Troubleshoot SharePoint solutions

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

The following problems or alerts might occur when you debug SharePoint solutions by using the Visual Studio debugger. For more information, see Debugging SharePoint 2007 Workflow Solutions.

Token restrictions in sandboxed visual web parts

Visual web parts in sandboxed solutions can't process standard tokens, such as $SPUrl, that the SharePoint runtime supports. As a result, the URL isn't resolved, and you can't preview the content in Design view in the visual web part designer if you refer to it directly in a script element, such as in the following example:

<script src="<% $SPUrl:~site/SiteAssets/ListOperations.js %>"></script>

To work around this limitation and resolve the token, refer to it by using literals:

<asp:literal ID="Literal1" runat="server" Text="<script src='" />
<asp:literal ID="Literal2" runat="server" Text="<% $SPUrl:~site/SiteAssets/ListOperations.js %>" />
<asp:literal ID="Literal3" runat="server" Text="' type='text/javascript' ></script>" />

Character restrictions in names of projects and project items

Names of projects and project items can contain only characters that are valid in a deployment path in SharePoint 2010. No other characters are allowed.

Error message

"Invalid characters" error message.


For names of SharePoint projects and project items, use only the following characters:

  • Alphanumeric ASCII characters

  • Space

  • Period (.)

  • Comma (,)

  • Underscore (_)

  • Dash (-)

  • Backslash (\)

    When a project is packaged, a validation rule verifies that the deployment-path property for each file you're deploying contains only these valid characters.

Errors when creating custom fields

In Visual Studio, custom fields are defined in XML. Errors can occur if a field isn't defined or referenced by using a specific format.

Error message

"Invalid characters" error message at packaging time.


The ID for a field definition must be a GUID surrounded by braces, as the following example shows:

<Field ID="{5744d18c-305e-4632-8bd1-09d134f4830d}"
    DisplayName="Patient Name"
    Group="A Custom Group">

As the following example shows, a field reference in a content type must be defined by using the empty element format (<FieldRef />), not by using start/end elements (<FieldRef></FieldRef>):

<FieldRef ID="{5744d18c-305e-4632-8bd1-09d134f4830d}"
    DisplayName="Patient Name"

If the source XML for the field is malformed, isn't a valid XML file, or exhibits some other problem, the error "Cannot parse file" occurs.

New non-English site definitions do not appear in site creation page after deployment

After you create and deploy a site definition by using a non-English version of Visual Studio (that is, a version with a locale ID other than 1033), the SharePoint Customizations tab doesn't appear in the Template Selection box and the new site template doesn't appear in the New SharePoint Site page.

Error message



This problem occurs because of an incorrect value in the Path property for the webtemp site definition configuration file, such as webtemp_SiteDefinitionProject1.xml. In the Path property for the webtemp file, located under the Deployment Location, change 1033 to the appropriate locale ID. For example, to use a Japanese locale change the value to 1041. For more information, see Locale IDs Assigned by Microsoft.

Error appears when a workflow project is deployed on a clean system

This problem occurs if you deploy a workflow project in Visual Studio on a clean system. A clean system is a computer that has a fresh installation of Visual Studio and SharePoint but no deployed workflow projects.

Error message

Cannot find the SharePoint list: Workflow History.


This error occurs because of a missing Workflow History list. Because the development environment is a clean system, no workflows are deployed and the Workflow History list does not exist yet. To resolve this issue, reopen the workflow wizard, which causes the Workflow History list to be created.

To reenter the workflow wizard

  1. In Solution Explorer, choose the workflow node.

  2. In the Properties window, choose the ellipsis (...) button on any property that has an ellipsis button.

User must refresh application page in browser while debugging to view updated image

If you are debugging a SharePoint solution that contains an application page with a control that displays an image, such as an HTML Image control, you must refresh the page in the browser to display any changes that were made to the image.

