Vol. 53, #8 - October 28, 2013 - Issue #953


SharePoint troubleshooting 101

  1. Editor's Corner
    • SharePoint troubleshooting 101
    • Tip of the Week
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Events Calendar
    • Americas
    • Europe
  4. Webcast Calendar
    • Register for Webcasts
  5. Tech Briefing
    • Windows Server
    • Windows PowerShell
    • Hyper-V
    • System Center
    • Windows Azure
    • Windows client
    • Acknowledgements
  6. Windows Server News
    • Preparing for the cloud: Understanding the infrastructure impacts
    • Running Windows Server on desktop hardware: Why do it?
    • The smart shopper's guide to virtualization and cloud management tools
    • What's old, what's new for the enterprise with the Windows 8.1 update
  7. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
  8. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Altaro Hyper-V Backup – Free for WServerNews subscribers – SEP/OCT 2013


Altaro Hyper-V Backup – Free for WServerNews subscribers – SEP/OCT 2013

Make backing up and restoring Hyper-V VMs easy to manage and get rid of one worry you don’t need. Less hassle, more time left and Free for WServerNews subscribers.

Download your copy now!


Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is all about troubleshooting SharePoint with a guest editorial by Trevor Seward. Troubleshooting is something we all need to learn more about, especially if you're having trouble balancing your work life and personal life. Here's a Dilbert comic on this subject that might help you (or it might not):

And now for our guest editorial by Trevor Seward...

SharePoint troubleshooting 101

SharePoint is a beast, a giant platform.  Many systems administrators I see commenting on SharePoint-related issues often say "run away!" or "find a new job!"  A large part of Systems Administration is troubleshooting, and SharePoint is one of the most exciting platforms to troubleshoot for.  It is a complex system with a lot of interwoven, moving parts.  Various services require various types of troubleshooting and know-how, but let's cover the basics to get you off to a good start to become an effective SharePoint Administrator.

There are 6 basic logs to review for daily operational issues:

SharePoint ULS

Typically, the log to watch is the SharePoint ULS log.  SharePoint records events in real time to this log for diagnostic and informational purposes.  Logging is controlled in Central Administration, under Monitoring -> Configure Diagnostic Logging.


Figure 1

Each category offers the ability to customize the level of logging.  Sometimes you will need to make an educated guess as to what category to increase logging on, other times it is obvious.  Event Level logging is for logging to the Event Log and Trace Level logging is for logging to the ULS log.  Errors presented to the users will have Correlation IDs.  These IDs will be unique on each occurrence (even though the underlying error may be identical).  Here is an example error:


Figure 2

By default, the ULS log is located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\\LOGS, where Version # is 12 (SharePoint 2007), 14 (SharePoint 2010), or 15 (SharePoint 2013).  While these logs can be opened with Notepad, in order to view them in real time, use the Microsoft ULS Viewer found at:

This is not the most fancy ULS viewer, others are available on CodePlex.com, but it is the one most Administrators will be familiar with.


Figure 3

With the ULS Viewer, you can easily search the active log file for a specific Correlation ID that is seen in SharePoint.

Another way to parse ULS logs is via PowerShell.  For example, if we have multiple servers in the SharePoint farm but do not know on which server the error occurred (say if you have multiple servers running the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application service), you can use PowerShell to merge the log files for a specific time period, correlation ID, process, diagnostic logging area, et cetera, then output the file to text, and then load it up in ULS Viewer or Notepad:

Merge-SPLogFile -Path C:\Logs\Output.log -StartTime 12:01 -EndTime 12:38 -Correlation "7133080c-7c95-44c3-af37-f9f8f1364b8b"

This will allow you to quickly narrow down issues between multiple servers in the farm in order to further diagnose the problem.

If you know the server the error is occurring on, but need to quickly find the correlation ID in the ULS logs, another PowerShell command may also be of help:

Get-SPLogEvent -StartTime 12:01 -EndTime 12:15 | where {$_.Correlation -eq "7133080c-7c95-44c3-af37-f9f8f1364b8b"} | fl

This operation can be CPU intensive.  It is strongly recommended to specify the StartTime and EndTime parameters (if applicable) to reduce the amount of parsing that needs to take place.

Application Event Log

The next logs to look for issues in are all present in the Event Viewer.  SharePoint will generally log most events listed in the previous Diagnostic Logging page in Central Administration to the Application Event Log.  Often times, these events will be identical to what is recorded in the ULS, but there are certainly cases where the log will only be recorded to the Application Event Log (and vice versa).  The Application Event Log has the advantage of being easier to parse without additional tools, as well.


