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MS SharePoint Questions

Q How is MS SharePoint Services 3.0 installed in standalone mode?
A

There are two ways for installing MS Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on a single computer:

1- Basic.

2- By selecting Advanced, and then selecting Stand-alone in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Setup.


Q Which web browsers is SharePoint Services 3.0 compatible with?
A Web browser support is divided into two levels: level 1 and level 2. Administrative tasks on SharePoint sites are optimized for level 1 browsers.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 also provides support for other browsers that are commonly used. There are differences in functionality between level 1 and level 2 web browsers that can result in a degree of unpredictability in user experience.

Level 1 Level 1 web browsers use the featureset provided by ActiveX controls. They offer full functionality on all SharePoint sites, including the SharePoint Central Administration Web site.
Level 2 Level 2 web browsers provide the functionality required for a user to both read and write in SharePoint sites and perform site administration. Level 2 browsers include 64bit IE, Firefox, Netscape and Safari.

Q Does SharePoint support IPv6 technology?
A

SharePoint Products and Technologies support three environments: IPv4 environment - Exclusive, IPv4 and IPv6 environment - Mixed, and IPv6 environment - Exclusive.

SYS-ED staff and CETi technology partners are researching white papers regarding issues in implementation and performance when running mixed IPV4 and IPV6 environments.

Q It there an upgrade path from SharePoint Services 3.0 to SharePoint 2010?
A1 There are two primary methods for upgrading from Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 to SharePoint 2010: in-place and database attach. The in-place method is used to upgrade an existing Office SharePoint Server 2007 server to SharePoint 2010. The database attach method is used to back up a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Office SharePoint Server 2007 database and attach it to a SharePoint 2010 Web application. SharePoint Server then upgrades this database and makes it available through the web application.
A2 MS SharePoint 2010 supports Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 master pages and cascading style sheets. By default, after a content database is upgraded, the sites will be displayed with the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 visuals.

Q Can MS SharePoint be connected to MS SharePoint 2010 to Oracle databases?
A BCS: Business Connectivity Services provides the capabilities to connect MS SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 client applications to external data sources: SQL, Oracle, SAP Web services, or custom datasets. BCS is an update to the Business Data Catalog introduced in Office SharePoint Server 2007. It provides the capability to provide full CRUD: Create, Rename, Update and Delete operations on the external data and create an External List which references external data rather than data stored within SharePoint.

The BCS is built on the service application architecture, and can be configured to run in multiple instances within the same farm. An instance can be configured independently, managed by different administrators, and connected to the same or different SharePoint web applications. The BCS connects to external data sources, and requires per-user authentication. Configuration and administration is primarily accomplished through the service application pages within Central Administration, along with the Secure Store Service application used for deployments.


Q What features protect the server from unexpected peaks in demand, and also prevent or control certain user operations from placing a significant load on the server during processing.
A

MS SharePoint 2010 uses Resource Throttling settings for ascertaining the level at which the server will enter throttling mode. Every five seconds, a job runs that checks available server resources compared to configured levels. By default, server CPU usage, available memory, the number of requests in queue, and request wait time are monitored. After three unsuccessful checks, the server enters a throttling period and will remain in this state until a successful check is reported.

Requests that were generated prior to the server's entering throttling mode will be completed; this helps prevent users from losing any current work when the server begins to throttle new requests. Any new HTTP GET and Search robot requests will generate a 503 error message and will be logged in the event viewer. While the server is in a throttling period, no new timer jobs will be started.


Q How can performance degradation be avoided from within an event receiver?
A

Within an event receiver, do not instantiate an SPWeb, SPSite, SPList, or SPListItem object. Event receivers that instantiate these objects instead of using the instances passed from event properties can result in two problems:

Significant additional roundtrips to the database; one write operation can result in up to five additional roundtrips in each event receiver.

Calls to the Update method on these instances can cause subsequent update calls in other registered event receivers to fail.


Q Can filenames with spaces be used under SharePoint Foundation?
A For security reasons, SharePoint Foundation reads files in the %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\14\TEMPLATE directory tree only if their names are composed of ASCII letters, numbers, periods, underscores, or dashes. Spaces are not permitted.

Q Can I use Object Caching to improve performance of my SharePoint code?
A A developer can use the Microsoft .NET Framework caching objects - System.Web.Caching.Cache to more efficiently use memory and increase overall system performance. Many objects are not "thread safe," however, and caching those objects may cause applications to fail and or result in unexpected or unrelated user errors.

Q What is the SharePoint REST facility?
A

The SharePoint 2010 REST Representational State Transfer interface is a WCF Data Service that allows HTTP requests to be constructed for querying SharePoint list data. As with all RESTful Web services, the SharePoint REST interface maps HTTP verbs to data operations. A RESTful service models data entities as HTTP resources that can be addressed by a URL. Query strings can be appended to the URLs in order to specify filter criteria or query logic. SharePoint lists are implementation of the RESTful service model.


