Ignite 2015 Wrap up

For the past few days I was lucky enough to attend the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago to hear about all the new stuff coming from Microsoft and I have to tell you, it’s pretty exciting.

Microsoft Ignite 2015

The conference itself was massive, over 23,000 attendees as a result of merging Tech Ed, Microsoft Management Summit, the SharePoint Conference, Project Conference, Exchange Conference and Lync Conferences together. If I had to think about it, I would say it was a little too big and Project looked to suffer for it, but their was some great content.

The keynote was massive, but seemed a little disjointed. Talking to a number of people, it felt as if all the good stuff had been announced earlier or at Build the week before. Ignoring that though, there was some great demo’s from Julia White and my ex-colleague Ben Walters. The highlight had to be Gurdeep Pall (sorry Ben) , who was funny and engaging.

SharePoint 2016 Roadmap Investment Areas

This conference was to be the coming out party for SharePoint 2016, and whilst it’s still early days for the on-premises product, there were some key announcements, including:

  • MinRole concept – simplifying the ability to define which roles servers will take and the knock on effect of significantly reducing the patching overhead
  • Hybrid – SharePoint 2016 on-premises will make hybrid a first class citizen and augment on-premises capabilities with cloud services
  • Next Gen Portals – Awesome ready to go, quick and simple portals that can be up in a matter of minutes
  • Improved Management Tooling including zero downtime patching – Wow
  • Fast Site Creation – Sites will be created within the DB, instead of having to create templates with their various feature dependencies, making the process much much simpler.
  • and finally, the official announcement of the merging of the Project DB into the SharePoint Content DB.

I’ve heard about the merging for a while now for Project Online and it’s a pretty impressive achievement. When a PWA instance was first created, Project Online used to provision a Project DB per tenant. So if there were 100’s of tenants, there would be 100s of databases, all needing to be managed, maintained etc. driving up the cost of goods sold (COGS). Now between going live and early 2014, the Project team managed to consolidate all these databases and fold them into the SharePoint Content DB’s without a single incident or impact on availability. A massive achievement for the team at Project.

From a Project perspective, there were a couple of great sessions where with demo’s and announcements of new capabilities including the new multiple timeline support for Project Pro and the new Resource Engagements capability, both of which I will cover in a bit more detail in other posts.

Multiple Timelines

Finally, there was an interesting session on Project Online Customisation Best Practices, which gave some great insights into how to performance tune Project Central, although I am not sure I agree that taking the web parts off the page or removing indicators is the way to go.

image

The session was timed to highlight a great new whitepaper published by Microsoft on the subject of Project Online Perf, covering:

  • Choosing the right Permission Mode – SharePoint or Project Server and it’s impact on Queue Processing
  • Project Site Creation – When to create a project site in online to keep demand management workflow moving along quickly
  • PWA Page customisations
  • OData – Using Server Side Filters to improve oData Perf

You can read more of the white paper at https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Project-Online-performance-best-practices-12ba0ebd-c616-42e5-b9b6-cad570e8409c?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US&fromAR=1 or at http://aka.ms/projectonlineperf

All in all Ignite was really big, full of sessions and it’s going to take me a few days physically to get over it, but it was great to catch up with old friends, make new ones and learn. I am looking forward to Ignite 2016!

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Project Server 2010 to 2013 Migration Reference Sheet

Following on from the last few upgrade and migration posts, I thought I would pull together a simple reference sheet that takes you through the migration process from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013.

Project Server 2010 to 2013 Migration Reference Sheet

The sheet takes you through the key steps and commands required to migrate between Project Server 2010 and Project Server 2013.

The reference sheet can be downloaded from http://sdrv.ms/12qUa8M or by clicking on the picture above.

Quick Post : Workflows not working on a PS2010 farm where the Web Front End Service is disabled

I thought I would post this little gem so I don’t forget it. Hopefully it will be of use to someone else as well.

In the last couple of weeks a few people have told me about issues they encountered running Project Server 2010 workflows on a farm where the web front-end service has been deactivated. Deactivating the service can make sense if you are configuring the farm for improved performance by removing the need to listen to and render pages, or when trying to reduce the attack surface (although this is a lesser concern).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it seems that when you turn the services off, you need to tell Project Server that the service has been turned off and to update it’s workflow configuration settings.  Thanks to Sameh, one of the excellent support guys at Nintex who found the procedure hidden away in an MSDN article from August 2010  at

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff459292(v=office.14).aspx

I haven’t had a chance to test if this on a Project Server 2013 farm using the SharePoint 2010 workflow engine, but I would imagine the same will apply.

