Project Demo Image–Excel Services problem after SP1 upgrade

Excel Services ErrorAnother Update: Thanks to SeaMonkey76 in the MSDN forums pointing out that this issue is fixed in the October 2011 SharePoint CU (, so get patching :)

Update: A couple of readers have pointed out that this behaviour is is the norm where there isn’t a root site and it’s best practice to implement one. I totally agree and have run into situations where things like InfoPath have ceased to work due to this. The purpose of this post is more for those people that run into this error in the demo image, after an upgrade and can’t figure out why. It took me a little while to track it down, so I just through I would share.

I am posting this in case anyone else runs into a similar problem in Excel Services and to give some search engine index bait.

Following upgrading my IW demo image to SP1 + June CU, I noticed that Excel Services components in the Business Intelligence centre were no longer rendering and consistently showing the loading graphic.

Excel Services - Loading Graphic

On closer inspection, the browser was showing the following error:

Message: Syntax error
Line: 1
Char: 1
Code: 0

Checking the ULS logs showed these error messages:

An internal error occurred.    at Microsoft.Office.Excel.Server.MossHost.MossHost.Microsoft.Office.Excel.Server.Host. IEwaHost.IsSecureConnection()     at Microsoft.Office.Excel.WebUI.EwaCUIDataSource.EnsureDocument()     at Microsoft.Web.CommandUI.CUIDataSource.RunQuery(UIQuery query)     at Microsoft.Office.Excel.WebUI.EwaRibbon.QueryRibbonDataSource(CultureInfo uiCulture, String clientID, Boolean denormalizeImareUri)     at Microsoft.Office.Excel.WebUI.EwaStringsHandler.ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)


Watson bucket parameters: SharePoint Server 2010, ULSException14, 5f9be61a “excel services application”, 0e00178d “14.0.6029.0”, f5b5c9d6 “”, 0e001785 “14.0.6021.0”, 4d65e5e7 “wed feb 23 21:00:23 2011”, 000002d3 “000002d3”, MISSING, 4a6d3421 “nullreferenceexception”, 66326e39 “f2n9”

It seems that Excel Services now needs a site collection to be present in the root of the a web application or it will throw the above error. I am not sure when this behaviour changed, but given the IW Demo Image and Project Demo and Evaluation pack does not install a site at it is necessary to create a blank site collection via Central Admin manually.

Once this is done, the Business Intelligence Centre should start to render the Excel Services components once again.

14 thoughts on “Project Demo Image–Excel Services problem after SP1 upgrade

  1. >>“nullreferenceexception”,

    Alex, there’s a lot of SharePoint Web Parts that refer to .RootWeb somewhere in the code, if your Site Collection doesn’t have one, that’s going to fail. typically it will try to access files or resources located in http:///_Layouts.

    Something to keep in mind I guess, always have a “RootWeb”


    • Thanks Ed,

      Yes I am aware that other components of SharePoint will crack it if there is no root site, specifically InfoPath is one I have run into several times before. The reason for this post was to highlight the behaviour change specifically on the IW + PS demo image which causes the Excel Services to go into perpetual loading due to the lack of root site :)

      I didn’t know you read my blog :) It’s the Visio post isn’t it? ;)

  2. This worked for me. Great post. Having a root site collection (I just used a blank site) in application “project” did the trick. I did install kb2510639, sp1 for office web apps and sharepoint foundation 2010 sp1 and the June cu before installing sharepoint server sp1

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  4. Thank you! I’ve been stuck for 6 days on this one. We thought it was the Office Viewing Cache – it took over one of our content databases and created an unexpected site. Further investigation showed that the Office Viewing Cache was not getting accessed. Your post gave us the answer. I really appreciate it!

  5. Alex, top man – you saved my bacon on a CU site where their 3rd party IT guys had “badly” built the server. This was the last thing I had issues with, and it worked a treat. BTW – can you email that photo over from the project conf? Great to meet you there :).
    Regards, Ben.

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