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Saturday, November 26, 2011

MS Project and MS Project Server 2010 OCT CU

The October 2011 Cumulative Updates for Microsoft Project and Project Server 2010 have now been released. The 2007 Server packages that were withdrawn for a short period are now re-built and available. For details you can visit Brian Smith blog where all the links of the server roll-up packages are also available.

As Project Server 2010 is now based on SharePoint Server 2010 Microsoft strongly recommend that you install the Project Server 2010 Server Rollup Package as there are a large number of individual server packages for SharePoint Server. The Project Server 2010 Server Rollup Package contains all the patches released in this Cumulative Update for SharePoint Foundation Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 and Project Server 2010.

And last, always try the updates on the test environment first, untill then happy patching.

Preparing Hyper-V VM with Project Server 2010 Demo Pack

Recently i was preparing my new laptop to run the Project Server 2010 Hyper-V VM and i came across few issue while setting up my machine to run VM. Although its been long since the Information Worker VM and Project 2010 pack is out for MS Partners and Customers to evaluate and for demo purposes, but thought that its a good idea to put all the bits together for others reference again.

To run the MS Hyper-V VM you need to have the Virtualization enabled system to support the Hyper-V functionality, and the Hyper-V manager is only available on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 so far. But the good news is that it will be availabe on Windows 8 platform, so you dont have to prepare the dual boot system, but till then install the Windows 7 on your C drive and install the Windows Server 2008 on seperate drive (C or E or etc.) to have the dual boot option. There are lot of material available over the web related to the dual boot, you can go through this for your reference. There is also an excellent blog posted by Jan Kalis some time back about useful tips for Demo here.

While installing and running the Windows Server 2008 R2 for the first time, when you open the Server Manager to enable the Hyper-V role or any other role you might come across this issue:
  • roles and features are not displayed with a yellow bang against them in the Server Manager window. You receive the following error message at the bottom of the Server manager if you try to open it:
    • Server Manager
    • Unexpected error refreshing Server Manager: The remote procedure call failed. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800706BE)
For more information, see the event log: Diagnostics, Event Viewer, Applications and Services Logs, Microsoft, Windows, Server Manager, Operational.
At the same time, the event below is added into the Microsoft-Windows-ServerManager/Operational log:

  • Log Name: Microsoft-Windows-ServerManager/Operational
  • Source: Microsoft-Windows-ServerManager
  • Date: <date & time>
  • Event ID: 1601
  • Task Category: None
  • Level: Error
  • Keywords:
  • User: <user name>
  • Computer: <computer name>
  • Description:
  • Could not discover the state of the system. An unexpected exception was found:
  • System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x800706BE): The remote procedure call failed. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800706BE)
  • at System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHRInternal(Int32 errorCode, IntPtr errorInfo)
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.ComponentInstaller.CreateSessionAndPackage(IntPtr& session, IntPtr& package)
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.ComponentInstaller.InitializeUpdateInfo()
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.ComponentInstaller.Initialize()
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.Common.Provider.RefreshDiscovery()
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.LocalResult.PerformDiscovery()
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.ServerManagerModel.CreateLocalResult(RefreshType refreshType)
  • at Microsoft.Windows.ServerManager.ServerManagerModel.InternalRefreshModelResult(Object state
Here is the Microsoft support article to resolve the issue, the only point you have to be careful about is the drive letter to access the folder mentioned in this article. The common mistake you can do is to use C drive, although most likely you have windows 7 on your Drive C and Windows Server on Drive D or E may be. So be careful else you will end up finding nothing and this will increase your frustation :)

Now once done with this, enable the Hyper-V role and follow the VM Setup Guide that consist of all the details of how to set-up your information worker VM to start the for first time. Assuming you have successfully import the VM to Hyper-V manager and managed to start, now its the Project 2010 Demo pack you have to install now. On the surface the demo pack appears to install without issue.

Installation Complete

But when you try to navigate to you get the dreaded ‘An unexpected error has occurred’.

An Unexpected Error has occurred

On navigating the Central Administration > Application Management > Manage Service Applications > Project Server Service Application and checking the provisioned Project sites, it appears that no Project Server Web App sites have been provisioned, even though the demo installer reported it was successful.

No Project instances provisioned

It seems that the installer runs into an issue when the underlying demo VM has either expired or was not activated prior to installing the Project Demo and Eval pack. Luckily, fixing the problem couldn’t be simpler.

Firstly, follow the instructions in VM Setup Guide to activate the VM. To Activate the Virtual Machine an internet connection is required.  To do this, add a second NIC to the VM using the Hyper-V management console & connect it to an external network connection that has internet access.  Activate Windows from within the VM.  Windows will still expire after 180 days, but it will not prompt for activation or shut down after 2 hours.

Once the VM has been activated, you should see the following.

Activation Successful

As the demo installer has done most of the hard work, including restoring the various databases, creating the web application and configuring things like the Secure Store and Excel Services, all that is remaining is to (re)provision the Project Web App site using the restored databases. To do so, navigate to Central Administration > Application Management > Manage Service Applications > Project Server Service Application and choose to ‘Create a Project Web App Site’.

In the web page, choose the ‘project’ web application to host the Project Web App as per below.

Project Web App - Configuration 1

Then enter the names of the databases that were previously restored as per below and click on ok.

Project Web App - Configuration 2

After a short while the Project Web App site will provision and will be accessible without the dreaded ‘An unexpected error has occurred’.

Happy evaluating :)