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Fixing our Office Web Apps 2013 Server

March 26, 2013

We’ve been having some issues with our OWA server recently, and I was ready to throw the VM away and build a new one, but I persisted and instead found a way to fix it, since I figured somewhere down the road we’ll need to do this for real with a customer, and rebuilding wouldn’t be much of an option.

From the SharePoint 2013 perspective, we had no document previews, and the web apps were obviously completely broken.

The first problem we kept having was that we were seeing the following error in the PowerShell command prompt on the OWA server.  ([Server] in our case is our machine known as “vm04”)

“Could not read settings from [server]. The destination is unreachable.”
At line:1 char:1
+ New-OfficeWebAppsMachine
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : DeviceError: (:) [New-OfficeWebAppsMachine], EndpointNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CantContactMachineForSettings.Settings.NotFound,Microsoft.Office.Web.Apps.Administration
   .NewMachineCommand

As seen below.

image

We were getting this for all of the get commands including Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm, Get-OfficeWebAppsHost, Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine, as well as New-OfficeWebAppsMachine, and Repair-OfficeWebAppsFarm.  There may have been others, but I didn’t try them all.

It turns out, this was a ridiculous setting somehow set in the browser (under our spadmin account, which we use to administer the OWA server).  As you can see, for some reason (and I have no idea why), the Proxy server setting was set in the Internet Options dialog, yet, no details about a proxy server were added – the address and port were just blank.  Hence no worky worky.

image

The worst part of this is, we don’t even have a proxy server, so this setting should have never been set whatsoever in the first place.  It’s possible that a recent Windows Update caused this to get set (we just did one late last week – Mar 21, 2013), but I cannot pin it on that.

Once that was resolved again, I was then able to get the details for the office web apps farm successfully.  Note, there is a warning below, which I’ll address in a moment.

PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm
WARNING: It does not appear that this machine is part of an Office Web Apps Server farm.

FarmOU                            :
InternalURL                       :
https://owa.company.com/
ExternalURL                       : https://owa.company.com/
AllowHTTP                         : False
SSLOffloaded                      : False
CertificateName                   : owa.company.com
EditingEnabled                    : True
LogLocation                       : C:ProgramDataMicrosoftOfficeWebAppsDataLogsULS
LogRetentionInDays                : 7
LogVerbosity                      :
Proxy                             :
CacheLocation                     : C:ProgramDataMicrosoftOfficeWebAppsWorkingd
MaxMemoryCacheSizeInMB            : 75
DocumentInfoCacheSize             : 5000
CacheSizeInGB                     : 15
ClipartEnabled                    : True
TranslationEnabled                : False
MaxTranslationCharacterCount      : 125000
TranslationServiceAppId           :
TranslationServiceAddress         :
RenderingLocalCacheLocation       : C:ProgramDataMicrosoftOfficeWebAppsWorkingwaccache
RecycleActiveProcessCount         : 5
AllowCEIP                         : False
ExcelRequestDurationMax           : 300
ExcelSessionTimeout               : 450
ExcelWorkbookSizeMax              : 10
ExcelPrivateBytesMax              : -1
ExcelConnectionLifetime           : 1800
ExcelExternalDataCacheLifetime    : 300
ExcelAllowExternalData            : True
ExcelWarnOnDataRefresh            : True
OpenFromUrlEnabled                : True
OpenFromUncEnabled                : True
OpenFromUrlThrottlingEnabled      : True
PicturePasteDisabled              : False
RemovePersonalInformationFromLogs : False
AllowHttpSecureStoreConnections   : False
Machines                          : {}

Our original setup was such that we had a SharePoint WFE server (vm06), a SharePoint APP server (vm05), and a separate OWA server (vm04) in an OWA farm – all by itself, however, as you can see above, the Machines list is empty, where it should have vm04 in the list.  OWA is also available only via a secure channel “owa.company.com”, and we have an associated valid security certificate for that in place.

Once I resolved the proxy issue above, I was then able to tackle the problems with the OWA farm being in an invalid state.  As you can see from the “get” commands I first tried below, the server is not part of any OWA farm.

PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm
Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm : It does not appear that this machine is part of an Office Web Apps Server farm.
At line:1 char:1
+ Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : ObjectNotFound: (:) [Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm], FileNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NotJoinedToFarm.Settings,Microsoft.Office.Web.Apps.Administration.GetFarmCommand

 

PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsHost
Get-OfficeWebAppsHost : It does not appear that this machine is part of an Office Web Apps Server farm.
At line:1 char:1
+ Get-OfficeWebAppsHost
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : ObjectNotFound: (:) [Get-OfficeWebAppsHost], FileNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NotJoinedToFarm.Settings,Microsoft.Office.Web.Apps.Administration.GetHostCommand

 

PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine
Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine : It does not appear that this machine is part of an Office Web Apps Server farm.
At line:1 char:1
+ Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine], InvalidOperationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NotJoinedToFarm.NotInTopology,Microsoft.Office.Web.Apps.Administration.GetMachineCommand

 

So then I thought I’d at least first try to repair the farm (which will remove any “unhealthy” machines from a farm), but obviously that wasn’t going to work either.

