SharePoint 2016 MinRoles – Behind the scenes and where the C2WTS should be provisioned

This issue is still under investigation – current I think this issue occurs, when SharePoint is installed, followed by a Language Pack and then the creation of the farm. Checking the compliance status of the min role at this particular time will result in a not compliant state.

Microsoft introduced with SharePoint 2016 a new feature called “MinRoles”. MinRoles offer a new way on how to create SharePoint topologies. The following MinRoles are available:

  • Front-End
    A role made for all loads in context of serving SharePoint
  • Application
    This role is optimized for all services that need to run in a SharePoint Farm – without the Search loads
  • Distributed Cache
    Hosting the Distributed cache service
  • Search
    All services associated to the search load of SharePoint
  • Custom
    This role is needed if you plan on using Business Intelligence loads, as they are not pat of the other MinRoles
  • Single-Server farm

In October 2016 Microsoft release Feature Pack 1 (FP1) for SharePoint 2016. The FP1 offers two new MinRoles (MinRolesV2):

  • Front-end with Distributed Cache
  • Application with Search

These two roles combine the prior roles, so that customers can create high available (HA) farms for SharePoint with less servers. Prior to FP1 you did need at least two servers of (each) role: 2 WFE, 2 App, 2 Search, 2 Distributed Cache. In total 8 servers. After you install FP1 you can switch to the combined min roles and will be able to create a SharePoint HA Farm with 4 servers instead. This offering focuses on SharePoint customers with HA requirements, but not enough workload for hosting 8 SharePoint servers.

With each MinRole a set of services can be run on a server. SharePoint 2016 enforces the state of these services. For a complete list of all services that belong to a role, visit the technet documentation.

Behind the scenes

New “Services in Farm” experience in Central Administration

The following screenshot shows the “Services in Farm” page of SharePoint 2016 Central Administration:

Services on Server on SharePoint 2016

A soon as any MinRole is defined the Services on Server page will show the selected servers role and for each service the status and its compliance state. SharePoint offers you some options:

  • you can stop a service
  • you can fix a non-compliant state of a service with one click

Where does this MinRole compliance information come from?

In a recent customer engagement I stumbled across something, that bothered me. The customers SharePoint Farm uses MinRolesV2 and I did check the Microsoft Documentation for wich services are allowed on the server. After a while I had a service in a not compliant state and did not know why. I reached out to the community, but did not end up, with a define answer:

Today I spend some time with the SharePoint source code and did find the answer:

SharePoint Service instances are represented by the SPServiceInstance class. Every SharePoint Service Instance (e.g. SPWindowsTokenServiceInstance) derives from this class and overrides the following method:

 // Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPServiceInstance
 public virtual bool ShouldProvision(SPServerRole serverRole)

There is a additional internal method: ShouldProvisionInternal, which does some additional the tests for the following roles:

  • SPServerRole.WebFrontEndWithDistributedCache
  • SPServerRole.ApplicationWithSearch

When your server is of the roles above, the ShouldProvision method will be called with both single roles and the combined role. If any of these tests returns true, then this role is compliant.

Not knowing, whether the documentation  is wrong or the code, I did investigated the SPWindowsTokenServiceInstance code.

  // Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Claims.SPWindowsTokenServiceInstance
 public override bool ShouldProvision(SPServerRole serverRole)
     return SPServerRole.SingleServerFarm == serverRole || SPServerRole.Application == serverRole || SPServerRole.WebFrontEnd == serverRole || (SPServerRole.DistributedCache == serverRole && !SPServerRoleManager.IsMinRoleV2Enabled()) || (SPServerRole.Search == serverRole && !SPServerRoleManager.IsMinRoleV2Enabled()) || SPServerRole.Custom == serverRole;

The implementation above, does not include tests for the MinRolesV2 – but the non V2 roles are introduced through the ShouldProvisionInternal method anyway. Following this, there is no error in the code or the documentation. This applies for the Microsoft.SharePoint.dll in Version: 16.0.4561.1000

So what is wrong with my farm (Januar CU 2018):

 // Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Claims.SPWindowsTokenServiceInstance
 public override bool ShouldProvision(SPServerRole serverRole)
     if (SPServerRole.SingleServerFarm != serverRole && SPServerRole.Application != serverRole && SPServerRole.WebFrontEnd != serverRole && (SPServerRole.DistributedCache != serverRole || SPServerRoleManager.IsMinRoleV2Enabled()) && (SPServerRole.Search != serverRole || SPServerRoleManager.IsMinRoleV2Enabled()))
         return SPServerRole.Custom == serverRole;
     return true;

The code above is taken from a Microsoft.SharePoint.dll in File Version: 16.0.4639.1002

This means the current documentation does not reflect the code properly. In case, that I read the code properly, the the only allowed role to host C2WTS with the MinRoleV2 is the Custom role.

