Error when installing Cumulative Updates (SharePoint 2007)

Recently, a client was having a swag of troubles with the “Content Deployment” jobs for a SharePoint Publishing site.  This is a public facing site – with an anonymous web-app and site collection – as well as an “Authenticated” web-app for content authoring. 

As other folk might know (all too well), Content Deployment can have ‘some issues’ from time to time – a house of cards perhaps ?  

Long story short, the deployment job was getting stuck somehow, and ended up using 100% CPU (was flat-lined) – and then timed out reponsive-ness for SQL Server itself – and shut the service down.

This brought down ALL of the entire SharePoint site/s; public, auth’ed, the lot !   SQL had been killed… Yikes !

After re-booting the server, all was well – we immediately STOPPED the scheduled content deployment jobs, and went into investigation mode (with the server & website “UP” for the time being).

Patches & Updates

With the October 2009 Cumulative Update for SharePoint, there are new entries for logging – allowing the Content and Deployment API to write to the SharePoint ULS log.

After checking and trialling the CU’s in the TEST environment, we went for installing on PROD.  And matters went from bad to worse. 

Error installing Cumulative Updates (October 2009 CU)

The initial SETUP.EXE part of the CU update is easy – that went smooth as silk.  But then, when trying to run the “Config Wizard”, there was a big ka-boom.   The error shown during the “Config Wizard” step contained the following Exception :

Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.PostSetupConfigurationTaskException

Try saying that three times fast !   *phew*

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SharePoint was dead (again).  More investigation (a lot !) – and the matter turned out to be related to the Search Service wasn’t running.

Sure enough, when viewing the list of Services via Control Panel > Administrative Tools, the WSS Search Service (Windows SharePoint Services Search) isn’t running.  

OK – so, try to start the service, and got a message stating :

Error 183 : Cannot create a file when that file already exists.

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Here’s the weird part – to further confuse matters – Central Administration reports that it’s RUNNING !

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Somehow – CA think the WSS Search service is running and “Services” says it’s not.   WTF !?

Even more investigation – and more (!) – and we found a solution (by chance). 

Here’s what we tried – managed to get through the roadblock.

Re-awaken Search

We basically need to ‘poke’ the WSS Search Service from within SharePoint.  Just trying to stop and start it wouldn’t work – so we tried a hunch – and ‘reset’ the password (to the same value) using a STSADM command.

For both the MOSS and WSS search services – just use the same password value, don’t have to change it :

stsadm.exe -o spsearch -farmserviceaccount DOMAIN{wss search account} -farmservicepassword NewPassword

stsadm.exe -o osearch -farmserviceaccount DOMAIN {wss search account} -farmservicepassword NewPassword

Run SharePoint Technologies and Configuration Wizard

The above steps were enough to get the Search Service up-and-going – and finally the “Services” panel and CA agreed that Search was running.

So, we could re-run the Config Wizard – and the Cumulative Updates were successfully applied – w00t !!

Alive & Well

The site was then running OK, and Content Deployment jobs created, and ran – and logged – and failed.  But the server did NOT go into a flatline spiral & crash – it failed gracefully

And the new logging additions will help to pinpoint some of the problem – damn you “Content Deployment” !

Recommendation

To help with your use & abuse of Content Deployment, make sure you grab the Cumulative Update from October 2009 (and beyond that – up to April 2010 – might as well run ‘up-to-now’ patches).

And – if you happen to have the problems as detailed above – just need to ‘poke’ the Search Service – via STSADM.

p.s.  Hope this NEVER happens to you – was the wierdest SharePoint glitch I’d seen in ages…!

🙂

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