Some common errors when upgrading / migrating to Project Server 2013

The process of upgrading from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013, or migrating between environments can be quite complex, requiring a number of steps to be completed in the correct order. In this post, I am going to document some of the common and uncommon errors that you may run into. I also intend to update this post as I uncover more.

Unmounted Project Service Database

Unlike SharePoint Content databases, Project Service databases need to be mounted before you can run a Test against them. If you do not mount them, you will see the following error.

Test-SPProjectDatabase : Could not find the ProjectDatabase instance (looking for database name: ‘ProjectWebApp’, service name: ‘demo2013’)

Test-SPProjectDatabase: Could not find the ProjectDatabase instance

To rectify this issue, make sure you mount the Project Database prior using

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name <ProjectServiceDatabaseName> –WebApplication <WebApplicationURL>

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase returns a ‘There are no addresses available for this application’ error.

The ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase is used during an upgrade to convert the four Project Server 2010 databases (Draft, Published, Archive and Reporting) into one consolidated Project Service database with the different schemas.

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase returns a 'There are no addresses avaialble for this application' error

You will see the ‘There are no addresses available for this application’ error if you try and run this command and the Project Service App is not started. To rectify this, navigate to Central Administration and ensure the Project Service App is started and recycle the box, then try again.

Compilation Error – Microsoft.Office.Project.PWA.IDS does not contain a definition for ‘Licence_Copyright_Text’

You may run across this error message when navigating to a PWA instance that originated in Project Server 2010.

Compilation Error – Microsoft.Office.Project.PWA.IDS does not contain a definition for ‘Licence_Copyright_Text’

Compilation Error – Microsoft.Office.Project.PWA.IDS does not contain a definition for ‘Licence_Copyright_Text’

This error occurs when a 2010 PWA site has been mounted but the PWA site wasn’t upgraded using the following command:

Upgrade-SPSite -Identity <PWA URL> -VersionUpgrade

The PWA Settings option is missing from the Site Settings Menu

In Project Server 2013, the Server Settings menu item has been replaced by a PWA Settings option on the Site Settings menu. When performing an upgrade from Project Server 2010, this menu option is not automatically added when using the DB Attach method via PowerShell.

In the screenshot below you can see that the upgrade has been completed successfully, but the PWA Settings option is missing.

PWA Setting menu option not available

To fix this error, ensure you enter the following PowerShell command:

Enable-SPFeature –Identity pwasite –URL <URL of PWA site>

This will enable the pwasite feature which provides the PWA Setting menu link.

Migrating Project Server 2013 database between environments

A common requirement when setting up a new Project Server instance, is to replicate production data back into another environment such as Development or Test. In doing so, you have an environment where you can develop, test configuration changes or even perform training against, without impacting your production Project Server instance.

In this post we will walkthrough migrating data from our production Project Server 2013 environment which will be the source, over to a development / test environment which will be the target using the simple and fool-proof database attach method.

As with all these posts there are a few assumptions:

  • All of your environments are at the same patch level for SharePoint and Project Server
  • The target environment has been ‘cleaned’, removing any existing PWA and SharePoint content and associated databases prior to restoration.
  • You are on the same domain

So let’s get started…

Backup your source databases

On the source environment, backup the SharePoint content database hosting PWA and site collections and the Project Service Database (as this is most likely from a production environment you could always just take a copy of your production backups that you have correct? ;) ).

Restore to your target environment

In your target environment, restore the two databases into SQL, the Project Service Database and the Content DB that contains the PWA site and Project Workspaces you wish to migrate.

Databases Restored

Once restored, check that each of the databases has the correct permissions assigned (db_owner). In my example here, I am using a single account demo box (demo\administrator), but you will need to use the correct account for your environment.

Set Database Owner

Test and Mount the SharePoint Content Database

Before mounting the SharePoint Content database, it is a wise move to Test the Content database against the web app you intend to restore it to. In performing the test, SharePoint will check the contents of the Content DB against the target web application to see if all the features, customisations etc. are present. If they are not, this step will highlight what is missing so you can rectify the problems.

To Test the SharePoint Content DB, enter the following command in a SharePoint Management Shell running as an administrator.

