Friday, November 10, 2017

Stranger Things Happening After Installing KB4041994

I have an HP laptop, with an Intel Core i7 processor and 12GB of RAM. On 11/5/2017, I downloaded the Windows 10 Home update version 1709 (OS build 16299.19). My laptop ran without any problems until 11/7/2017, when KB4041994 was installed through Windows Updates. After that, I could not access the Start Menu by clicking the Windows button on the keyboard. Then I noticed that clicking on the apps pinned to the taskbar did nothing. Right-clicking on the apps would make the menu appear and disappear just as quickly. Pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL did nothing, too. I resorted to doing a force shutdown by holding down the power button.

After waiting a few minutes, I turned on my laptop again. I had the same issues, so I did another force shutdown. Before powering up again, I removed the battery from my laptop. This time, my laptop seemed to work just fine. So I thought the issue was resolved. I completed my work, properly shutdown my computer, and went out of town (without my laptop) for a few days.

On 11/10/2017, I returned home and powered up my laptop. Once again, I could not right-click or open apps pinned to the taskbar, nor could I get to the Start Menu. By pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL, I was able to get to the power icon (in the lower right corner of the screen). From there, I chose Restart. After waiting for a while, I received this error:

Too many other files are currently in use by 16-bit programs. Exit one or more 16-bit programs, or increase the value of the FILES command in your Config.sys file.

I know enough about computer hardware, software, and operating systems to know that messing with the Config.sys file is a bad idea. Instead, I clicked OK to dismiss the error, went back to CTRL + ALT + DEL, and chose Shutdown this time. To my surprise, it shutdown properly.

So I tried the battery trick again. However, this time, without the battery, my laptop would not power on. Disappointed, I put the battery back and then tried to power on the laptop. It started! Since then, I have been able to work without errors.

I’m afraid that if I shutdown or reboot again, I’ll end up in the upside down. And I don’t have a pet demadog to save me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Do You Need To Be GDPR Compliant?

The GDPR Self-Assessment by Microsoft will help you identify if your organization needs to be GDPR compliant by the May 25, 2018 deadline.

The following are some of the grounds for compliance that might apply to your organization.
  • EU citizens/residents who are your employees are subject to GDPR (no matter where in the word they live or work)
  • Collecting personal data about employees, customers, and/or consumers are cause for GDPR compliance
    • Photos on video monitors and/or company badges are personal data (because of facial recognition/bio-metric data) and are thus subject to GDPR
    • Using website cookies and/or collecting IP or MAC addresses are considered methods for collecting personal data
  • Any vendors that have access to personal data of EU citizens/residents must be GDPR compliant, and it is your organization's responsibility to verify, to the extent possible, that the vendor meets GDPR compliance
  • Just because your organization or a vendor is Privacy Shield certified does not automatically guarantee GDPR compliance

Non-compliance will result in a minimum fine of €20,000,000 or 4% of transactions, whichever is greater. Additionally, failure to pay the fine can result in your organization being banned from conducting business in the EU, asset seizure/forfeiture, and fines from other government agencies (including U.S. government agencies).

If you feel that your organization will need to be GDPR compliant by May 25, 2018, Office 365 has security features and a GDPR portal to help your organization meet GDPR compliance.

If you'd like a recommendation for a vendor who can help you with Office 365 and GDPR compliance, just reply below or email me with your contact information. I promise I don't get a commission!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Phantom Workflow

If you’re a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, you may have wondered “Where did the Storm Troopers come from?” As a child, I thought they were robots.

Similarly, a customer and I recently came across a phantom workflow and wondered “Where is this workflow running from?”

The customer, who is a site collection administrator, created a list on one of his subsites. He then added a Nintex workflow to the list. Because he needed to clone the structure for other lists, he saved the list as a template and created a new list from the template.

Once he started adding entries to the new list, the customer noticed that the workflow attached to the original list was running on the new list. However, when he went to Manage Nintex Workflows, there were no workflows for the new list. So he let the phantom workflow run, until he needed to change the wording in the email notification. So he asked me how he could access the phantom workflow.