Conclusion: There is a drift in the documentation. When I’m not mistaken, I do not need the C2WTS in a non-BI enabled farm. The BI enabled farm does need a MinRole Server “Custom” to run reporting services and other roles. This answers why, the C2WTS is no longer allowed in any other role. Maybe someone should update the documentation…

Update 2018-03-23:

I did double check the code of the ShouldProvisionInternal and ShouldProvision methods and have a strong believe, that there is something wrong to determine the MinRole compliance. Find below a screenshot of what I think the returns should be, but somehow are not!

Expected return values for the ShouldProvisionInternal method

Following this code: The result should be that the MinRoleV2 ApplicationWithSearch should be able to run the Claims to Windows Token service.

I really hope, someone can me help me to figure this out. Is there any part, I do not read correctly?


SharePoint 2016 – Central Administration – ScriptResource.axd 404 error

Recently my colleague and I came across a SharePoint2016 Farm, that had some issues with the suitebar not loading. In the network trace we found a 404 error for the ScriptResource.axd request. Using the event viewer we came across the following error message:

Event code: 3012
Event message: An error occurred processing a web or script resource request. The requested resource 'ZSystem.Web.Extensions,,,31bf3856ad364e35|MicrosoftAjax.js|' does not exist or there was a problem loading it. 
Event time: 21.03.2018 09:57:57
Event time (UTC): 21.03.2018 08:57:57
Event ID: 59637ef8b92b43b59cadfd4b3ce61619 Event sequence: 7 Event occurrence: 1 Event detail code: 0 
Application information: 
 Application domain: /LM/W3SVC/275657850/ROOT-1-131660962662183250 
 Trust level: Full 
 Application Virtual Path: / 
 Application Path: C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\4432\ 
 Machine name: SERVERNAME 
Process information: 
 Process ID: 6916 
 Process name: w3wp.exe 
 Account name: ***\***** 
Exception information: 
 Exception type: ZLibException 
 Exception message: The underlying compression routine could not be loaded correctly.
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflaterZLib.DeflateInit(CompressionLevel compressionLevel, Int32 windowBits, Int32 memLevel, CompressionStrategy strategy)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflaterZLib..ctor(CompressionLevel compressionLevel)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflateStream.CreateDeflater(Nullable`1 compressionLevel)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflateStream..ctor(Stream stream, CompressionMode mode, Boolean leaveOpen)
 at System.IO.Compression.GZipStream..ctor(Stream stream, CompressionMode mode)
 at System.Web.Handlers.ScriptResourceHandler.ProcessRequestInternal(HttpResponseBase response, String decryptedString, VirtualFileReader fileReader)
 at System.Web.Handlers.ScriptResourceHandler.ProcessRequest(HttpContextBase context, VirtualFileReader fileReader, Action`2 logAction, Boolean validatePath)

The type initializer for 'NativeZLibDLLStub' threw an exception.
 at System.IO.Compression.ZLibNative.ZLibStreamHandle.DeflateInit2_(CompressionLevel level, Int32 windowBits, Int32 memLevel, CompressionStrategy strategy)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflaterZLib.DeflateInit(CompressionLevel compressionLevel, Int32 windowBits, Int32 memLevel, CompressionStrategy strategy)

Access is denied. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED))
 at System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHRInternal(Int32 errorCode, IntPtr errorInfo)
 at System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHR(Int32 errorCode, IntPtr errorInfo)
 at System.IO.Compression.ZLibNative.ZLibStreamHandle.NativeZLibDLLStub.LoadZLibDLL()
 at System.IO.Compression.ZLibNative.ZLibStreamHandle.NativeZLibDLLStub..cctor()