Q

What is a sandboxed solution?

A Instead of running in the production IIS: Internet Information Services worker process, components, such as web parts, event receivers, feature receivers, custom Microsoft SharePoint Designer workflow activities, and Microsoft InfoPath business logic web can be run within a sandboxed process.

Q What Has Changed with SSP: Service Providers in SharePoint 2010?
A

SSPs: Shared Service Providers have been replaced by Service Applications. Services are no longer combined into a SSP. They are run independently as a service application. The service application architecture now is built into Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, in contrast to the SSP: Shared Services Provider architecture that was only part of Office SharePoint Server 2007. All services are installed by default and there is no SSP setup. Additional improvements for the service application model include:

  • The services architecture is extensible, allowing third-party companies to build and add services to the platform.

  • Services are managed directly in Central Administration rather than a separate administration site.

  • Services can be monitored and managed remotely. Services can be managed and scripted by Windows PowerShell.

  • Shared services communications take place over HTTP(S); shared services do not directly access databases across farms.

Most new services are built on the Windows Communications Framework. They have optimization built into their protocol, using binary streams instead of XML for data transfer. Test results show improvements in network throughput with this change.


MS Windows Family Operating Systems

Q

I have purchased a Microsoft Windows 7 computer for the purpose of replacing my longtime Windows ME workstation. How difficult is it to transfer e-mail documents and files from Windows Me to Windows 7?

A

Windows ME is now a very old operating system and the upgrade path to Windows 7 is not as straightforward or automatic as upgrading from Windows Vista. Documents and files will have to be transferred using a USB-based external hard drive or a pocket USB flash drive. After connecting the USB device to the old computer, copy the documents, pictures, music and other files onto the drive from the Windows Me machine and disconnect the device from the old computer. Then connect it to the new Windows 7 machine and copy the files over.

Another method is to copy the files to a CD or DVD on the old PC and copy the files from the disc onto the new PC. Once installed, application programs that ran on Windows Me may not run on Windows 7. It may be necessary to invest in updated version of the software. Alternatively, commercial application software can be purchased and used implementing the changeover.


Q

I have been unable to install security updates on a workstation installed with the Microsoft Windows Vista computer. Why is this occurring is and what I can do to remedy the problem?

A

If there is an error message with a code 0◊80072F8F, when attempting to use the MS Windows Update site, check the date and time settings on the PC.

If the computerís date and time are too far off from the Windows Update servers, you may see errors.

In the spring 2010, Microsoft ended update support for Windows Vista systems that have not been updated with service packs. Vista service packs can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site.

Microsoft offers automated troubleshooting shooting services at http://www.support.microsoft.com/gp/mats for its Windows Vista operating system. It can be used to automatically certain problems such as printing, system speed, or hardware devices.


Q

After I turn on my Intel-based computer with the MS Vista operating system, I notice that there are a large number of processes/programs which are running. Is this why Vista appears slow and sluggish compared to Windows XP?

A

Unlike previous versions of MS Windows, the MS Vista Task Scheduler works on both a timer and trigger basis; a standard trigger would be the booting of the operating system, a remote connection by a user, etc. This allows for condition-based behavior modification and also for Vista itself to use the Task Scheduler for starting system tasks. MS Vista uses the Task Scheduler to start essential system tasks as background process. There can be 50 or more specific tasks initiated and completed as part of the Vista start up.

There are a number of underlying causes why your MS Vista operating system is operating slowly: less than optimal availability of hardware resources, selection options which consume system resources - CPU, I/O, etc. The Task Scheduler, which is the Taskend.exe file, is essential for the proper functioning of MS Windows Vista and for a user to have the capability to schedule tasks. It should not be terminated or suspended. According to Microsoft, performance should be significantly improved with Windows 7. Our staff of system consultants and technology partners are benchmarking and evaluating the issue.


Q What are the advantages associated with the 64-bit version of MS Vista.
A In terms of appearance, the 64-bit version of MS Vista is identical to the 32-bit version of MS Vista.

The primary advantages are its ability to:

  • run 32-bit and 64-bit applications.
  • use more than 4GB of system memory.
  • utilize 64-bit versions of data-intensive applications such as CAD, photo-, video-, and audio-editing tools and realize significantly better performance than 32-bit versions on the same system.

The primary drawbacks are:

  • the requirement to have 64-bit drivers, which are not yet readily accessible.
  • the need for additional memory.

Over the long term, everyone will eventually be using 64-bit operating systems and then 128-bit!


Q Does MS Vista have the capability to boot more than a single operating system?
A MS Vista provides a new boot loader architecture.

