Free SharePoint 2010 Foundation add-ons everyone should have


We have several customers who use SharePoint 2010 Foundation and are constantly trying to get the most out of the product, envious of what SharePoint standard and enterprise can do, frustrated by Foundations limitations but liking its price tag.

I’ve compiled a list of useful add-on’s here but I’ll come back and keep adding to it as we find more that are note worthy.

Continue reading “Free SharePoint 2010 Foundation add-ons everyone should have”

Mount-SPContentDatabase and Test-SPContentDatabase fail with either Invalid object name ‘Sites’ or ‘Webs’


While trying to restore some SharePoint 2010 “content” databases I kept on getting errors about invalid objects… Found some links talking about incorrect SharePoint versions but as it turned out that all it was because the databases were service application database backups with slightly ambiguous names, not content databases.

Continue reading “Mount-SPContentDatabase and Test-SPContentDatabase fail with either Invalid object name ‘Sites’ or ‘Webs’”

Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2013

Today we are at Microsoft’s Cardinal Place offices in London Victoria for ‘Best of MMS’ – a regular fixture in The Full Circle calendar for a rapid-fire immersion in the latest Microsoft System Center technologies.  It’s also a great opportunity to catch-up with key System Center partners, the leader in this space being our good friends at Inframon.


‘Best of MMS’ is a one-day synopsis of the week long main event held in Las Vegas in April – see for the official MSFT site inc. videos, keynotes, etc…

This year’s event is just 1-day at 1-venue (last year was 3), however last year was product launch cycle with the 2012 wave whereas this year is mid-release improvements.

Continue reading “Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2013”

Edition downgrade for SharePoint Search Server Express 2010 from SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise to SQL 2012 Express

DowngradeThis is just a quick post to highlight issues with two SharePoint Search Server Express 2010 databases when downgrading from SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise to SQL 2012 Express (although applies to any Express version, 2008 R2 or higher).

The customer needed to swap out an Enterprise trial version of SQL and replace it with Express since the investment for Enterprise wasn’t forthcoming and neither was the investment for further immediate work in SharePoint.

They were however getting great value from Search within Search Server Express 2010 so didn’t want that to go anywhere, it was the entire companies home page!

Continue reading “Edition downgrade for SharePoint Search Server Express 2010 from SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise to SQL 2012 Express”

Create a SharePoint group with permissions and add an AD group to it



  • Create a SharePoint group in a site collection
  • Assign that group an existing permission for Site Permissions list
  • Add an Active Directory group to that SharePoint group
  • Read the values from a CSV file
  • Repeat for 1000 groups spread across multiple site collections
  • The Site Collection Admin will run the script and be added as owner automatically



function global:New-SPGroup {
#Parameters that the script offers out to use,
# e.g. New-SPGroup -SiteCollection “
http://intranet/sitecollection” -ADGroupName “domain\ADgroup” -SPGroupName “SharePoint Group 1” -SPGroupDescription “Group Description” -SPGroupPermission “Permission”

#Required variabales for dev or single item runs, remove # and highlight from here down to above CSV section in Powershell ISE
#$SiteCollection = “
#$ADGroupName = “domain\adgroup”
#$SPGroupName = “My Test Group A1”
#$SPGroupDescription = “Test Group A1’s Description” #Note: do not use” – ” in description, i.e. space hyphen space
#$SPGroupPermission = “Read”

#Start of script
$site = Get-SPWeb $SiteCollection

#Check if the group already exists
if ($site.SiteGroups[“SPGroupName”] -eq $null)

#Ensure Group/User is part of site collection users beforehand and add them if needed

# Get the AD Group/User in a format that PowerShell can use otherwise there will be a string error
$ADGroupSPFriendly = $site | Get-SPUser $ADGroupName

#Create the SharePoint Group – Group Name, Group Owner, Group Member, Group Description. Can’t add AD group yet…
$NewSPGroup = $site.SiteGroups.Add($SPGroupName, $site.CurrentUser, $site.CurrentUser, $SPGroupDescription)
$NewSPAccount = $site.SiteGroups[“$SPGroupName”]