Request information: 
 Request URL: http://SERVERNAME:10000/ScriptResource.axd?d=8QMyovunFMoY381OpYQyz9XcLkCjJ_XuifoGDX5Q8vatF2gNXkCNXfW0-6Dz_mvZVHapsY1FH-l9zy2l3q3V1Z5dqWndvspmAcN7L1hB-UomBeamTvhHGIe5ZcW_f-DqtS3ymyGl5Bk-ybE1j6mAb8ZMhM8n4e_WwQEe8IkCMRsq_DHxVXNP720ZZXWT1ATa0&t=ffffffffad4b7194 
 Request path: /ScriptResource.axd 
 User host address: ***SERVERNAME 
 Is authenticated: False 
 Authentication Type: 
 Thread account name: NT AUTHORITY\IUSR 
Thread information: 
 Thread ID: 20 
 Thread account name: NT AUTHORITY\IUSR 
 Is impersonating: False 
 Stack trace: at System.IO.Compression.DeflaterZLib.DeflateInit(CompressionLevel compressionLevel, Int32 windowBits, Int32 memLevel, CompressionStrategy strategy)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflaterZLib..ctor(CompressionLevel compressionLevel)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflateStream.CreateDeflater(Nullable`1 compressionLevel)
 at System.IO.Compression.DeflateStream..ctor(Stream stream, CompressionMode mode, Boolean leaveOpen)
 at System.IO.Compression.GZipStream..ctor(Stream stream, CompressionMode mode)
 at System.Web.Handlers.ScriptResourceHandler.ProcessRequestInternal(HttpResponseBase response, String decryptedString, VirtualFileReader fileReader)
 at System.Web.Handlers.ScriptResourceHandler.ProcessRequest(HttpContextBase context, VirtualFileReader fileReader, Action`2 logAction, Boolean validatePath)

After several hours of a nerve-wracking search for a solution, we came across this blog by Mike Lee . He saw the same issue and did find a solution. In the end we did change some additional GPO settings (Replace a process level token) for our application pool accounts.

In the first place we were in the search for FIPS settings, as there are many results in google pointing in that direction. We did:

  • Disable FIPS in the registry
  • Changed the GPO that got applied to this server
  • Tried the GZIP compression using a console application.

These settings did not help. Thanks to Mike Lee we were able to resolve this issue.

AutoSpInstaller XML to SharePointDsc Converter – Preview – Update 2018/04/19

Today the first preview of a web based AutoSpInstaller to SharePoint DSC converter got released.

There are still some limitations, as the mapping of the xml file to SharePointDsc is not complete jet. This is a preview to demonstrate the capabilities.

The converter targets the following use case:

As a user with an AutoSpInstaller XML available I want want to switch to SharePointDsc.

Currently the converter is able to create a multi node SharePoint DSC configuration based on the input of the contents of the AutoSPInstaller XML file. The configuration will contain the following elements:

  • one node block for each server name. If you are using localhost mixed with real server names, there will be an additional node for localhost.
    • On each node the following configuration is placed:
      • SQLAliases
      • SharePoint Prerequistes
      • SharePoint Binary Installation
      • Farm create or join
  • The following components are currently extracted from the AutoSPInstaller xml file:
    • Basic Farm setup
    • Managed Accounts
    • Web Applications
    • Site Collections
    • Managed Paths
    • Diagnostics Logging Service
    • State Service Application
    • Sandboxed Code Service
    • Claims to Windows Token Service
    • Outgoing Mail
    • Distributed Cache
    • Workflow Timer Setting
  • Update 2018/04/19 – There are the following additions:
    • Creation of Application Pools for Web Applications, Search, Serivces
    • User Profile Service Application
    • Search Service Application
    • Managed Metadata Service Application

SharePoint 2016 base language and language packs

All over the world there are customers that want to install and use SharePoint in their preferred language (official language, e.g. in Germany it’s German). I can fully understand the backgrounds of this wish:

  • Not every employee speaks English
  • Not every administrator speaks English
  • Adopting a new System is easier, when it’s in the mother tongue.

The SharePoint 2016 sources are available in the following 24 languages. Additionally, there are the following 49 language packs:

Language Source Language Language Pack
Arabic x x
Azerbaijani x
Basque x
Bosnian x
Bulgarian x
Catalan x
Chinese – Simplified x x
Chinese – Traditional x x
Croatian x
Czech x x
Danish x x
Dari x
Dutch x x
English x x
Estonian x
Finnish x x
French x x
Galician x
German x x
Greek x x
Hebrew x x
Hindi x
Hungarian x x
Indonesian x
Irish x
Italian x x
Japanese x x
Kazakh x
Korean x x
Latvian x
Lithuanian x
Macedonian x
Malay x
Norwegian-Bokmal x x
Polish x x
Portuguese-Brazil x x
Portuguese-Portugal x x
Romanian x
Russian x x
Serbian x
Slovak x
Slovenian x
Spanish x x
Swedish x x
Thai x x
Turkish x x
Ukrainian x
Vietnamese x
Welsh x

There are many possible variations of base language and language packs.

