Upgrade Win7 beta’s to RTM

MS won’t let you do it, doesn’t mean you can’t.



Sharepoint 2007: Error during encryption or decryption (system error code 997)

I created a MOSS 2007 farm for a project the other day and today the developers come back and say there are all sorts of errors on the server.  Yay.  I tried a few things then decided to pull the WFE’s out of the farm and re-join them.  Then I got this error;

Failed to connect to the configuration database.

An exception of type System.ArgumentException was thrown.  Additional exception information: Error during encryption or decryption. System error code 997.

That’s weird, the farm account has the appropriate permissions to the database server – what’s going on.  A little Google came up with this from Microsoft (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927156);

This issue occurs if the Network Service account is used as the farm account. In this situation, when you remove Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 from a stand-alone farm, or when you remove SharePoint Server 2007 from a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 farm environment, the following registry subkey that is used to encrypt passwords that are contained in the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 configuration database (configdb) is deleted:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\12.0\Secure\ FarmAdmin\

Therefore, when you try to join a Web application that exists in the configuration database that does not use the Network Service account, the Web application account credentials cannot be decrypted. This occurs because the required registry subkey is deleted.

The fix?

To work around this issue, run Psconfig.exe at the command line to create a new Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 configuration database. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. At the command line, change to the following directory:
    \Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\BIN
  3. At the command prompt, type the following command to create a new configuration database:
    psconfig -cmd configdb -create -server ServerName -database ConfigDBName -user Domain\User -password Password
  4. Rerun the SharePoint Products and Technologies Wizard.

These instructions fix the issue but since there hadn’t been much work done in the environment already, I just created a new farm.  Fresh 🙂

Hyper-V: Remote Server Administration from Vista

If you are sick of double-hopping (remote desktoping to the Hyper-V server) to manage the virtual machines you have running, you can now install the “Hyper-V Remote Management Update for Windows Vista” feature by going here


NTP: Configuring for external time sync

Not sure how this happened, but one of our client’s domains was running about 23 minutes ahead of time.  Short of it having a flux-capacitor this needed to be fixed;

NB: Thanks to the very informative article at Microsoft (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816042) and Windows Networking (http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Configuring-Windows-Time-Service.html)

Open up regedit on the PDC and navigate to;

  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters\Type

This is the how the time service should be updated, change this to NTP (for sync’ing externally) NT5DS will check the server’s own CMOS clock.

  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config\AnnounceFlags

Change this from 10 to 5.

  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters\NtpServer

Now this is your source of time.  I use pool.ntp.org,0x1 (note the 0x1 is required when you use the DNS name);  if using IP address (in this case pool.ntp.org), you can use

Then restart your W32Time service;  updates can take up to an hour so you can force update by using 

  • w32tm /resync /rediscover

Then just double-check your eventlogs and ensure that are no errors/warnings.

SQL 2005: Enabling ‘Agents XPs’

Sometimes, in haste, you install SQL a little too fast and miss installing a feature you actually need.  Case in point, today I built a new SQL 2005 Server and attempted to create a new maintenance plan – ERROR.

“‘Agent XPs component is turned off as part of the security configuration for this server”

So instead of reinstalling SQL, there is a simple script fix which I found here (http://www.treeratfishing.com/2008/01/15/enabling-agent-xps-on-sql-2005/

  • sp_configure ‘show advanced options’, 1;
  • GO
  • GO
  • sp_configure ‘Agent XPs’, 1;
  • GO
  • GO

You can now create Maintenance Plans.

Windows 7 beta: Nvidia graphics corruption on multiple displays

We use Dell XPS1330 laptops in our environment so these bad-boys come with Nvidia 8400GT cards. 

When installing Windows7 beta (build 7000) to a system with an Nvidia graphics card, the default graphics driver installs.  To update this, Nvidia recommend you update the driver via Windows Update (http://www.nvidia.com/object/windows_7.html) this installs the 179.23 driver 

The problem with this driver is that it corrupts the display (not sure if it’s restricted to single or multiple displays;  we use multiple). 

Control Panel corrupt

Transparency broken

To fix this annoying problem, there are more recent drivers available (179.28) from Nvidia’s site (http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us), that resolve the issue. I have Win7 x64, so used the Vista x64 ones.

The advantage to downloading the Nvidia ones is that they also install Cuda/Physx.

Changing the default language/locale SQL 2005

We had this problem in a dev environment the other day.  The developers decided to tell us after we’d installed and configured SQL and the SharePoint farm they needed to change the language settings of SQL because they were trying to input dates in dd/mm/yyyy (United Kingdom format), and by default SQL is setup with mm/dd/yyyy (US format).

It’s quite a simple fix, stop all SQL services, open up regedit and in the following areas change Language from 1033 to 2057 (decimal)

  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\ClientSetup\CurrentVersion
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\Setup
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\Setup
  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQLServer\CurrentVersion

This will change the DEFAULT INSTANCE ONLY.  If you have other instances, change MSSQL.1 to MSSQL.2/etc for them.  To verify, run the following;

  • SET Language British
  • select @@Language, @@Langid

This should return the value British 23.  In the Properties of the SQL Instance in Management Studio, you will see;

English (United Kingdom)

English (United Kingdom)