Error: The site location is not valid

This problem can occur if SharePoint Server is not installed. It might also occur if you do not have administrator access to the SharePoint Web site that is specified in the SharePoint Customization Wizard.

Error message

  • SharePoint site location is not valid.


Site deletion web event does not occur in event receiver project

When you create an event receiver project and you select certain Web events such as "a site is being deleted," the event never occurs.

Error message



This problem occurs because the feature scope must be "Site" to handle site-level events, but the default feature scope for event receiver projects is "Web". The Web events affected are:

  • A site is being deleted (WebDeleting)

  • A site was deleted (WebDeleted)

  • A site is being moved (WebMoving)

  • A site was moved (WebMoved)

    To fix the problem, change the feature scope of the event receiver, as follows.

To change the feature scope of the event receiver

  1. In Solution Explorer, open the event receiver's .feature file in the Feature Designer by either double-clicking the file or opening its shortcut menu and then choosing Open.

  2. Choose the arrow next to Scope, and then choose Site in the list that appears.

Deployment error appears after the name of an identifier in a business data connectivity model project is changed

This problem occurs if you change the identifier name of an entity in a Business Data Connectivity (BDC) model and then try to deploy the solution.

Error messages

  • <model name> has the following External Content Type activation errors ...

  • The IMetadataObject with Name '<model name>' has a value in Field 'name' that is duplicated ...


To resolve this issue, delete the model manually, and then deploy the solution again. You can delete the model by using either of the following tools:

  • SharePoint 2010 Central Administration. For more information, see BDC Model Management on the Microsoft TechNet Web site.

  • Windows PowerShell. You can delete the model by typing this command at the command prompt: Remove-SPBusinessDataCatalogModel. For more information, see General cmdlets (SharePoint Server 2010) on the Microsoft TechNet Web site.

Deployment error occurred trying to recycling the IIS Application Pool on the SharePoint Server

This problem occurs if the IIS 6 WMI Compatibility feature and .NET Framework 3.5 are not installed on the SharePoint Server machine.

Error messages

  • Error occurred in deployment step 'Recycle IIS Application Pool': Invalid namespace
  • Error occurred in deployment step 'Recycle IIS Application Pool': A task was canceled.


To resolve this issue, on the SharePoint Server machine, check to see if the Windows feature IIS 6 WMI Compatibility is installed,

  • Windows PowerShell. You can check if the feature is installed by running this PowerShell command: get-windowsfeature -name Web-WMI. If it does not show as being Installed, you can install it by running the following PowerShell command: install-windowsfeature -name Web-WMI. If you still see errors trying to recycle the Application Pool, make sure .NET Framework 3.5 is also installed on the machine by running get-windowsfeature -name NET-Framework-Core and install-windowsfeature -name NET-Framework-Core if it is not.

An error appears when you try to view a visual web part in SharePoint

This problem occurs when the Path property of the user control does not begin with the string "CONTROLTEMPLATES\".

Error messages

  • The file '/_CONTROLTEMPLATES/<project name>/<Web Part name>/<user control name>.ascx' does not exist.

  • Server Error in '/' Application.


To resolve this issue

  1. In Solution Explorer, choose the user control file, whose file name extension is .ascx.

  2. On the menu bar, choose View > Properties Window.

  3. In the Properties window, expand the Deployment Location node.

  4. Ensure that the value of the Path property starts with the string "CONTROLTEMPLATES\".

Error appears when an imported reusable workflow that contains a task form field is run

This problem occurs if you import a workflow that contains a task form that has a field, and then run the new workflow on the same system from which you imported it.

Error message

Error occurred in deployment step 'Activate Features': The field with Id [Guid] defined in feature [Guid] was found in the current site collection or in a subsite.


This error is the result of field ID collisions that occur because the Import Reusable Workflow project in Visual Studio does not change task form field IDs. If you deploy an imported workflow on the same server that contains the original workflow, field ID collisions occur.