Its major components are:

BCD: Boot Configuration Data A firmware-independent boot configuration and storage system.
BCDEdit.exe A boot option editing tool.

The following changes have been made in the boot fileset:

  • The Ntldr has been replaced by Bootmgr.exe and a set of system-specific boot loaders.
    In the new configuration, Windows Boot Manager is generic and unaware of the specific requirements for each operating system.
  • Each system-specific boot loader is optimized for the system that it loads.
  • On BIOS-based computers that are running only Windows Vista, the Boot.ini text file no longer exists.
  • On computers with both earlier versions of Windows and Windows Vista, the Boot.ini file remains to support the older versions but it does not affect booting in Windows Vista.
  • On EFI-based computers running MS Vista, boot options are still stored in NVRAM.
    BCDEdit is used for editing boot options on an EFI-based computer; this is done instead of accessing NVRAM directly by using Windows APIs or specialized tools such as NvrBoot.

Q MS Vista requires significantly more RAM, both for the minimum and recommended requirements than MS Windows XP. What is that RAM being used for?
A In order for MS Vista to operate efficiently and provide smooth responsiveness, the correct amount of RAM is required. The devices attached to and applications being run under MS Vista will impact on the 

In MS Vista, SuperFetch and standard caching make use of all available physical memory to cache disk data. This can be observed by running Task Manager; after system reboot, there will be an inverse relationship between Free Memory and Cached Memory. Over time, SuperFetch repopulates the cache with the data that was forced out of memory; the Cached number will rise and the Free number will decline.


Q In their promotion of Vista, Microsoft makes reference to connected, clear, and confident. What are they referring to?
A Our experience with Vista and interpretation of the terms are:
Term Explanation
Connected A connection with the people, information, and devices required for straightforward interaction which is used for communication and sharing.
Clear Clarity of the user interface and the ways for accessing and organizing your own information.
Confidence Provide confidence in the security and integrity of a workstation in order to assuage the damages and threats from spyware and malware.

Our collective opinion is that since its rollout, Vista has been incrementally improved by Microsoft and is becoming a better operating system. As a bit of historical perspective, not many people, recall, Microsoft Windows 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or Windows for Workgroups, it all came together in Windows 95. Even if the market responds unfavorably to MS Vista and does not gain market share, it is reasonable to assume that Microsoft's investment in the Vista code and architecture will be utilized and repackaged in a replacement operating system and software as a service.


Q Is Windows Vista more secure than Windows XP?
A Yes. MS Vista provides users with choices in terms of security and privacy. It builds upon the security features implemented as service packs in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. We are evaluating the security improvements in MS Vista in comparison to the Mac OS X, Linux, and UNIX-variants.

Q What is XPS?
A A: In April 2005 at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft announced that it would include a new document format and printing architecture called XML Paper Specification in Windows Vista. The acronym is XPS. Based on XML, XPS is a device- and application-independent printing architecture that allows a document to retain its formatting in an application when printed. Unlike PDF, however, XPS is based on XML and will be released as an open standard. XPS incorporates ZIP technology for the dynamic compression and decompression of files.

XPS includes:

  • an XML-based electronic paper format.
  • a document viewer for viewing, managing, and printing XPS files.
  • the ability to digitally sign XPS documents.
  • a new driver model for XPS-compatible printers.

There is an API that allows programmers to integrate their applications and services with XPS. Additional information is available from our .NET common questions.


Q I have MS Vista installed on my workstation. Even when I am not interacting with Vista, I can still hear activity on my hard disk. Is this background activity identical to what occurred under Windows XP?
A SuperFetch is a new type of memory management implemented under MS Vista. It provides the capability to load programs and files much faster than they would on Windows XP-based PCs. SuperFetch monitors which applications are most heavily used and preloads them into system memory in order that they will ready when needed. When a workstation is not being actively used, background tasks such as automatic backup programs and antivirus scans run. MS Vista also has the capability to provide higher priority to important programs that are infrequently used.

Q Why has Vista, the newest Microsoft Windows operating system, not been universally implemented both in business and on home systems. What is its future?
A There are several reasons.
1. Since its roll-out in 2007, Microsoft has not delivered on all the capabilities and productivity enhancements associated with the Vista featureset that it promised. Our experience is consistent with what has been reported in the New York Times regarding comments made by Microsoft managers:
The discovery that certain printers, regular scanner, and film scanner lack Vista drivers.
That a new laptop with the Windows Vista Capable stickers lacked the necessary graphics chip and can neither run a video-editing software.

However, Microsoft has been making progress addressing these problems. And over time, there is reason to believe that Vista will be perfected and eventually become a mainstay operating system.
2. The minimum hardware configuration was not realistic in terms of realizing acceptable reasonable performance or the promise of running the complete Vista featureset.
3. For the first time since OS/2 in the mid 1990's, there is now a significantly less expensive alternative operating system and open source software, which can perform well, albeit without the visual wizardry, on the existing Intel hardware. In response, Microsoft has reduced the retail price for MS Vista.

