Thursday, August 29, 2013

New features for SharePoint Designer 2013


There are some major and very welcome improvements in SharePoint Designer 2013 to overcome many of the limitations previously found in SharePoint Designer 2010:


  1. Inclusion of Stages
  2. Inclusion of Looping capability
  3. Support for cut, copy and paste of workflow actions
  4. Support for Visio Visual Designer 2013 within SharePoint Designer 2013 (when Visio 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 are installed on the same machine)
  5. Rich Text Email Editor (SharePoint Designer 2010 only offered plain-text e-mail messages)
  6. Ability to call Web Services

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Major defect/flaw with using Windows File Copy


I was recently attempting to copy over some data from my external USB Hard Drive to my local computer and I noticed that Windows File Copy would either hang Windows Explorer or fail in the midst of a Windows File Copy.

After being frustrated with several Windows File Copy attempts, I decided to open up my favorite tool—Scooter Software’s Beyond Compare ( and attempted the same Copy operation in Beyond Compare instead.

After a few minutes of attempting the file copy within Beyond Compare, I soon discovered that there was a Cyclic Redundancy Check error on my disk.  Fortunately, Beyond Compare is capable of ignoring those Cyclic Redundancy Check error messages and copying content from the hard drive file system which do not contain those CRC errors!! 

As you can probably guess, Windows File Copy available through Windows Explorer will simply fail out completely when you encounter Cyclic Redundancy Check error and will not allow you to copy any other file content items.

Therefore, for the most reliable file copies, I would highly recommend using a 3rd party tool such as Beyond Compare as opposed to the standard Windows File Copy mechanism.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Deploying custom icons/images for a SharePoint Feature


One of the major annoyances with Sandboxed solutions is that you cannot deploy custom icons/images for any of the SharePoint Features that you develop.   Even though you can easily add the “Images” mapped folder to your SharePoint Sandboxed Visual Studio solution and build/compile the solution, the deployment will ultimately fail.

Why is this?  

This stems from the inherent limitation of Sandboxed solutions restricting a developer from being able to deploy things to the SharePoint file system, even such minor things as an Icon/Image file.

Though, there may be available workarounds available on the Internet for deploying a custom icon/image with your Sandboxed solution (the default icon is a SharePoint gear), the most conventional approach is to simply associate the ImageUrl with the SharePoint Feature and deploy the solution as a Farm solution instead

Maybe in future versions of SharePoint, there will be a way to deploy Sandboxed solutions with custom icons/images, but for now, as horrible as it may sound, opt for the Farm Feature (if the custom icon/image is an absolute requirement) to get your solution up and running….

Cleaning up deployment of a SharePoint Web Part


If you deploy a SharePoint Web Part (especially as a Sandboxed Solution), you may typically follow these steps to remove the SharePoint Web Part:


  1. Delete or Remove the Web Part from any Web Part Pages
  2. Deactivate the SharePoint Sandboxed Solution
  3. Delete the SharePoint Sandboxed Solution

However, even after you perform the above steps, the Web Part may continue to linger in the Web Part Gallery.  If you write special code to handle this within your Web Part Solution, you can have it delete the Web Part from the Web Part gallery as part of the deactivation process of your solution.  However, most developers DO NOT typically include such code within their Web Part solutions (You would need to write an Event Receiver to handle the Feature Deactivating event), so it is up to you to manually delete the Web Part from the Web Part Gallery.

Simply open up the Web Part Gallery, select the checkbox for your custom Web Part and delete it.

That is all there is to it!!  This final step is often missed, thus leaving lingering orphaned Web Parts in the Web Part gallery, but now that you know, you can maintain a “clean” Web Part Gallery as part of your SharePoint Site Collections!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Changing the location of My Documents and the Documents Library

In Windows 7 and Windows 8, there are multiple ways to access “My Documents”: 
  1. Windows 7 and Windows 8 both have the concept of “Libraries” which can allow multiple folders to be associated with the Documents directory that you typically view in Windows Explorer.
  2. However, there is also the traditional form of “My Documents” which lives under the C:\Users\<your user name> directory. 
However, while these 2 directories are indirectly related, one can often end up with multiple folders associated in the Documents Library, but still end up with an orphaned “My Documents” folder that is still used, but only accessible through traversing the Users folder hierarchy.
Therefore, this is the recommended strategy for changing the location of the “My Documents” folder while maintaining the association in the Documents Library.
  1. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the location of the “My Documents” folder (beneath C:\Users\<your user name>)
  2. Right click on the folder and click on Properties
  3. Click on the Location tab
  4. Click on the Move… button to move the directory to another location (preferably on another disk partition or another dedicated data drive)
  5. You may be prompted to move all of the data in the current directory to the new target directory.  If so, click on the Yes button.  
  6. Now, still in Windows Explorer, navigate to the Libraries—>Documents directory and right click on the Documents icon.
  7. Select Properties from the right-click context menu. 
  8. If you have successfully moved your “My Documents” directory, the new directory location should also appear in your Documents Library set of folder locations.
You can apply the above steps to move all of your various personalized directories including “ My Pictures”, “My Videos”, “My Music”, “Desktop” etc.!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Back up Internet Explorer 10 Search Providers

Even though this article was originally written for Internet Explorer 7, it still applies today for Internet Explorer 10 (running on Windows 8):

You basically have to open regedit and look for this registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Unable to activate Dynamics CRM List Component

I was recently attempting to install the Dynamics CRM List Component into my SharePoint Site Collections and was unable to do so.  The activation dialog would either just hang and do nothing or display the following error message:

Fortunately, I found this article:

After following the steps outlined in step A, I was able to resolve my problem and successfully activate my solutions.

NOTE: When manually modifying the registry, the Hexadecimal value is actually 23e00.