePoint 2013 that will fail to detect .Net 4.5 if .Net 4.6 is already installed and thus throw an error.  A future update should correct this scenario with the installer.


   On a related note I was able to successfully uninstall .Net 4.6 from a server (remove the KB as mentioned at bottom of this post) and then install SharePoint 2013.



   Quick publish on this item and I’ll update once I have more details.  One of my customers is exploring Visual Studio 2015 / .Net 4.6 which was just released a week or two ago.  During some testing I found out that (as of July 28 2015 when this is published) you cannot install SharePoint 2013 binaries onto a server that has .Net 4.6 (or Visual Studio 2015 which includes .Net 4.6) installed.  I received the below error message.


   Since .Net 4.6 is an in-place upgrade of .Net 4/4.5/4.5.1/4.5.2 SharePoint has an issue with finding .Net 4.5.x after applying 4.6.  I am testing out removing the associated KB for .Net 4.6 to see if this is reversible should you accidentally deploy this to a dev / test farm.  I’m also testing if you can install .Net 4.6 / Visual Studio 2015 onto an existing SharePoint 2013 farm.


Removing associated KB…

  • On Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7 SP1/ Windows Server 2008 SP2 / Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, you will see the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6  as an installed product under Programs and Features in Control Panel.
  • On Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 you can find this as Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3045562) under Installed Updates in Control Panel.
  • On Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 R2 you can find this as Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3045563) under Installed Updates in Control Panel.

Download .Net framework



    Hopefully this helps someone before they run into issues with their farm.  Feel free to leave a comment if you find out any additional details or workarounds.


      -Frog Out

Wrap Up from Microsoft Ignite 2015

   This was the first year of the Microsoft Ignite conference which merged a number of previous conferences including TechEd, SharePoint Conference, Project Conference, and more.  With over 23,000 attendees, a new venue, and numerous Microsoft senior leadership and product group in attendance (including CEO Satya Nadella himself) this was definitely a huge event.  Rather than re-capping the event itself I wanted to take a minute to mention a few items that I heard / saw at the conference.  I am still downloading and viewing a number of sessions that I couldn’t attend (same time as another session or room was at capacity) but these are highlights that I wanted to share with others.



  • No “internal” FIM in SharePoint 2016 - SharePoint 2016 will not ship with a version of the Forefront Identity Manager product included.  This is a fairly big deal for any customers that are using the “SharePoint Synchronization” option (allows for import and export of content to / from SharePoint) for the User Profile Sync in 2010 or 2013.  Your options in 2016 will be the Active Directory Import (same as 2007 and re-introduced in 2013) or “external” FIM which is installed and managed outside of SharePoint Server.  See the following resources for more details and how to install FIM 2010 R2 + SP1 with SharePoint 2013 so that you can start planning today if you do need the full features of syncing data into and out of SharePoint.

What's New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016 (session recording with announcement)

Configuring SharePoint 2013 for the Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Service Pack 1 Portal (install overview)

  • Project Siena – Project Siena looks like a viable alternative (not replacement) for many (smaller) custom development scenarios.  Essentially it is an app that lets you build other apps.  I do not see this replacing InfoPath, Lightswitch, and half a dozen other technologies that have popped up over the past few years but I do see a promising future for this technology (HTML5 + JS based, similar to many other tech stacks that Microsoft is promoting).  Note that it is still in a beta release last time I checked but the fact that it caters to the Excel power user with similar syntax merged with an easy drag and drop interface feels like this could gain traction better than some other tools.  If you aren’t familiar with Project Siena you really need to see it to understand it.

Microsoft Project Siena: Build Apps and Create New Mobile Solutions (session recording with demos)

Microsoft Project Siena (Beta) (product site)

  • New SharePoint hybrid search option - Hybrid search is receiving a huge update / upgrade later this year.  In it’s current (May 2015) form SharePoint hybrid search involves separate search service applications / indices for on-prem farms and Office 365 / SharePoint Online.  If you query one source you can federate the query to the other and get results in a separate result block.  The problem though is that configuration can be fairly complex, search results aren’t integrated (in-line with each other), and you likely have a large number of servers on-prem for the search service.  Later this year (target timeframe, subject to change) Microsoft will release an update which will allow an on-prem “cloud search service application” to crawl and parse content but then push the metadata up to Office 365 for indexing, querying, etc.  The massive benefit of this is that your on-prem content will then be able to be used in other services like Delve, Office 365 data loss prevention (DLP), and others that currently have no expected on-prem release (or won’t be supported until future releases of SharePoint). Additionally you will need a much smaller on-prem server footprint to support search (the example given was going from 10+ search servers down to 2).  This is a big win in my opinion and I can’t want to test it out when it is released.

Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application (session recording)

  • Nano Server – Nano Server is a new installation option for Windows Server 10 (Server 2016 or whatever the final name ends up as) akin to Server Core in the past.  There were a number of sessions that talked about how small the footprint of Nano Server will be (400MB, yes MB compared to 8+ GB of server + GUI “full” edition).  The changes that this introduces not only affect performance but also re-architecting tools to work remotely (there is no local logon or UI for Nano Server, everything must be done remotely).  Things like Event Viewer, Task Manager, Local Services, etc. can be accessed remotely in a web UI similar to the “new” Azure Portal UI (super slick, take a look).  This may sound scary to some admins who are used to having RDP or locally logging on to a server but listen to Jeffrey Snover’s take on this.  We are IT Professionals and this is a technology that will reduce number of reboots, make servers more secure, reduce infrastructure footprint, and have numerous other benefits.  You owe it to yourself and your company to learn about this and see if it will work for the services you provide.

Nano Server (session recording)

Nano Server: The Future of Windows Server Starts Now (session recording)

Remotely Managing Nano Server (session recording)

  • PowerShell – Getting to see Jeffrey Snover (inventor or PowerShell) and Don Jones (first follower of PowerShell, see the link in slide deck) geek out about PowerShell was one of the best sessions I got to see at Ignite.  Hard to describe in words hence I recommend go watch the recording.  Jeffrey had some great advice about using PowerShell as a tool to explore and dive into problems or scenarios you are trying to solve.  That sense of adventure can be a motivating force for your personal and professional careers.  It was really inspiring and I love the fact that Jeffrey (and Don’s) mindset is spreading to so many others these days.

Windows PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffrey Snover (session recording)


   On a side note I also wanted to mention one of the obvious but not always talked about benefits of going to a conference like this in-person.  During the week I was able to introduce myself to a number of presenters that I had previously not met.  Some were MVPs, fellow Premier Field Engineers (PFEs), product group members, and more.  The connections you make can last for years and provide an invaluable network for sharing information and getting assistance when you are in need.  I even got a PowerShell sticker directly from Jeffrey Snover himself (another personal highlight).




   This is just a short list of some of the sessions that I attended along with highlights or key points that I wanted to share.  If I find anything else significant from the recordings I am going back to watch I’ll update this post.  For now though go check out the recordings above or the hundreds of other ones that are up on Channel 9.  I encourage you to attend next year when Ignite 2016 will be in Chicago again May 9-13.


      -Frog Out

Slides and Scripts from SharePoint Cincy 2015

   This is my fourth year presenting at the SharePoint Cincy conference.  As usual the crew that organizes has put on a great conference and the attendees were very engaged.  Below are my slides and demo scripts for my “Running Your Dev / Test VMs in Azure for Cheap” session.  Thanks for all who attended and hope that you got something useful out of it.


Demo PowerShell Scripts

Download link



Slide Deck

Download link


      -Frog Out

Default Search Index File Location for SharePoint 2013

    Blogging this as a simple reminder to myself on the default (out of the box) value of the Search Service Application index location in SharePoint 2013.  Invariably I have to look this up every couple of months when supporting customers and only ever find the PowerShell commands to retrieve it.  Putting both on here.  Hopefully this saves someone else a few minutes of their day as well.


PowerShell Commands

$ssi = Get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceInstance
$ssi.Components | Select-Object IndexLocation


Default Value

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\15.0\Data\Office Server\Applications



      -Frog Out

Slides and Scripts from DogFood Conference 2014

   I was pleased to once again speak at the Dog Food Conference here in Columbus, OH.  I believe this is the 3rd year that I have spoken and the 4th or 5th year that I have attended.  The venue has moved to a more spacious location which definitely helped with giving attendees, speakers, and vendors more room to spread out,  I was especially happy to meet up with dozens of previous customers and co-workers at the conference.  This really is a great mix of audiences (developers, IT pros, and business users), customer segments, and topics (SharePoint, .Net, PowerShell, BI, ALM, and more).

   Thanks to everyone who attended my session at the very end of the last day of the conference.  We had a number of good side discussions and questions throughout the presentation.  Below are my slides and scripts.


Demo PowerShell Scripts




      -Frog Out