#Assign the Group permission
$GroupAssignment = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPRoleAssignment($NewSPAccount)
$GroupRole = $site.RoleDefinitions[“$SPGroupPermission”]

#Add the AD Group/User to the group, can’t be done during group creation when using Powershell otherwise errors so is done now.
Set-SPUser -Identity $ADGroupSPFriendly -Web $SiteCollection -Group $SPGroupName

#Read from the CSV input file
#CSV file must have header row – SiteColl, AdSecGroup, SPSecGroupName, SPGroupDesc, SPGroupPerm
#No “” around any items in the CSV file are needed
$csv = Import-csv -path D:\DEVGroupNameCSVFile2.csv
if ($csv -ne $null) {
foreach($line in $csv)
[string]$SiteCollection = $line.SiteColl;
[string]$ADGroupName = $line.AdSecGroup;
[string]$SPGroupName = $line.SPSecGroupName;
[string]$SPGroupDescription = $line.SPGroupDesc;
[string]$SPGroupPermission = $line.SPGroupPerm

New-SPGroup -Site $SiteCollection -ADGroupName $ADGroupName -SPGroupName $SPGroupName -SPGroupDescription $SPGroupDescription -SPGroupPermission $SPGroupPermission;


I hope someone else finds this script useful since all I found on the web were partial answers at best, and with a few solutions that didn’t match the requirement.

Errors encountered along the way and running the script

“You cannot add a domain group to a group.” – You can however add your AD group to the SharePoint group after is it created, just not while you are creating it. Resolved by the last part of the function.

Exception calling “Add” with “4” argument(s): “The specified name is already in use. Please try again with a new name.” – As it implies, this is a duplicate item in your CSV file.


Basis for script –

Additional information that you might find useful –

[aboutme username=”ashley.lawrence”]


How to structure a software media library folder

Most of our commercial customers with The Full Circle ( aren’t technology businesses so managing software isn’t what they do.
Whilst we often perform this as part of a managed service, we still implement a software library (AKA Media Library) for them comprising of their software installers, ISO images, drivers, patches, etc… which makes various rollout & upgrade activities easier & faster in the long run and easier to audit when the time comes.

Having been asked a few times what this structure looks like I thought I’d do a post on it. It’s a very small piece of the data storage puzzle but one which makes life a lot easier for techie and companies with a lot of software assets.

Once in place, the next step is to carefully decide who has write access. No easy task figuring out who you can trust to put things in the right place, but one thing is for sure whatever you decide – it should be read only by default and write access by exception. The best practise would be to have several people nominated as librarians but this isn’t always possible. Whether you store your licence/activation keys here though is down to your businesses policy. Some prefer to keep them secure in something like Keypass, while other are comfortable keeping keys in text files along with the media.

In the ITIL world this structure be known as the Definitive Software Library or DSL.

The core structure follows this basic pattern:

Documentation >
Drivers > Major Driver Categories >
Major Platform Binaries >Vendor > Package/Package Group >Product Version >




You can download a zip of the folder structure here –

Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2012 – Launching System Center 2012

Microsoft Cardinal Place, Victoria, London


On May 17th we attended one of our regular annual fixtures ‘Best of MMS’ which is a one-day (at 3 UK venues) synopsis of the week long main event held in Las Vegas in the spring – see for the official MSFT site inc. videos keynotes, etc…

Microsoft described the event with:
“We have a very exciting wave of new product launches and announcements for the Microsoft Private Cloud in 2012 – starting with the release of System Center 2012, which allows you to manage your virtual, physical, and cloud environments from a single console, using common and consistent management experiences that provide full control across your existing datacentre investments.

We have also introduced a new edition line-up and simplified licensing for System Center 2012 to address both your server and client management needs – including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator, Endpoint Protection, and App Controller.

Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2012– This 1-day event will provide you with the best possible opportunity to learn about what’s new in System Center 2012 and our next step forward in the Microsoft Private Cloud vision, strategy and roadmap – with deep dive sessions on infrastructure management, service delivery & automation, application management, desktop & device management – whichis an opportunity you won’t want to miss!”