PS C:Windowssystem32> Repair-OfficeWebAppsFarm
Repair-OfficeWebAppsFarm : It does not appear that this machine is part of an Office Web Apps Server farm.
At line:1 char:1
+ Repair-OfficeWebAppsFarm
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [Repair-OfficeWebAppsFarm], InvalidOperationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NotJoinedToFarm.NotInTopology,Microsoft.Office.Web.Apps.Administration.RepairFarmCommand
PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsHost

allowList
———
{}

At this point, since the machine was officially not part of any farm, I finally decided to rebuild the farm on this machine.  I ran the following command, and that worked successfully (note that the machine is now in the machines list)

PS C:Windowssystem32> New-OfficeWebAppsFarm -InternalURL https://owa.company.com -ExternalUrl https://owa.company.com -CertificateName owa.company.com

FarmOU                            :
InternalURL                       :
https://owa.company.com/
ExternalURL                       : https://owa.company.com/
AllowHTTP                         : False
SSLOffloaded                      : False
CertificateName                   : owa.company.com
EditingEnabled                    : False
LogLocation                       : C:ProgramDataMicrosoftOfficeWebAppsDataLogsULS
LogRetentionInDays                : 7
LogVerbosity                      :
Proxy                             :
CacheLocation                     : C:ProgramDataMicrosoftOfficeWebAppsWorkingd
MaxMemoryCacheSizeInMB            : 75
DocumentInfoCacheSize             : 5000
CacheSizeInGB                     : 15
ClipartEnabled                    : False
TranslationEnabled                : False
MaxTranslationCharacterCount      : 125000
TranslationServiceAppId           :
TranslationServiceAddress         :
RenderingLocalCacheLocation       : C:ProgramDataMicrosoftOfficeWebAppsWorkingwaccache
RecycleActiveProcessCount         : 5
AllowCEIP                         : False
ExcelRequestDurationMax           : 300
ExcelSessionTimeout               : 450
ExcelWorkbookSizeMax              : 10
ExcelPrivateBytesMax              : -1
ExcelConnectionLifetime           : 1800
ExcelExternalDataCacheLifetime    : 300
ExcelAllowExternalData            : True
ExcelWarnOnDataRefresh            : True
OpenFromUrlEnabled                : False
OpenFromUncEnabled                : True
OpenFromUrlThrottlingEnabled      : True
PicturePasteDisabled              : True
RemovePersonalInformationFromLogs : False
AllowHttpSecureStoreConnections   : False
Machines                          : {VM04}

The above listing is the same output as you get for the “Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm” command.  Below is what I am now getting for the other two commands.

PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsHost

allowList
———
{}

PS C:Windowssystem32> Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine

MasterMachineName             MachineName                Roles                    HealthStatus
—————–             ———–                —–                    ————
VM04                          VM04                       {All}                    Unhealthy

 

You’ll notice that the status of the server is still “Unhealthy”, however, I have yet to find a way to rectify that.  Testing the OWA server with SharePoint, Lync and Exchange now all work, so it doesn’t appear to be at all unhealthy to me.

10 Responses

  1. JB Trexler says:

    I have been dealing with this for over a week! Thank you for this. I just re-ran the New-OfficeWebAppsFarm cmdlet and now everything is working.

  2. Steve Hart says:

    Thanks Colin. That helped me deal with the same issue for a customer deployment.

  3. Craig says:

    Thanks for this!! This happened to me because my certificate for Office Web Apps expired. Even when I installed a new cert I was getting “Some presentation features are not available….”

    Running the New-OfficeWebAppsfarm command fixed the problem!

    Thanks!

  4. Nate says:

    Thanks a lot! this helped resolve my OWA issue after installing SP1. My farm still says “unhealthy” too. Did you ever resolve that?

  5. lu2s says:

    The SP1 will not help, I am reading all about OWAS (firstly OWA shortcut is reserved for Outlook Web Apps and should no be used for Office Web Apps Server, you should use WAC instead). The unhealthy state is most likely because you don`t have OWAS server FQDN as SAN entry on your certificate. YES – there is no info on MS sites for this as requirment but logs in Event Viewer and this thread http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/852a802c-2e4d-43e4-af6c-0336bdb7e163/office-web-apps-server-2013-certificate-issue are saying differently. For now I do not found any workaround for this besides generating new certificate that will have server FQDN… On the thread that i give you the link somebody contact MS support and they admit that it is a bug, but as for now (I have SP1) the problem still presents. On the end this are just errors and everything works OK.

  6. Darren Marsden says:

    If running WAC 2013 on Server 2012 then execute the following PowerShell command:

    Add-WindowsFeature NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45

    The restart WAC via PowerShell

    Restart-Service WACSM

    No need for server restart. Allow some time (5 minutes or more) and then

    Get-OfficeWebAppsMachine

    Voila!!

    For some reason the TechNet article neglects to highlight this.

  7. Brock Heidemann says:

    Thank you, this worked for me!

  8. G Fraser says:

    Firstly, thanks for a clear and concise article.

    Secondly, thanks to Darren Marsen, his tip resolved my issues when setting up multiple web app servers.

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Colin Phillips

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Colin Phillips

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