Baffled by the mystery, I reached out to my friends Vadim Tabakman, a Nintex Evangelist, and John White, a Nintex expert user (and the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Power BI). They explained that the list template copied over the SharePoint pieces for the workflow. While the Nintex workflow was listed in SharePoint Designer (SPD), it could not be edited (nor would you ever edit a Nintex workflow in SPD).

There was one solution. First, I informed the customer that deleting the phantom workflow would also delete all of its workflow history. Next, using SharePoint Designer, I deleted the workflow. (Note: If the original workflow for the original list was called Workflow1, then the phantom workflow associated with the new list would be called Workflow2.) After deleting the correct workflow, I exported the original Nintex workflow to a .nwf file. Then I imported the .nwf file into a new, blank workflow attached to the new (cloned) list. At this point, the customer was able to modify the email notification in the new list’s workflow, without affecting the email notification in the original list’s workflow.

Now that we know where the phantom workflow (and the original Storm Troopers) came from, you may be wondering “What if I’m not using Nintex?” So I tested, and yes, a workflow created in SharePoint Designer could also appear as a phantom workflow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Error Saving List as Template

I have full control. So why can’t I save a list (or library) as a template?

As the owner of a sub-site, you have full control. You can create a list and get to list settings. But when you click Save List as Template, you get an error.

The reason is that list templates are stored in the List templates gallery—which is a document library—on the root of the site collection. If you don’t have Full Control there, you can’t save to the gallery. Thus, you can’t save a list as a template.

You have two options. First, you can obtain the necessary permissions to the root of the site collection. If that’s not possible, then your site collection administrator will have to create the list template for you. Perhaps with enough requests, you’ll get the permissions you desire.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Drop Off Library Setup Guide

The Drop Off Library was introduced in SharePoint 2010 and is still available in SharePoint 2013. Its purpose is to automatically route documents from a “dumping ground” (in the form of a document library) to the appropriate location (another document library) based on content types. The Drop Off Library and the destination library do not have to be in the same site or even in the same site collection.

As an example, an organization can put a Drop Off Library on each department’s site. After employees upload their expense reports and select the expense report content type, SharePoint will then move the expense report to the appropriate document library on the accounting department’s site. The employees never have to leave their own department’s site.

Before you begin, make sure you have created the necessary content types and assigned those content types to the destination drop off libraries. If you’re going to use the same content type across multiple sites within the same site collection, set up the content type at the top level of the site collection so that you only have to create it once. Similarly, if you’re going to use the same content type across multiple site collections, set it up in your content type hub (if you have one). For more information on creating content types, see my previous blog post Document Sets: A Step-by-Step Guide.

To begin, you must first activate the Content Organizer site feature on all the sites where you want to have drop off libraries (the dumping ground) and destination libraries.

1.      Site Settings > Manage Site Features > Content Organizer > Activate

Next, you will set up the Content Organizer Settings on all the sites where you will have a Drop Off Library.
2. Site Settings > Content Organizer Settings

Review the default options and change any that don’t fit your business needs. For example, if you want to allow documents to move to a library in another site (or site collection), you’ll need to mark the checkbox for Allow rules to specify another site as a target location.

Depending on your philosophy about folders in SharePoint, you may want to mark the checkbox to Create subfolders after a target location has too many items. Personally, I try not to use folders in SharePoint, but one level of folders is my acceptable limit.

In case an employee uploads the same file multiple times, by default SharePoint will apply versioning. If you’d rather have separate files (think about your storage capacity), you can mark the checkbox for Append unique characters to the end of duplicate filenames. FYI, these are random characters and cannot be customized.

To ensure that documents uploaded to a Drop Off Library are routed in a timely manner, rule managers will receive an email when submissions do not match a rule or when content has been left in the Drop Off Library. The default is three days, but you can change that number to better suite your business needs. You can also specify who the rule managers are (individuals or groups).

After the Content Organizer Settings are to your liking, you will need to set up the Content Organizer Rules.
3. Site Settings > Content Organizer Rules

4. Click + new item to create a new rule.

Hopefully, when you created your content types, you put them into a unique group so that you can filter by that group here. If you didn’t name the content types the same on this site (or site collection) as the site (or site collection) where the destination library is, you’ll need to mark the checkbox for This content type has alternate names in other sites.

