Resetting Lost Permissions in Project Server 2010

I came across an unexplained issue recently with an ‘old’ Project Server 2010 customer, in short what happened was many of the permissions across the Project workspace sites were lost. Unfortunately the loss was triggered by performing a Playbooks (2010 version) backup of the server configuration which was even more concerning, considering that is such a commonly used tool.

In short we needed a way to restore all of the workspace site permissions to what they should be, without having to manually action each site.


Some background:

As it turns out Project Server 2010 has (once again) drastically changed the way that workspace site permissions are managed, fortunately changed for the better as now the behaviour is something like this:

  1. On first publish or creation of the workspace all appropriate users are granted permissions based on their group memberships and if they are a member of the project team. (Just as it previously worked)
  2. Subsequent publish jobs trigger another ‘Workspace Create’ job which now only adds new permissions but does not remove any existing ones, such as when a new team member is added to the plan. (This is similar to 2007 SP2)
  3. Active Directory Sync jobs trigger a permissions sync which acts just like #2.

The big differences are the following:

  1. During the sync NO permissions are removed. Thus correcting the old situation where an AD sync during business hours could result temporary permission losses.
  2. Manually changed permissions at the SharePoint level are respected. For instance if you remove a particular user from a SharePoint site, Project Server will not add it back in either of the standard permissions sync jobs above.


The Solution: To Restore All Permissions

As you may have found for yourself due to the new behaviour if a user is deleted from the SharePoint site, re-publishing a project will no longer fix the permissions. As such a new solution was needed in my case where permissions were lost across all sites:

  1. Create a new Project Server group containing all users.
  2. Assign My Organisation Category to that group.
  3. Assign Permission ‘View Project Site’ to My Organisation category.
  4. Save the new group (and wait for queue jobs to complete).
  5. Once confirmed permissions working delete the group (and again wait for the queue).

This will force a full refresh of the workspace site permissions across all users and all sites. Due the the new method of handling permissions it will only add each user with a minimum of ‘Reader’ unless they have another group which applies like Project Manager or Administrator, once you complete step 5 those unnecessary Readers will be removed, leaving only the correct permissions.



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Multi-tenancy and Project Server and PerformancePoint 2010

Update 21/01/2011: Update below regarding Excel Services and Multi-tenancy!

One of the exciting new features of SharePoint 2010 is multi-tenancy, if you’re working in hosted or shared environments then it is no less than a must-have feature.

Unfortunately in the real world of software nothing is perfect at RTM, and this would have to be one of those cases!

In short neither Project Server or PerformancePoint appear to support multi-tenancy in SharePoint 2010, it would seem that the feature has yet to be fully implemented for either service application, however the situation is not as bad as you might fear.


Project Server in a multi-tenanted environment

Firstly although Project Server does not accept any subscription related parameters when provisioning a new instance using PowerShell or the Central Admin, it does appear to work in a tenanted environment. Basically the fact that any provisioned PWA site is a site collection of its own means that once you have provisioned your PWA instance you can use the following PowerShell command to associate your PWA site collection with your tenant subscription:

Set-SpSite $PWASiteUrl -SiteSubscription $subscription

More good news is that once provisioned a PWA instance is able to communicate with other service applications belonging to the same subscription. Most importantly: Secure Store Service. Without that Excel Services wouldn’t work!

All is not good though, especially if you like to use the full feature set of the 2010 product, read on..


PerformancePoint in a multi-tenanted environment

This is where the news gets bad, it would appear that PerformancePoint in 2010 does not support multi-tenancy at all, it actually doesn’t appear to respect tenant subscriptions and so as a result you might end up with errors like the following when attempting to run Dashboard Designer or configuring the service application unattended account;

w3wp.exe (0x04E4)        0x0ED8        Secure Store Service        Secure Store        7557        Critical        The Secure Store Service application Secure Store Service Proxy is not accessible. The full exception text is: Access is denied.        adfdd2a3-b6e5-4d92-8c5e-5a44fd821969

w3wp.exe (0x04E4)        0x0ED8        Secure Store Service        Secure Store        d9ld        Unexpected        Unexpected exception from endpoint address

w3wp.exe (0x04E4)        0x0ED8        Secure Store Service        Secure Store        d9le        Unexpected        Logging unknown/unexpected client side exception: SecurityAccessDeniedException. This will cause this application server to be removed from the load balancer queue. Exception: System.ServiceModel.Security.SecurityAccessDeniedException: Access is denied