To resolve this issue, use the Find and Replace feature to change the value of the Field ID attribute in all of the imported workflow files.

Error appears when a renamed imported list instance is run

This problem occurs if you rename an imported list instance and then run it in Visual Studio.

Error message

Build error: Error occurred in deployment step 'Activate Features': The file Template\Features\[import projectfeaturename]\Files\Lists\[oldlist name]\Schema.xml does not exist.


When you import a list instance, an attribute named CustomSchema is added to the Elements.xml file of the list instance. Elements.xml includes the path of a custom schema.xml for the list instance. When you rename the list instance in Visual Studio, the deployment path for the custom schema.xml changes, but the path value of the CustomSchema attribute is not updated. As a result, the list instance cannot find the schema.xml file in the old path that is specified by the CustomSchema attribute when the feature is activated.

To resolve this issue, update the path of the deployment location of the schema.xml file in the CustomSchema attribute.

SharePoint debugging session terminated by IIS

This problem occurs if you set a breakpoint in a Visual Studio SharePoint solution, choose the F5 key to run it, and then remain at a breakpoint longer than 90 seconds.

Error message

The Web server process that was being debugged has been terminated by Internet Information Services (IIS). You can avoid this problem by configuring Application Pool ping settings in IIS. See help for further details.


By default, the IIS application pool waits 90 seconds for an application to respond before it closes the application. This process is known as "pinging" the application. To resolve this issue, you can either increase the wait time or disable application pinging entirely.

To access the IIS app pool settings

  1. Open IIS Manager.

  2. In the Connections pane, expand the SharePoint server node, and then choose the Application Pools node.

  3. On the Application Pools page, choose the SharePoint application pool (typically "SharePoint - 80"), and then, in the Actions pane, choose the Advanced Settings link.

  4. To increase the wait time before IIS timeout, change the value of Ping Maximum Response Time (seconds) to a value that's larger than 90 seconds.

  5. To disable IIS pinging, set Ping Enabled to False.

Auto-retract leaves orphaned list instance in SharePoint

This problem occurs if you take the following steps.

  1. Create a list definition that has a list instance in Visual Studio.

  2. Choose the F5 key to run the solution.

  3. Stop debugging, or close the SharePoint site.

  4. Reopen the SharePoint site and open the list instance.

Error message

Server Error in '/' Application.


This happens because after you close a debug session of a SharePoint solution, the auto-retract feature retracts the solution. The retraction deletes the list definition from SharePoint but does not delete the instance of the list. The underlying list definition is required by the list instance.

To resolve this issue, deploy the solution by, on the menu bar, choosing Build > Deploy. (Don't debug the solution by choosing the F5 key.) Then, delete the list instance in SharePoint.

Original SharePoint solution is replaced by an exported version

If you export a SharePoint solution, import the solution into Visual Studio, and then deploy the solution back to the same site from which it was exported, the original SharePoint solution is replaced. This problem does not occur if you deploy the solution to a server that does not have the original solution activated on it.

Error message



To avoid overwriting a solution on the site from which it was exported, change the GUIDs of the SolutionID and the Feature IDs of all the imported features in the Visual Studio project.

Error appears when debugging starts

When you start to debug a SharePoint solution in Visual Studio, an error indicates that Visual Studio couldn't load the Web.config file because the given key wasn't in the dictionary.

Error message

Could not load the Web.config configuration file. Check the file for any malformed XML elements and try again. The following error occurred: The given key was not present in the dictionary.


To resolve this problem, make sure that the Site URL property value of the SharePoint project in Visual Studio matches the URL that's assigned to the Default Zone for the alternate access mappings of the web application. You can't resolve the error by using another zone, such as Intranet, for the URL. The site URL for the project and the URL in the default zone must match. To access alternate access mappings, open the SharePoint 2010 Central Administration utility, choose the Application Management link , and then, under Web Applications, choose the Configure alternate access mappings link. For more information, see Create zones for Web applications.

See also