Figure 4

System Event Log

The System Event Log will provide helpful information for not only services (SharePoint Administration, SPTImerV4, and so forth) but IIS as well.  For example, if the account running a SharePoint-related IIS Application Pool has been locked out, you may see an HTTP 503 message.  Immediately take a look at the System Event Log to uncover the reason behind HTTP 503 errors.  Other valuable messages in the System Event Log come from WAS sources.  These relate to IIS Application Pool recycling or other Application Pool-related events.


Figure 5

SharePoint Operational Event Log

SharePoint has its own Event Log.  This log is at Applications and Services Logs\Microsoft\SharePoint Products\Shared\Operational.  In general, this log has information about Incoming Email, Trace (ULS) log status, and InfoPath Forms Services.  The last one is critical for this log, as InfoPath Forms Services only logs correlation ID errors at this location.

For Event Logs, you can filter based on Log file and source type via PowerShell.  For example, to find all Sources of "SharePoint" within the Application Event Log, run:

Get-EventLog -LogName Application | where {$_.Source -like "*SharePoint*"}

This makes it easy to send the output to a text file for further review.  Filtering based on time is also helpful:

Get-EventLog -LogName Application -After "8/16/2013 13:30" | where {$_.Source -like "*SharePoint*"}

IIS Logs

IIS Logs are often used for validation that a client has connected to services or a site within SharePoint, and often the least useful for the day-to-day SharePoint Administrator.  IIS log files are located by default at C:\inetpub\logfiles.  IIS log files are written to disk every 5 minutes and by default in UTC format, so some translation between time zones is usually required.  There is another set of IIS logs called HTTPERR logs.  Like the System Event Log, these log files can also provide some useful information when an Application Pool fails.  By default, these log files are located at C:\Windows\System32\LogFiles\HTTPERR.

SQL Logs

Without SQL, there would be no SharePoint as we know it today.  SQL logging can often be important, from again the Event Log (Application Log will hold success and failed logins for SQL, for example) to SQL's own log, a file named ERRORLOG.  By default, the ERRORLOG file is located in the instance's directory, e.g. x:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Log.  This log will have SQL Server service startup information, database maintenance information, and errors as well (for example, if SQL failed to write data to disk).

The SharePoint Administrator has a lot of ground to cover in order to understand and resolve issues that crop up with day to day activity.  This article provides some of the basics for helping discover how find the errors in order to gather more information leading to a successful resolution of any issues encountered with SharePoint.

About Trevor Seward

Trevor Seward is a SharePoint Server MVP residing in Washington state USA. A community representative of SharePoint-Community.net, Trevor is also active on the Microsoft MSDN and TechNet SharePoint Server forums.  For more SharePoint articles visit Trevor's site at:

You can also follow him on Twitter at:

Send us feedback

Got feedback about anything in this newsletter? Let us know at [email protected]

Tip of the Week

Planning host processor and memory for Hyper-V hosts

Let's say you wanted to run two file servers and a Microsoft SQL Server database server on a single Hyper-V host in your datacenter. You've determined that the file servers will each require 2 virtual processors and 4 GB of RAM to perform as intended, while the database server will require 4 virtual processors and 12 GB of RAM for optimal performance. The total processor and memory requirements of your virtual machines will therefore be:

(2 x 2) + 4 = 8 virtual processors

(2 x 4) + 12 = 20 GB RAM

By including the minimum processor and memory requirements of the underlying host operating system plus room for growth, you might decide that a rack-mounted system with dual Intel Xeon E5-2430 processors and 24 GB of RAM can meet your needs. The Xeon E5-2430 is a 6-core processor, so two of them gives you 12 cores, which easily meets the requirements of 8 dedicated virtual processors needed by the virtual machines. And the 24 GB of RAM provides several GBs of RAM overhead on the host in case extra memory needs to be assigned to the database server workload

The above tip was excerpted from my book Training Guide: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 (Microsoft Press, 2012):

Recommended for Learning

Here are the seven most popular books on SharePoint 2013 according to Amazon:

Professional SharePoint 2013 Administration (Wrox)

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 App Development (Microsoft Press)

SharePoint 2013 - Planet of the Apps (Amazon Digital Services)

Rapid SharePoint 2013 Collaboration Solution Development and Deployment (CreateSpace)

Essential SharePoint 2013: Practical Guidance for Meaningful Business Results 3rd Edition (Addison-Wesley)

SharePoint 2013 Development - Professional Interactive Training (Pilothouse Consulting)

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Inside Out (Microsoft Press)

Quote of the Week

"To get what you want, STOP doing what isn't working." - Dennis Weaver

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.


Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

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Get Free Hyper-V Backup from Veeam! No expiration and no limit on the number of hosts or VMs.

Server performance problems? Find out why with FactFinder Express. See whether the issue is a slow app, slow SQL requests, or a CPU/Memory/Disk bottleneck. 30 day free trial.

Tired of re-imaging machines? Check out Deep Freeze from Faronics:

How to monitor your CPU temperature in Windows 7:


Events Calendar


Project Conference, 2014 on February 2-5 in Anaheim, California

Lync Conference 2014 on February 18-20, 2014 at The Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada

SharePoint Conference 2014 on March 3-6, 2014 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) coming in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.


European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain

Add your event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]


Webcast Calendar

Register for Webcasts

Add your Webcast

PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our subscribers about? Contact [email protected]


Tech Briefing

This section is organized topically by platform/product and provides you with links to tips, tools, information and other resources that can help you in your job role whether you're an IT professional or an IT decision-maker.  

Windows Server

Load balancing Remote Desktop Services Web Access & Gateway with KEMP Load Master for Azure (The Microsoft Platform)

ODX Speed Up VHDX Creation Times On Windows Server 2012 (R2) (Working Hard in IT)

BitLocker Recovery (Canadian IT Pro Connection)


Windows PowerShell

Dell announced the availability of vWorkspace PowerShell module beta (PowerShell Magazine)

Copy Active Directory group membership from user to user (Jeff Wouters's Blog)

#PSTip Tabify your Script (PowerShell Magazine)



Hyper-V CPU Compatibility Mode (Canadian IT Pro Connection)

System Center VMM 2012 R2 Bare Metal Deployment with Converged Fabric and Network Virtualization – Part 3 Logical Switch (Hyper-V.nu)

Virtual machine minimum bandwidth weight in a Format-Table output (Hyper-V.nu)


System Center

Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Compatibility (Canadian IT Pro Connection)

Microsoft Management Packs (TechNet Wiki)

System Center's MDM and BYOD Strategy (Redmond Magazine)


Windows Azure

Step-By-Step: Deploying Active Directory to Azure (Canadian IT Pro Connection)

These Windows Azure Infographics are Amazing Communication Tools! (Alexandre Brisebois)

Handling Cloud Service Role Configuration Changes in Windows Azure (Alexandre Brisebois)


Windows client

How to Work with Custom Views in the Event Viewer (iHackers)

10 Tips to Avoid Getting Adware (iHackers)

How to remove Windows.old folder (Elvis' Technical Blog)



We'd like to thank the following individuals for contributing items for this section from time to time:

Windows Server News

Preparing for the cloud: Understanding the infrastructure impacts

You may be eager to invest in the cloud, but are you operationally ready? Find out in this e-guide that offers insider advice on planning an effective cloud migration helping you to understand the necessary infrastructure preparation.

Running Windows Server on desktop hardware: Why do it?

There's nothing stopping you from installing a server edition of Windows on desktop hardware, but why would you want to do this, and will it run well? Hear what are experts are saying about the potential benefits of running Windows Server on a desktop.

The smart shopper's guide to virtualization and cloud management tools

As the role of software becomes more essential to the modern data center, it's crucial IT managers begin understanding how different types communicate and integrate. In this IT tip, we'll discuss integration among virtualization and cloud management tools, licensing policies, and how to choose a strategy that's right for your virtual environment.

What's old, what's new for the enterprise with the Windows 8.1 update

After all the hype, Windows 8 failed to meet IT expectations – especially in the enterprise. However, can Windows revive their latest OS with the 8.1 update? Uncover the top 7 features of Windows 8.1 that might entice businesses to reconsider an upgrade.


WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]


A hungry bear in Russia's eastern region of Kamchatka is asking motorists for food.

Golfers at a course in Verbier, Switzerland have had an unusual interruption to their games.

The C-130 Hercules holds the record for the largest and heaviest aircraft ever to land on an aircraft carrier.

Seems that cats besides everything else love sports.  Playing ping pong is one of their favorite activities.

Boaters in Pensacola Bay, Florida were in for a thrill ride, when a waterspout formed right in front of their boat. Instead of turning the other way, they followed it.

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Altaro Hyper-V Backup – Free for WServerNews subscribers – SEP/OCT 2013

Make backing up and restoring Hyper-V VMs easy to manage and get rid of one worry you don’t need. Less hassle, more time left and Free for WServerNews subscribers.

Download your copy now!


WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com