Test-SPContentDatabase –Name <SP Content Database Name> –WebApplication <Web Application URL>

Test-SPContentDatabase Output

In this case you can see there is a missing setup file and web part that I should correct before proceeding, but as the test output shows, they are not Upgrade blocking problems, so I can continue if I wish.

Once the test is complete, the next step is to mount the database using this command:

Mount-SPContentDB –Name <SP Content Database Name>  –WebApplication <Web Application URL>

Mount-SPContentDatabase Output

Again, just like the upgrade you need to make sure you have access to the PWA site collection, to do so, either enter the following command:

Set-SPSite –Identity <URL of PWA Site Collection> –SecondaryOwnerAlias <Domain Account>

Set-SPSite Output

Mount and Test Project Service Database

Next we need to Mount then Test the Project Service Database. This step is slightly different than with the SharePoint Content databases in that you need to mount the database before testing it, however SharePoint will let you test a content database whilst the database is not mounted.

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name <Name of Project Service DB>  –WebApplication <Web Application URL>

Mount-SPProjectDatabase Output

Once mounted, enter the following command to test the Project Service Database:

Test-SPProjectDatabase –Name <Name of Project Service DB>

Test-SPProjectDatabase Output

Here you can see we have a clean bill of health and are fine to proceed to the next stage and wire up the Project Web Instance.

Mount and Test Project Web Instance

Finally, now that the Content database and Project Service database have been mounted into SharePoint, all that is needed is to wire them up together by using the Mount-SPProjectWebInstance command:

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance –DatabaseName <Name of Project Service DB> –SiteCollection <URL of PWA Site>

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance Output

Once mounted, run the test command to check that all is wired up correctly:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance  <URL of PWA site>

From my testing, this will return that one of the tests, the check for the Queue status will return a FailedWarning initially as the queue is starting up, then a few minutes later it will show that the status is Passed.

Test-SPProjectWebInstance Output

There should be no need to enable any features as we are moving from one 2013 environment to another.

Post Migration Tasks

If you development / test environment is running under a different administrator account, then make sure you navigate to Central Administration > Manage Service Apps > Project Server Service App and choose to Edit your Project Server Instance, modifying the Administrator account to be the correct account for your environment.

Edit Project Web App

Next, choose to Manage the PWA instance and use the Bulk Update Connected Project Sites to ensure the workspaces are relinked and reassociated with the correct development / test instance and not still linked to Production. Finally if you have Reports or OLAP cubes, you will need to reconfigure those to work with the restored databases.

And that’s it, all that is outstanding is to test your migration, checking you have access to all the capabilities and data before releasing the environment back to your dev’s or testers.

Oh and one last thing, I would highly recommend once you have migrated your environments that you do something to differentiate the environment from production, either by changing the look and feel / colour scheme, or by editing the main PWA page to but a ‘Welcome to the DEV site’.  You only have to do something in the wrong environment once to realise what a good idea this is Smile

Migrating PS 2010 to PS 2013 Walkthrough

CogsIn this post I am going to take you through the process of migrating Project Server 2010 into Project Server 2013.

Usually there are two ways of doing a migration, either an in place upgrade, where if you were particularly brave, you would take your production system and then run the installer for the new binaries on it to upgrade. I say ‘Brave’ because frequently this method of upgrade would be fraught with danger, not giving you sufficient options for dry runs or rolling back.

The other option was a database attach method, where you would build up your target environment on the new version, then migrate the databases from the old version and ‘do the upgrade’. With Project Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013, Microsoft have finally stopped supporting the in place upgrade, which in my opinion was one of the best moves ever. So for this post, we will be walking through the DB attach migration method, where we will take the four Project Server databases and the associated SharePoint content database and migrating that into Project Server 2013.

Now for the purposes of this walkthrough, I am going to assume the following:

  • You have already built a SharePoint 2013 and Project Server 2013 On Premises solution and performed the base configuration (accounts, binaries, install accounts and run the config wizard)
  • You have created a Project Server 2013 Service App in Central Administration
  • You have started the Project Service on the various servers.
  • We are only migrating the Project Server data and associated content (PWA site and project workspaces), we will not be migrating any additional SharePoint content you have in your source farm
  • You are not changing domains as you migrate the data.

Oh and most importantly, this walkthrough is for instructional purposes only, I accept no responsibility if this doesn’t work and corrupts your data. Backups and snapshots are your friends but no replacement for testing this time and time again before doing it for real.