Some searching will lead you to a number of sources talking about the lack of a Master Key being created in the Secure Store which is most certainly the cause of the issue, unfortunately it appears that in the case where your Secure Store is created with tenancy enabled PerformancePoint is unable to see the Secure Store service application (and thus unable to retrieve the master key)!

Some deep reading led me to some TechNet articles detailing the requirements for PerformancePoint (sorry can’t find the link ATM), basically PPS requires that a Secure Store Service Application exists in the default proxy group, and as I’ve found that app also cannot be tenanted.

Fortunately this can also be worked around, maintaining a non-tenanted default Secure Store app dedicated to PPS does not as I see it introduce any security implications, in particular as you will have to provision a separate PPS service for each tenant in your farm (thus losing much of the benefits of multi-tenancy).


All I can say on this one is that I can’t wait for SP1 for PPS, maybe then we’ll even be able to name our databases and lose that BETA PowerShell command line syntax? :)


Update 21/01/2011:

See the following blog for information on how Excel Services impacts the above configurations!

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Claims: Exception occurred issuing a security token

With a large customer going live on a fully multi-tenanted claims authenticated platform in the last month I’ve had the chance to really see the limits of these two new features in SharePoint 2010. This issue was one of the big impact problems that I’m hoping that I’ve now found the solution to, so with that in mind it’s definitely worth sharing.


After a few days of working normally claims authentication stops working unexpectedly on any given server in the farm, the below errors are logged.

Event Logs

Log Name: Application

Source: Microsoft-SharePoint Products-SharePoint Foundation

Event ID: 8306

Task Category: Claims Authentication

Level: Error


An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: The server was unable to process the request due to an internal error. For more information about the error, either turn on IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults (either from ServiceBehaviorAttribute or from the <serviceDebug> configuration behavior) on the server in order to send the exception information back to the client, or turn on tracing as per the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 SDK documentation and inspect the server trace logs..

Log Name: Application

Source: Microsoft-SharePoint Products-SharePoint Foundation

Event ID: 8306

Task Category: Claims Authentication

Level: Error


An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: The security token username and password could not be validated..

Log Name: Application

Source: Microsoft-Windows-User Profiles Service

Event ID: 1511

Task Category: None

Level: Error


Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile. Changes you make to this profile will be lost when you log off.

ULS Logs:

01/04/2011 13:38:52.17        w3wp.exe (0x037C)        0x0660        SharePoint Server        Shared Services        olgq        Exception       System.Runtime.InteropServices
.COMException (0x800703FA): Illegal operation attempted on a registry key that has been marked for deletion. at System.DirectoryServices.DirectoryEntry.Bind(…      

01/04/2011 13:38:52.17        w3wp.exe (0x0554)        0x0F30        SharePoint Foundation        Claims Authentication        8306        Critical        An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: The security token username and password could not be validated..       



The third the Event log error above I included as although it is one that you often see, it was the message that eventually led me to the what looks like the source of this issue, with that combined with the “registry key that has been marked for” message in the ULS I was lead to the following DCOM blog:

A COM+ application may stop working on Windows Server 2008 when the identity user logs off


It seems that the Claims provider breaks when for some reason or other the App Pool account logs off unexpectedly, the solution (at least after 2 weeks with no reoccurrence) is as suggested in the above blog;

As a workaround it may be necessary to disable this feature which is the default behavior. The policy setting ‘Do not forcefully unload the user registry at user logoff’ counters the default behavior of Windows 2008. When enabled, Windows 2008 does not forcefully unload the registry and waits until no other processes are using the user registry before it unloads it.

The policy can be found in the group policy editor (gpedit.msc)
Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System-> UserProfiles
Do not forcefully unload the user registry at user logoff

Change the setting from “Not Configured” to “Enabled”, which disables the new User Profile Service feature.