SYS-ED courses teach not only Vista, but the pros and cons associated with using Vista with different releases of the MS Office 2003, 2007, 2010.

Q We are a small business with 15 employees and 25 PCs, we utilize the workgroup model for our Microsoft network. The network was assembled piece-meal and consists of Windows ME, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP workstations and a Windows 2003 file server. We encounter a great deal of difficulty in performing remote administration and need guidance for designing and implementing a maintenance and security plan. Do you have any suggestions?
A The suggestions that we have are as follows:
1. Have the version of the operating system installed, with all of the service packs and on-line updates installed.

This will ensure that your network will have all the cumulative fixes and modifications that Microsoft has made and afford you the best opportunity of having a trouble free network.

2. Have the identical hardware and operating system installed.

This will make it easier to implement an efficient installation method which can be deployed on all the machines uniformly. And your remote network tool will work uniformly.

3. Consider going to the domain model.

There are significant advantages in using this model in terms of security, administration, and scalability. The major disadvantages are the price of a dedicated server and the time required for planning, designing, and installing the network.

Implementing items 1 and 2 will make your operations far more efficient and reduce your training costs - both in the out-of-pocket costs and time spent training. Instead of learning 5 operating systems; you will only have to learn one. SYS-ED offers over 30 Microsoft operating and networking courses both for business and IT professionals specific to either an operational requirement or Microsoft certification standard.

There are major differences in the security options on the different operating systems. As soon as possible, either convert the file system to NTFS by upgrading to a Microsoft operating system which offers that capability: Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003.


Q Our office uses an outside service for the installation and maintenance of our operating systems, application software, and Internet connectivity. We want to reduce our dependency and the cost spent on the service; can SYS-ED help us and which courses should we take?
A We offer both courses and training programs which can help you. What is critical is to establish a realistic baseline of your experience with the software (what you really know) and your operational objectives. The acquisition of a specific skillset and knowledge base will help you work more efficiently and make your employer less dependent upon an outside service. We also teach courses designed to prepare you to pass the Microsoft certification exams. This type of training is much more rigorous and exacting and typically helpful in terms of defining a career path. We would suggest that you start either with the Microsoft Networking course or a course specific to the Microsoft operating system that you use. And donít take the courses in rapid succession; space them out in order that you can apply what you learn and become comfortable and proficient.

Q How important are web servers and what are the implications in terms of Microsoft operating systems?
A Web servers in conjunction with the publishing of web content will be the next great mass market for computer technology. The widespread acceptance of web servers, will to a certain extent mirror the roll out of the millions of PCís and Macintosh in the 1980's and 1990's. The major difference being that web servers are software. The rollout has started with large companies and overtime, an increasing number of both smaller companies and individuals will set up their own webs servers instead of using an Internet Service Provider. Microsoft has a web server that it includes with its operating system free of charge: Internet Information Server: IIS. All of the major proprietary web servers - IBM WebSphere, Oracle WLS: WebLogic Server, and Oracle AS: Application Server install on Microsoft server software: Windows NT Server, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2003 Server, and Windows 2008 Server. We teach all of the component software required for configuring web servers; networking, TCP/IP, Microsoft Windows Servers, and IIS.

Q With increasing frequency, I hear and read about different types of viruses. I am the owner of a small business and what can I do to prevent viruses from spreading throughout my Microsoft network?
A Viruses can infect and be introduced to a network either from an internal source such as a disk drive or self-burned CD or external source such as a e-mail or through an Internet web browser.

Each Microsoft operating system and system software product has options and properties that can be configured for tailored security. We demonstrate and teach them in all of our Microsoft courses - Windows, Internet Explorer, Proxy Server, and IIS. A general recommendations are to purchase virus software such as Symantec Anti-virus software and Norton Utilities and work closely with your ISP in order to understand the capabilities of your firewall support.


Q I have heard quite a few people talking about Linux; should we be consider it as an alternative to Microsoft operating systems and networking?
A Linux is an excellent operating system and gaining widespread acceptance as the base operating system for the emerging web server market: Apache, WebSphere, and WebLogic. However, unless you are an IT professional or work for an organization with a large support staff, it is a far more difficult operating system to learn than Microsoftís products primarily because of the interface and tools. Microsoft still commands well over 90% of the market in North America and will be the common foundation for small and large enterprises alike. There are two caveats. Linux is essentially a free operating system; outside of North America, more specifically, China, South America, Australia, and parts of Europe, governments of these countries are committed to Linux as their operating system. Second, there are usability enhancements and new Linux utilities are coming to market.