Backup the Project Server 2010 source environment

To start with we need to back up your PS 2010 environment, ready to migrate it over to the target 2013 environment.

In SQL Server, choose to backup the four Project Server databases and the content database that holds the PWA site collection and Project workspaces. To do this, right click on the database name, choose Tasks and then Backup.

Backup Databases

Now in a real production migration scenario there are a number of other options you may need to consider, including outage notices, restricting users from accessing the system during the migration etc etc. I am not going to cover those here. This is just to give you a broad walk through of the process.

Restore the databases to the Project Server 2013 target environment

Restore the five databases backed up previously to the Project Server 2013 database server using the following method:

Right Click on the Database node and click on Restore Database…

Restore Database

Choose Device (1), select the location where the database backup files are located (2), add the backup device (3), click ok (4) and ok (5) again to commence the restore.

Restore Database - Devices

Repeat the above for each of the databases to be restored.

Once the files have been restored, ensure the databases have the correct permissions to allow the upgrade process to be performed, in my case this was granting my setup account access db_owner access.

Set Database Permissions

On the target farm, open up a SharePoint Management Shell in Administrator mode (ensure you have logged onto an account with sufficient privileges to perform the upgrade).

Test and Mount the SharePoint content database

The first step in the migration process is to mount the SharePoint content which includes the PWA site content, the Project Detail Pages, and Project Workspaces that were created under the PWA site and any custom lists or libraries you may have added.

Before doing the actual migration, 2013 provides a couple of handy PowerShell commands to ‘test’ the databases against the target environment before performing the migration. In this case, the test command will analyse the SharePoint content database and highlight any items referenced in the database that may not be present in the target environment, like missing web parts, features etc.

To run the test command, enter the following in the Management Shell prompt:

Test-SPContentDatabase -Name <databasename> –WebApplication <web application name>

(of course replacing the items in the ’s with your values). In my example I entered the following:

Test-SPContentDatabase -Name PWA_WSS_Content_80 –WebApplication http://demo2013

and received the following results:

Test-SPContentDatabase output

Here the test command has identified a number of issues in the content database including missing assemblies and in this case that the content database is a Classic mode (the default for 2010) and the target web application is in Claims mode (the new default in 2013) and provides some steps to rectify it.

Notice at the top you can also see whether the problem found would block the upgrade or is an error. The goal of this step is to test, identify and then rectify any conditions that may impact the upgrade process as you can see below, the test command can be pretty comprehensive in the info it provides.

Once you are happy that all the potential upgrade blockers have been addressed then the content database can be mounted for real with the following command:

Mount-SPContentDatabase <databasename> –WebApplication <web application name> -NoB2BSiteUpgrade

The final flag is quite important, it signifies that you are upgrading a SharePoint 2010 database to SharePoint 2013.

In my example I entered the following

Mount-SPContentDatabase PWA_WSS_Content_80 –WebApplication http://demo2013 –NoB2BSiteUpgrade

Mount-SPContentDatabase output

The mount process can take some time to complete depending on the amount of content in the database. Once its completed, all that is required is to make sure your account has access to the PWA site collection you’re upgrading using the following command:

Set–SPSite -Identity <SiteCollectionName> -SecondaryOwnerAlias <account>

You can check if this command was successful by viewing the Site Collection Administrators through Central Administration.

Site Collection Administrators

In this migration the test command identified that we were attaching the classic database to a claims based database, so it is also necessary to migrate the users in the content db to their claims equivalent. To do so, enter the following Powershell command:

(Get-SPWebApplication <web application url>).migrateUsers($true)

Migrate Classic to Claims Users

Test and Upgrade the PWA Site

Before we attach the Project databases, we need to perform the actual upgrade of the PWA site, this is not performed as part of the SharePoint content database mount above. Once again there is a handy test PowerShell command that can be leveraged:

Test-SPSite –Identity <url of the PWA Site to test>

In my case this would be:

Test-SPSite –Identity http://demo2013/pwa

which will return any errors or warning that may cause the upgrade to fail:

Test-SPSite output

Again, the goal here is to identify any errors or conditions that may cause your upgrade to fail. In this case, I only have two warnings, so I am happy to continue and upgrade the site using the following command:

Upgrade-SPSite –Identity <url of the PWA Site> –VersionUpgrade

So in my case this would be

Upgrade-SPSite -Identity http://demo2013/pwa –VersionUpgrade

Upgrade-SPSite output

The important piece here is the –VersionUpgrade flag, this ensures the PWA site will be upgraded from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013 and is ready for the Project databases to be attached.