By default, there is one property-based condition started for you. You can complete it if you want to use conditions, or you can delete it if you don’t.

In the Destination box, enter the URL for the destination library. Alternatively, you can click the Browse button to locate the destination library.

If the content type has not been assigned to the destination library, you will see the error message The selected library does not have this content type.

When all the settings are appropriately configured, click OK. You will be returned to the Content Organizer Rules screen, where you can view existing rules or create a new one.

Now you’re ready to test your Drop Off Library.
5. Navigate to the Drop Off Library. (There will be a link to it on the Quick Launch.)
6. Upload a document.
You’ll notice that the document is checked out to you. Before you check it in, you need to select a content type for the document.
7. Mark the checkbox next to the item, click the Files tab above the ribbon, and click Edit Properties.


When the Edit Properties screen opens, you’ll notice a message in a yellow bar at the top.
8. From the Content Type dropdown, select the appropriate content type.

9. Click Submit.
The message Saved to final location will appear with a link to where the document was moved.
10. Either click the link to go the location, or click OK to return to the Drop Off Library.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Failed to Decline Request

Hint: If you'd prefer to watch the Webucator video on this issue, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Recently, I noticed that the option to approve a request for access to a site was grayed out. I had full control over the site; so I knew it wasn’t a permissions issue with my account. The reason was that there was no group selected. Instead, the dropdown had “Select a group or permission level.” Once I selected a group, I was able to approve or decline the request.

Then a colleague and I encountered the “Failed to decline request” error. We both had full control over the site, but neither of us could decline a user’s request for access to the site.
Since selecting a group had fixed my approve problem, I decided to apply the same logic to this decline issue. Low and behold, after selecting a group, my colleague and I were able to decline the request.
After experiencing these two issues, I finally recognize the importance of having a default group.
To set the default group for a site:

1. Navigate to the site
2. From the Settings wheel, click Site settings
3. Under Users and Permissions, click People and Groups

4. Click the group that will be the default
5. Click Settings and select Make Default Group

6. Click OK to make the current group the default members group

Update: Thanks to my friends at Webucator, you can now watch a video that walks you through identifying and resolving the Failed to Decline Request issue.

Webucator offers customized SharePoint training for private groups as well as public online SharePoint classes and self-paced SharePoint courses for individual students. Check out their website for more details about their SharePoint training.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Document Sets: A Step-by-Step Guide

My latest work project was to build a document management solution using out-of-the-box features in SharePoint 2013. During my research, I began to feel that many of the available features are underutilized. Of all the features, document sets were my favorite. A document set is often described as a folder on steroids with the attributes of an item. In actuality, a document set is a content type.

While document sets are a somewhat simple concept, there is a certain order that you must follow to build a document set efficiently. Below is the order followed by a detailed explanation of each step.
  1. Create site columns and content types.
  2. Assign site columns.
  3. Publish content types.
  4. Run Content Type Subscriber timer job.
  5. Create document set content types.
  6. Define document set settings and assign additional site columns.
  7. Publish document set content types.
  8. Run Content Type Subscriber timer job.
  9. Assign Document Set Content Type to document library.
  10. Create a document set.
Step 1 – Create Site Columns and Content Types
Before you create the document set, you will need to make sure your desired content types and site columns already exist. Both are created from Site Settings, either at the content type hub or site level. I prefer to create them within my content type hub so that they can be used throughout my SharePoint environment, not just in one site collection.

Step 2 – Assign Site Columns
If you create a new content type, click Add from existing site columns to assign site columns to capture specific metadata. You can use existing site columns, also created within your content type hub, or you can create site columns at the site level. Alternatively, you can add site columns to the document set in which the content type will be allowed. The benefit of adding the site columns to the document set or content type is only having to add them once.
Step 3 – Publish Content Types
When you have your content type just the way you want it, don’t forget to publish it. Click Manage publishing for this content type, select the radio button for Publish (or Republish if you are updating the content type with changes), and click OK.
Step 4 – Run Content Type Subscriber Timer Job
Published (or republished) content types created in the content type hub will become available for use once the Content Type Subscriber timer job runs. If you have SharePoint on-premises and access to Central Administration, you can manually run this timer job. Go to Monitoring > Review Job Definitions and click Content Type Subscriber. You will see its schedule and the last time it ran. Rather than waiting for the next scheduled run, click Run Now to start the timer job.
Note: If you have SharePoint Online or Office 365, you do not have access to the timer job in Central Administration. Instead, go to Site Settings > Content Type Publishing within your content type hub, mark the checkbox for Refresh all published content types on next update, and click OK.