‘DisableForceUnload’ is the value added to the registry


I’ll update this blog entry if the problem comes back.

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SQL Reporting Services Integration Errors

When trying to configure the SQL Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint 2010 from Central Admin you might see the following error:


(Error Text: Failed to establish connection with report server. Verify the server URL is correct or review ULS logs for more information. …)

Most common cause: Kerberos

There are actually a few causes for this, and usually the ULS will show the reason pretty clearly, for instance most commonly I see the following:

w3wp.exe (0x11E4)        0x1460 SQL Server Reporting Services SOAP Client Proxy  0000 High Exception encountered for SOAP method GetSystemProperties: System.Net.WebException: The request failed with HTTP status 401: Unauthorized

In that case the cause is likely to be related to Kerberos, if you’re using Windows Authentication mode and have multiple servers in the SharePoint farm then that is where you should look. A good test to prove that is if it works without error using ‘Trusted Authentication’.


Alternate cause: SSL

However recently I have found a new type of issue that causes this, here’s the ULS extract;

An operation failed because the following certificate has validation errors:nnSubject Name: CN=*, [… … snip … …]nnErrors:nn The root of the certificate chain is not a trusted root authority..

In this case the ULS log is very helpful indeed as it seems that SharePoint maintains its own certificate store which does not contain any of the usual certificates.

So the solution to this one is quite easy, you simply need to obtain and install the appropriate certificate.

With credits to this blog Calling an SSL Web Service from SharePoint 2010 (For example LinkedIn) you can download the certificates directly from Verisign:

In my case it was the GeoTrust certificate, if you’re not sure then view the certificate by clicking the Padlock icon in IE and under Certification Path you can view the certificate hierarchy to determine who your root certificate is.

Once you have your certificate then open Central Admin, and under Security – Manage Trust add the certificate using New. It should then look something like this:


Once that’s done go back to the SSRS integration and you should now hopefully be able to complete the integration without further errors.


Final Thoughts

This SSRS integration has always had problems in my experience, all that I can suggest if you are still having issues is double check:

  • SQL Reporting Services 2008 should be installed with Service Pack 2 (or SP1 with CU8)
  • SQL Reporting Services 2008 R2 in my experience works without any updates, however you might like to try the latest patches: both SSRS and the SharePoint add-in are updated in SQL 2008 R2 CU4 (

Hope that helps someone out there!

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Error saving projects to Project Server 2010 from 2007 client

This is probably the first major impact 2010 issue I’ve experienced, not the first issue let’s be clear, but the one causing significant impact to at least two of my major customers who are now well into production.


For no apparent reason when attempting to Save a project from Microsoft Project Professional 2007 to the Project Server 2010 the following error is displayed:


(Text for Google: The file cannot be opened. … Project files saved in a version earlier than Microsoft Project 98 can’t be opened. If your file is from an earlier version … save in MPX format …)


After selecting Ok, any subsequent attempts to save report the following error:


(Text: An unexpected error occurred during command execution.)


This problem ONLY occurs with Project 2007 client version and attempting to open and save the file in Project 2010 will work as expected. Also it’s worth noting that once the error appears on one client, all clients will be unable to save the project.

Finally it is definitely not related to legacy projects, I have seen it occur on a test dozen line project based on a blank template.



Unknown at this stage, although it is definitely some sort of corruption, likely in the Resource Sheet which can be proved by deleting all resources and resaving which will work immediately! It seems that the 2010 client has better error handling / correcting or perhaps that the 2007 client is introducing some errors!



We’ve (as in we at EPM Partners) have spent many hours on this issue with Microsoft as it seriously impacted one of Microsoft’s largest Asia-Pac 2010 customers, in the end with the support of a Microsoft PFE (onsite engineer) a resolution was found in the yet-to-be-released beta October Cumulative Update for Project Pro 2007.

So there is light at the end of the tunnel, however the problem is not yet closed, so far with over a week of testing post-cu this issue hasn’t reoccurred, but this is definitely one to watch out for!

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