SharePoint Frustrations

In Michael Noel’s article, “5 SharePoint Frustrations You Can Overcome” (April 2010, InstantDoc ID 103567), I read something that I don’t totally agree with. I've seen this error a few times, so I felt the need to comment.

Regarding Noel's "Content Database Management" section, it's possible to use the Central Administration GUI to determine which content database your new site collection will be created in. The solution isn't elegant, but it works for creating site collections in new and existing content databases and doesn't require that you use Stsadm. Follow these steps:

  1.  In the Application Management section, access the Content Databases link.
  2.  In the upper right corner, make sure you're in the correct Web Application. If you aren’t, change to the correct one.
  3.  Click the link for each Content Database you have listed under the Database Name heading.
  4.  When the Manage Content Database Settings page opens, set the Database Status to Offline, then click OK. The system will take you back to the Manage Content Databases page, where the database you just changed should now appear as Stopped.
  5. Click the Add a Content Database link, and create a new content database. Don't make any changes to the Database Status setting. It will appear as Started in the list of Content Databases. You'll also notice that the Current Number of Sites will equal 0.
  6. Navigate to the SharePoint Site Management section, and create your new site collection.
  7. Return to the Manage Content Databases list, and you'll see that the Content Database you just created now shows that the Current Number of Sites equals 1.

You've just created a new site collection in the content database of your choice. As long as a content database is in the Stopped state, no new site collections can be created within that content database. You can still create sites—or, more accurately, Webs—but not site collections.

If you had 15 content databases in the list, and all were in the Stopped state, and you tried to create a new site collection, SharePoint would throw an error message. Pick the content database you want your new site collection to reside in, set the state to Started, and you'll be able to create the site collection in the database you want.

—Jay Simcox

 Thanks for writing! I respectfully disagree that my article contains an error. Let me clarify: You're correct that you can use the GUI to accomplish this task. In fact, I mention that in the article. However, you don't need to set the database to a Stopped status to do it. SharePoint uses an algorithm to determine which content database will house a new site collection. This algorithm is based on how much available capacity exists across all content databases. So, the best way to do this is to simply raise the maximum number of sites in the database you want to a very high number, then create the new site collection, which will now go to the database with the most available ‘room,' so to speak.

The problem with setting the databases to Stopped is that doing so also prevents site collection admins or anyone in a site from creating sub-sites. In a small environment, that might not be a big deal, but in a large environment it can be a huge concern, as you would effectively prevent everyone from creating new sites or workspaces for the duration of any site-collection creation. Also, when you have a large number of databases, setting them all to Stopped status and changing them back becomes tedious. It’s a common misconception that you have to set them all to Stopped to get them to go into the right database; a better option is to raise the maximum number of sites in the content database, as I indicated in the article. Try my solution: You’ll find that it works every time, but be sure to set the number very high to ensure that the algorithm puts it in the new database.

I cover this topic in my upcoming SharePoint 2010 Unleashed book. In addition, you can check out the Shared Points for SharePoing blog (blogs.msdn.com/mcsnoiwb/archive/2007/08/20/how-to-create-site-collection-in-a-specific-content-database.aspx).

In any case, the point of the article was to show you the silliness of having to go through these types of loopholes to accomplish something relatively simple. Microsoft should simply have a mechanism in the GUI that lets you specify a content database.

Michael Noel 

Choosing a Smartphone

I read Brian Winstead’s article, “Choosing a Smartphone: The OS” (April 2010, InstantDoc ID 103473). Last year, I bought an AT&T HTC Touch with Windows Mobile 6.1. Stay clear! I think most of my problems were related to Windows Mobile 6.1. I got lucky and discovered a website that showed how to re-flash the device, so I upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.5. It's at least bearable now. (I can't tell you how many times I nearly threw the device on the pavement and stomped on it.)

One thing to consider—and the factor that ultimately drove me toward this particular phone—was that I didn't want to pay $50 per month for a data plan. I just don't want to browse the web on a 3" screen. Most phones (e.g., from Apple and Google) require you to get the data plan. The guys at T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T simply wouldn't sell their nice phones without one.

—Douglas Nebeker

Thanks for sharing your personal experience on the HTC Touch and Windows Mobile 6.1. Because of HTC's great reputation, I looked seriously at the HTC Imagio on Windows Mobile 6.5 but ultimately heard too many stories of freeze-ups and poor performance. As for the data plan problem, you're right that it should be a major consideration. However, since my employer is covering the plan, I didn't have control over that detail. I knew from the beginning that I needed something on Verizon, and the data plan was included. My situation probably echoes those of many people shopping for business-use phones.

I’ve since written a few other articles on this topic, and in fact I've chosen—and begun using— the Motorola Droid. Also, I’ll be writing a more in-depth Market Watch article for the July issue, about the various mobile OSs and devices and what IT shops need to do to support them.

  • "Choosing a Smartphone: The Hardware," www.windowsitpro.com/go/winsteadhardware
  • "Choosing a Smartphone: The Features," www.windowsitpro.com/go/winsteadfeatures
  • "Choosing a Smartphone: My Choice," www.windowsitpro.com/go/winsteadmychoice
  • "The Wonderful World of Droid," www.windowsitpro.com/go/winsteadwonderfuldroid

—Brian Keith Winstead

Inventor of the PC

Thank you, Paul Thurrott, for mentioning Ed Roberts in WinInfo Daily UPDATE (April 2, 2010). I'm sorry about Ed’s passing and will gratefully remember him. MITS gave me my start in the computer industry in 1976, when I first met Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and many other great young computer enthusiasts. Thank you for helping people understand that a small company in Albuquerque—and not IBM or Apple—really created the industry that supports the world today.

—Randall Huddleston, President, Censerve Consulting

 

What’s So Bad About Vista?

I've been reading Paul Thurrott’s WinInfo News for years and generally agree with his comments. But I have to wonder: Exactly what's so bad about Windows Vista? The supposed faults have totally escaped me from its release date to the debut of Window 7.

Before switching to Windows 7 (which I've been very happy with), I ran Vista for years, and as a Visual C++ developer, I have a greater understanding of an OS than the average user. I never once had to re-install one of my Vista computers; they never misbehaved. In fact, I couldn't really fault Vista at all throughout the years I used it across all machines.

I struggle to understand the constant press about how bad Vista was and how great Windows 7 is. Actually, Windows 7 is about the same as Vista. OK, it’s faster to boot up and shut down, and the UI is slightly nicer in some respects. But the Windows 7 experience is hardly different from that of Vista.

—Nic Wilson

 

Disabled Virtualization on 64-Bit Processors

Regarding John Savill’s FAQ (InstantDoc ID 104690) about 64-bit processors that can’t be used for virtualization, there have been a \\[very\\] few cases in which laptop manufacturers have disabled virtualization capabilities to increase battery life of the laptop. (I don't know whether the change was permanent or could be changed in the BIOS.)

If that's the case, I believe the manufacturer is shortchanging the client. If I bought a laptop with virtualization capabilities, it should be my decision to enable or disable them. I should at least be notified that it's been disabled and given the option to enable it. Imagine buying a car with the air conditioning disabled because it uses extra gas!

—Ed Braiter