I tend to install SharePoint with the Englisch Sources and prefer to install Language Packs afterwards!

The reason behind this philosophy: “Keep it simple!”

Working every day with different SharePoint farms can be challenging if the language of the SharePoint logs vary or the PowerShell commands do need to be modified to match the installed SharePoint language.

The tools available focus on English SharePoint sources:

…and I prefer Central Administration to be in English. The german translation does not feelt right 😉

What’s the best way to figure out the base language and the installed Language Packs?

I use the following PowerShell Script to figre out the base language and the installed Language Packs:

#Requires -RunAsAdministrator
function Get-SharePointLanguages
$baseLanguageKey = Get-Item 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\16.0\ServerLanguage'
$baseLanguageValue = $baseLanguageKey.Property
if($null -ne $baseLanguageValue -and $baseLanguageValue.Count -eq 1)
$baseLanguageCulture = New-Object System.Globalization.CultureInfo([int]$baseLanguageValue[0])
Write-Host "SharePoint base language:" ForegroundColor Green
Write-Host $($baseLanguageCulture.DisplayName)
$languagePackKey = Get-Item 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\16.0\InstalledLanguages'
if($null -ne $languagePackKey)
Write-Host "SharePoint Language Packs:" ForegroundColor Green
$languagePackKey.Property | ForEach-Object Process {
$languagePackCulture = New-Object System.Globalization.CultureInfo([int]$_)
Write-Host $languagePackCulture.DisplayName
Export-ModuleMember Function Get-*



Matomo (Piwik) and SharePoint – Tracking on Sites with Minimal Download Strategy or Search

Using Matomo (Piwik) with SharePoint can be very straight forward. There is no need to install any extension for SharePoint or any .wsp solution. All you need is Piwik installation and some lines of JavaScript in a file and a bit of PnP PowerShell.

Piwik offers you a default JavaScript snippet that allows you to track a user on your web site. The default code will somehow look like this:

var _paq = _paq || [];
/* tracker methods like "setCustomDimension" should be called before "trackPageView" */
(function () {
	var u = "//";
	_paq.push(['setTrackerUrl', u + 'piwik.php']);
	_paq.push(['setSiteId', '1']);
	var d = document, g = d.createElement('script'), s = d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
	g.type = 'text/javascript';
	g.async = true;
	g.defer = true;
	g.src = u + 'piwik.js';
	s.parentNode.insertBefore(g, s);
})();<span id="mce_SELREST_start" style="overflow:hidden;line-height:0;">&#65279;</span>

As soon as you save this JavaScript code in file, you can get started with SharePoint tracking with the following steps:

  1. Upload this file to your SharePoint Root Site Collection and place it in the Style Library (Why? Regularly I use this lib as a on-premises CDN)
  2. Make sure the file is accessible
  3. Create a Script Link in the Site Collection you want to track.

For step 3 You can use the following PowerShell code to add a script link to your site collection:

Connect-PnPOnline -CurrentCredentials -Url
Add-PnPJavaScriptLink -Name SpPiwik -Url "/Style Library/SpPiwik.js" -Sequence 900 -Scope Site

With this setting you can track a user and gain basic insights about his flow through your website. The data you are gaining by now is very basic and there are some SharePoint only specialties:

Read More »

Microsoft Identity Manager and (several) SharePoint Management Agents

With Microsoft Identity Manager and SharePoint 2016 Microsoft changed the way on how to synchronize user profiles between Active Directory and SharePoint 2016. SharePoint 2010 and 2013 did integrate the Forefront Identity Manager (FIM).

In the past I had many problems with FIM. Sometimes the FIM Service did not start or was stuck starting. Some other times the sync did not synchronize….

I really like the idea of having an independent server that manages the sync of user profiles. I installed Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) on an extra server.

Microsoft offers a toolset on GitHub to configure MIM with SharePoint 2016. Sadly, Microsoft does not process the pull requests…

A few weeks ago, I had the need to configure one MIM with several SharePoint Farms.
Trevor obviously had the same need:

Are there any prerequisites?


Microsoft released several MIM versions:

  • First Release – Version 4.3.2064
    • Service Pack 1  – Version 4.4.1237
  • MIM with Service Pack 1 – Version 4.4.1302

Before you go any further, make sure to have the latest MIM 2016 SP1 RTM installed. This will be the prerequisite for any further patching.