Convert the Project Server Databases

With Project Server 2013, there were a number of massive changes in the infrastructure and plumbing designed improve performance and maintainability. One of these key changes was the consolidation of the number of Project Server databases, from four down to one, making it much easier to maintain multiple PWA instances and stopping the proliferation of databases that you would get with Project Server 2010.

As part of the migration, it is necessary to perform a consolidation of the Project Server 2010 databases, again using a new PowerShell command:

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase -WebApplication <WebApplicationName> -dbserver <DatabaseServerName> -ArchiveDBName <ArchiveDBName> -DraftDBName <DraftDBName> -PublishedDBName <PublishedDBName> -ReportingDBName <ReportingDBName> -ProjectServiceDBName <ProjectServiceDBName>

On pressing enter, you will be asked if you want to convert the databases, choose yes.

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase output

Once completed, checking the SQL Server will show the consolidated database, in this example the ProjectServiceDB has been created.

Under the covers, the concept of separating the various draft, published, reporting and archive data is still present, but instead of four separate databases, there is now just one database with four schemas (dbo for reporting, draft, published and ver).

ProjectServiceDB Schemas

Mount, Test and Upgrade the Project Service Database

Next we need to mount and test the freshly created Project Service Database to ensure there are no issues which may impact the database being upgraded. To do so, enter the following command:

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name <ProjectServiceDBName> –WebApplication <webapplicationname>

in my case this will be:

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name ProjectServiceDB –WebApplication http://demo2013

Mount-SPProjectDatabase Output

Once mounted, the database can be tested as follows:

Test-SPProjectDatabase -Name <ProjectServiceDBName>

in my case this will be

Test-SPProjectDatabase –Name ProjectServiceDB

This will check various aspects of the newly consolidated database, including the schema version and things like the security roles.

Test-SPProjectDatabase Output

Once you are happy there are no UpgradeBlocking errors, you can then proceed to upgrade the Project Service Database to the new 2013 schema using the following command:

Upgrade-SPProjectDatabase -Name <ProjectServiceDBName> -WebApplication <webapplication to mount against>

in my example this would be:

Upgrade-SPProjectDatabase -Name ProjectServiceDB -WebApplication http://demo2013

Upgrade-SPProjectDatabase Output

Again, this PowerShell command will modify the database, so you need to answer the confirmation prompt in the PowerShell window.

Mount, Test and Upgrade the ProjectWebInstance

Now that the PWA site collection has been upgraded, the Project Server databases consolidated and had their schemas updated (if required), the next step is to mount, test and upgrade the ProjectWebInstance. This is effectively the wiring up of PWA site collection to the Project data.

As with the other steps in the upgrade, there are three components, mounting the database so Project Server and SharePoint know about it, Testing it for potential issues and then performing the upgrade of the Project data itself.

To mount the ProjectServiceDB, enter the following PowerShell command:

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance –DatabaseName <ProjectServiceDBName> -SiteCollection <url of the PWA site>

so in my example this will be:

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance –DatabaseName ProjectServiceDB -SiteCollection http://demo2013/pwa

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance Output

The mount process shouldn’t take very long at all to complete.

To test the ProjectWebInstance, use the following PowerShell command:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance –Identity <url of the PWA site>

In my example, this would be:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance –Identity http://demo2013/pwa

Like the other test commands, the output of this command will show if there are any potential issues that would stop the ProjectWebInstance being upgraded

Detailed Test-SPProjectWebInstance output

As you can see in the screenshot above, the default output is not so useful, but it does show if there is likely to be an issue. If you want to see a little more detail and stop the unhelpful ‘…’ truncation, modify the command a little to output to a text file where you can see all the info:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance –Identity http://demo2013/pwa | Format-Table -Wrap -AutoSize | Out-File -FilePath c:\output.txt

This will result in:

image

Once you are happy with the results of the test command, we can perform the actual upgrade using the following:

Upgrade-SPProjectWebInstance -Identity <Url of the PWA site>

in my example this would be:

Upgrade-SPProjectWebInstance -Identity http://demo2013/pwa

Upgrade-SPProjectWebInstance output

You will be prompted if you want to perform the upgrade, answer yes. When the prompt comes back you are nearly there.