In addition there were 12 exhibiting and sponsoring partners – 1E, Avnet, Bytes, Computer 2000, EACS, HP, Risual, Silversands, Trinity, Ultima, Veeam, and of course our good friends at Inframon – Gordon McKenna, Sean Roberts, and Clive Donaghue.

The agenda for the day and our notes on the sessions are below:

09.30-10.00 Microsoft’s Private Cloud: Built For The Future, Ready Now
Mike Schutz, General Manager for Windows Server & Management


Opened with a flashy marketing video describing some of the new features of Microsoft’s private & public cloud management solutions

– Product Marketing 
– Trends – Cloud computing, Continuous Services and Connected Devices
– Cloud Definition (yet more)
– Pooled Resources, Self Service, Elastic, Usage Based
– Cloud Drivers
– Agility, Economics, Innovation
– Microsoft Hybrid Cloud – stitched together with common technologies
– Identity, Virtualisation, Management, Development
– Private Cloud Focus
– All about the App, Cross-Platform from the metal up, Foundation for the future, Cloud on Your Terms
– TAP video interview with the business that were involved

10.00-10.30 What’s New in System Center 2012
Matt McSpirit, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Server & Cloud Platform Team

We’ve known Matt since his early days at Microsoft when Microsoft virtualisation meant Virtual Server 2005 and later worked with him on the Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP with Hyper-V v2 (more on EAP’s and The Full Circle’s involvement in the development of Hyper-V 2008 R2 at
Matt has deep technical knowledge combined with skill as a presenter, and thorough understanding of what the business needs means his sessions are always worth a watch – today was no exception.

System Center 2012 brings a host of new and improved features over previous releases and really does span the management gap between Private and Public Cloud Infrastructures with Heterogeneous support to integrate a wide range of technologies into a coherent private cloud.

System Center 2012 comprises:

– App Controller
– Operations Manager
– Orchestrator
– Service Manager
– Virtual Machine Manager
– Data Protection Manager
– Endpoint Protection
– Configuration Manage

Areas of improvement cover:

– Process automation
– Self-service infrastructure
– Deep application monitoring and problem diagnosis
– Standardized provisioning of application service
– Simplified management of applications
– Application self-service  across clouds
– Flexible delegation with control
– Physical, virtual, and cloud management

more at


10.30-11.00 BREAK

11.00-12.00 Infrastructure & Fabric Management
Julius Davies, DataCenter Technology Specialist

Another no-nonsense, articulate, and technically deep presenter able to take a topic offline well into level-400 and beyond which is no surprise considering Julius has been working on Windows since when IBM & Microsoft were still working on the likes of OS/2 😉


Data Centre and Private Cloud

Self service > fills in a form > reaches into backend infrastructure and provisions service >

13.00-14.00 Service Delivery & Automation

Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Manager, coupled with the rest of the System Center suite, delivers industry best practice capabilities for managing your data center and adhering to Industry Best Practices. This session presented how the System Center suite supports industry frameworks like ITIL and MOF with the features introduced in the 2012 release.

14.00-15.00 Application Management

sorry we ducked out on Service Manager, there were offline conversations to be had on partnering opportunities with HP & Microsoft on getting Hyper-V to 50% of the market by 2014..

15.30-16.30 Desktop & Device Management

End users are bringing consumer devices into the organisation – iPhones, iPads, Tablets and Smartphone’s are now part of the corporate environment. All of this is adding pressure for client administrators to deal with this influx of diverse devices.
Microsoft Client management technologies such as the new version of Intune in beta wave, along with their partners’ (that’ll be us then – see, can help IT enable consumerisation.

Great demo showing a simple app deployment across iOS (iPad & iPhone), Android, and of course, Windows Phone.

Intune at

Intune Beta (April 2012 pre-release) Sign Up Now

16.30-17.00 NETWORKING & CLOSE

A bunch of the ‘usual suspects’ headed to Brown’s across the road – last time we were out with some of this lot it got quite early.. this time Reuben showed his determination on day-2 of a 9-day detox and left after two sparkling waters – fitter for next time!

Later heard that it was unfortunately dampened by some tea-leaf nicking Stuart’s bag with virtually his whole work life in it – sorry to hear it Stuart and hope you’ve now recovered from the obvious pain – thoughts with you.