Step 5 – Create Document Set Content Types
Document sets are created in Site Settings > Site Content Types. If you create the document set within your content type hub, it can be used throughout all of your site collections. The only real decisions when creating the document set are what to name it and where to put it because the Parent Content Type will logically be Document Set.

Step 6 – Define Document Set Settings and Assign Additional Site Columns
Now you can define your document set. Start by clicking Document Set settings. First, choose which content types are allowed in the document set. Filter the available site content types by selecting the group into which you put the new content types. Then highlight the desired content type and click Add. If necessary, you can change the group and add additional content types without saving between groups.

If you do not want the default content type, you must delete it from the Default Content before you can remove it from the content types allowed in the document set.
For me, the most attractive attribute of the document set was the ability for items in the document set to inherit the metadata assigned at the document set level. This is achieved through shared columns. In the Document Set settings, mark the checkbox for each column that documents should inherit.

Document sets also have a welcome page that can display its shared columns. Highlight the column to be shared and click Add.

If you make changes to the site columns, such as adding more or rearranging the order, you may want to update the welcome page for document sets inheriting from your document set content type. Just mark the checkbox in the Document Set settings.

Another way to customize the document set is to add additional site columns. Click Add from existing site columns and follow the same process as outlined above in Step 2.
Step 7 – Publish Document Set Content Types
When your document set is ready, make sure you publish it. This is the same process that you did in Step 3 to publish the newly created content types.
Step 8 – Run Content Type Subscriber Timer Job
Just like step 4, you must run the Content Type Subscriber timer job from Central Administration, assuming you created your document sets within the content type hub. Alternatively, you can wait for the timer job to run on its normal schedule.
Note: For SharePoint Online or Office 365, you can return to Content Type Publishing, as mentioned in step 4.
Step 9 - Assign Document Set Content Type to Document Library
Now that your document set is available for use, you must assign it to the document library. First, go to Library Settings and click Advanced Settings. Select the Yes radio button for Allow management of content types. Click OK to save the changes.

Upon returning to the Document Library settings, scroll down to the Content Types section. First, click Add from existing site content types. Highlight the desired document set and click Add. Repeat until all of the desired document sets are listed under Content types to add and click OK.

Next, click Change new button order and default content type. If there are any content types that you do not want displayed on the new document menu, unmark the checkbox for those content types under Visible. Arrange the content types in the order in which they should appear on the new document menu by assigning the appropriate numerical value under Position from Top. The content type in the first position will become the default content type.

Step 10 - Create a Document Set
Navigate to the document library where the document set content type was enabled. From the ribbon, click Files and select the document set from the New Document menu.

Disadvantages of Document Sets
What don’t I like about document sets? First and foremost, you cannot create a view within a document set, thus preventing you from sorting, filtering, or grouping. Also, unless you disable the option to Make “New Folder” command available in the library’s Advanced Settings, you can create folders and subfolders within the document set. While I do not fully support the use of folders, another disadvantage of document sets (and document libraries) is that you cannot drag folders into the document set. (The workaround is to open the document library or document set using the Open with Explorer feature.)
More Advantages of Document Sets
Let’s end on a positive note. First, you can drag and drop up to 100 files into a document set. (If you don’t see drag files here, check your version of Internet Explorer and/or my blog post on Using Office 2010 with SharePoint 2013.) Because document sets are part of a document library, you can create views within the library. Those views do allow you to sort, filter, and group; and you can create a view that shows all the documents without folders. However, the document set will display as an item. You can also export the view to Excel, where you can do additional sorting and filtering.

Wrap Up
Document sets are a great way to promote metadata and replace folders without taking away any security features. By referring to document sets as special folders, users can maintain the comfort they have developed with folders while getting away from infinite levels of subfolders.
Additional Resources