Also make sure to download MIM toolset from: MIM toolset and patch the PowerShell Module with Trevor’s or mine PRs or download my modified module (see further down). Otherwise you won’t be able to run the configuration with the latest version of MIM.

How to configure the toolset for MIM to create (several) SPMAs?

The toolset for MIM comes with a PowerShell Module “SharePointSync.psm1”. We will have to do some modifications to this file to configure (multiple) SharePoint Management Agents.

Read More »

SharePoint Distributed Cache 101

In the last time I have seen many SharePoint Farms (2013 and 2016) on which the distributed cache was not in a healthy state or not available at all.

Before you start with any configuration make yourself familiar with distributed cache:



Distributed Cache – Cheat Sheet

The distributed cache is one of the service applications you should not configure via the central administration. So, start your PowerShell as administrator! 😉

I will update this post regular, as there is always something “new”.


Get (all) Distributed Cache Service instances

Get-SPServiceInstance | ? {$_.TypeName -eq "Distributed Cache"}

To get the service instance on a specific server (In this case: the current one). Run this command.

Read More »

Visio Web Access Part not working

From a user’s point of view: I really like the Visio Services in SharePoint 2016
From an administrator’s view: finding the source of an error in Visio Services can be a real pain!

Failed to get raster diagram for Visio file: Default Page ID Exception

The error for the user is not very helpful:

Visio Services was unable to display the requested page because it does not exist within this Web Drawing. To resolve this issue, make sure to request a page that exists within this Web Drawing.

The error message in the ULS log – nah:

Failed to get raster diagram for visio file https:///.vsdx page default page ID Exception : System.ServiceModel.FaultException`1[Microsoft.Office.Visio.Server.GraphicsServer.VisioGraphicsServiceFault]: The creator of this fault did not specify a Reason. (Fault Detail is equal to Microsoft.Office.Visio.Server.GraphicsServer.VisioGraphicsServiceFault).

I was able to open the document in Visio 2016 and everything looked fine. I compared this file to another, which rendered fine. The difference was very hard to spot: The heading of the tab displayed was italic and not regular as in the good file.

An italic tab name indicates, that this is a background page and not a regular page. After changing the page type, everything worked as expected.

SQL Server 2016 Power Pivot for SharePoint 2016 Health Rules – is not installed

In a SharePoint 2016 Farm with Power pivot health rules will fail with the following error:

Power Pivot: ADOMD.NET is not installed on a standalone WFE that is configured 
for central admin

Trevor Seward  wrote a great article on this topic focusing on SQL 2012. To verify that his article is still valid for SQL Server 2016 and SharePoint 2016 with Power Pivot, I followed his article:

I installed the latest SQL_AS_ADOMD.msi, which can be downloaded here. But nothing changed.

Here is the content of the Microsoft.AnalysisServices.AdomdClient.dll ( found under C:\windows\Microsoft.Net\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.AnalysisServices.AdomdClient\v4.0_13.0.0.0. ….

[SharePointPermission(System.Security.Permissions.SecurityAction.LinkDemand, ObjectModel = true)]
public override SPHealthCheckStatus Check()
SPHealthCheckStatus result;
if (!HealthUtil.isCentralAdminConfiged())
result = SPHealthCheckStatus.Passed;
if (HealthUtil.IsADOMDInstalled(""))
result = SPHealthCheckStatus.Passed;
result = SPHealthCheckStatus.Failed;

A quick check via Power Shell reveals the following

$connnection = new-object Microsoft.AnalysisServices.AdomdClient.AdomdConnection

The client version is: “13.0.1601.5 ((SQL16_RTM).160429-2226)” and that is why the rule fails.

Either you disable the rule or ignore it, if Adomd is installed properly.

Start all SharePoint Health Analyzer Jobs

“SharePoint Health Analyzer is a feature in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 that enables administrators to schedule regular, automatic checks for potential configuration, performance, and usage problems in the server farm. Any errors that SharePoint Health Analyzer finds are identified in status reports that are made available to farm administrators in Central Administration.” (MSDN)


In some scenarios SharePoint Health Analyzer helped me out a lot. The messages give a clear starting point to search for the error source. But, there is one thing that bothers me a lot. SharePoint Health Analyzer relies on Time jobs which are usually run on a hourly to weekly schedule. Therefore if you are trying to fix a reported issue there won’t be no immediate feedback.

Read More »