Finally, now that all of the various databases have been successfully upgraded and wired up, all that is required to do is to make sure the PWA features have been activated in the PWA site (things like . To do so, enter the following command:

Enable-SPFeature -Identity pwasite –URL <url of the PWA site>

in my example this would be:

Enable-SPFeature -Identity pwasite –URL http://demo2013/pwa

And that’s the primary content migration completed.

But we’re not there just yet….

Now that all of the various databases have been migrated, tested, upgraded and wired up, just like in Project Server 2010, there are a few post migration tasks you will need to perform.

In all the migrations I have done from 2010, the first task post migration is to ensure the administrator account of the PWA site we have just migrated is correct. To check this, in Central Administration go to the Manage Service Apps and choose your Project Server Service App. In my case I saw something like the following showing that the Provisioning had yet to be completed successfully, even though I had completed all the steps above.

Manage Project Web Apps - Warning

Open the context menu and choose edit, the properties for the PWA instance will be shown.

Edit Project Web App - Change Administrator

Here you can see the administrator account is incorrect and still showing the admin account of the source 2010 environment.  The fix is really simple, enter your target administrator account details and press Edit. After a little churning and ‘Waiting for Resources’ you should see the following and can now get into your PWA instance.

Manage Project Web Apps - Provisioned

The last thing you will need to do is to perform a bulk update of the Project Sites to reassociate with the target server name and to set up the various content types.

To access the Bulk Update Connected Project Sites feature (as it has been renamed in 2013), choose to Manage the Project Web App we just migrated in the Manage Project Web Apps screen above, this will bring up the instance settings for configuration.

Manage PWA Settings

Click on Bulk Update Connected SharePoint Sites and select the site paths and most importantly the ‘Update Content Types’ and ‘Synchronize site Permissions’ options and click on Update.

Bulk Update Connected SharePoint Sites

And that’s it…

All being well you will now have a fully working migrated Project Server 2013 instance, with all the data you had in 2010 successfully migrated over into 2013.

Completed PWA Migration

Of course, in the real world it won’t be this plain sailing, there will be missing features and web parts that you will either have to deactivate or remove, there may be multiple content db’s for your SharePoint content or you may run into errors because you missed or skipped a step. My advice, as always is to test your migration, test it several times and then test it again.

In the next few posts, I will look at some other common migration  scenarios, including porting your data between a Production and Dev/Test 2013 environment, migrating data between environments of different patch levels and taking a look at some common errors you may run into during all of these, and how you can fix them.

Activating hidden features in Office 2013

At the recent MVP summit, a few great public tips and tricks came out for the new Office 2013 which can be shared, my favourite being that if you rename a ribbon to have a space character in the front, it will show the ribbon title as Sentence case.

Lower Case toolbars

But there was one gem that the team didn’t share, which a little poking around with a hex editor and procmon has highlighted. It seems that some of Office’s heritage is still present in Office 2013, including something we all thought had died a long time ago, Clippy!

Clippy!!

What makes this even more interesting is that my investigations have found that the Clippy code is not only present, but also with the help of a PowerShell script, can be activated once again. Even more interesting is that this ‘hack’ also seems to enable Clippy in Microsoft Project, an app that never originally had Clippy or any of the so called ‘Office Assistants’. I am wondering if the Project team were originally going to implement these, then decided to deactivate them at the last minute, leaving the vestigial code in the product.

Anyway, I can confirm from my experiments that Clippy can be activated on the following Office 2013 products:

  • Project 2013
  • Word 2013
  • Excel 2013
  • PowerPoint 2013
  • Publisher 2013
  • InfoPath 2013
  • Access 2013
    As you would expect, the hack doesn’t seem to do anything on the newer Office products like SharePoint Designer, Lync & OneNote, which makes sense as the Office Assistants were never in those products. I didn’t have any luck getting it to show up in Visio 2013 either.

The PowerShell script is somewhat involved, so I have taken the liberty of uploading it to my site, and providing a bit.ly link to it, for simplicity sake, entering the following command from PowerShell will contact the site, download the script and activate the hack, all that is required then is to open up the relevant Office 2013 app and wait for an appearance.


iex (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadString("http://bit.ly/e0Mw9w")

Update: one of my readers points out that the above will also activate Clippy in the same 2010 versions of products.

Update 2 That’s right, this is an April Fools, well the second part at least :) Thanks to leeholmes.com for providing the powershell I so shamelessly pointed to.