SharePoint 2010 Upgrade – Important Updates

SharePoint 2010 Upgrade is not over yet.  While some estimates recently put it at 50% I get a different picture from my recent visit to Bulgaria.  I had a nearly full theatre room with those interested in SharePoint 2010 upgrade.  There are still a number of customers waiting and looking at SharePoint 2010 and trying to decide when they should do it.  I have done a number of posts on Why Upgrade to SharePoint 2010 both for IT and Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade for End Users.  Any post on issues in 2010 or browser and ActiveX controls should not discourage you.  It’s definitely worth it.

Over the last few weeks I learned a few things.

1. SharePoint 2010 Post SP1 Upgrade related regression: Kimmo Forss from the SharePoint MCS Europe team brought up a recent regression: In a new deployment that will be migrated to in a database attach upgrade DO NOT install any patches post SP1 until after the database attach is complete.  If you start with a Feb 2012 CU farm and then database attach you will have some issues. So essentially you should setup the 2010 farm with SP1, then when upgrade is complete then you can install the chosen monthly cumulative update based on your needs.  Personally I’m still a December CU fan as of 1/31/12.  Feb 2012 CU is also a good option.  < I’m looking for the KB article which describes the problem I’m describing. >  It’s hard enough to describe how you can get into it, I don’t remember what it was that was broken, but since there is a good work around I figured it was good to share even though I don’t yet have the full story.  My understanding is this regression has not been fixed.  <I’ll update this section when I get more detail>

2. Visual Upgrade Usage Reporting Broken until complete – You’ll notice that you don’t get usage reports in SharePoint 2010 until after you’ve completed the visual upgrade.  Even if you force getting to that page in a non visually upgraded site you will still not get the reports.  The data is being collected, but it won’t display until visual upgrade is completed or unless you’re in preview mode.  Essentially you can take a peak at the usage information if you temporarily turn on preview mode. I knew this was a problem, but I didn’t know…

3. Turning on Preview Mode Visual Upgrade and using it in SharePoint 2010 can introduce problems – If you had done an upgrade and not yet completed upgrade, you have the option to do visual upgrade.  If someone puts a site into preview mode and then adds lists only available in SP2010 or activates 2010 only features and so on, the schema will be affected by it.  Then if you decide to go back to 2007 visual mode, you’ll have an unsupported situation.  The site can now have problems introduced.  You shouldn’t stay in preview mode yet for only a brief time to look at the site.  In the same way, if a site was fully visually upgraded and running for some period of time in 2010 and then you want to switch back using powershell for some reason… you should think again as some schema updates may have been introduced in how that site has been used in 2010 and now may no longer be compatible in 2007 mode.  (Thanks Sean Livingston.  I don’t think people realized that they could Damage their sites in this way.)

4. If a 2007 upgraded site has not been visually upgraded, the sites created underneath it will look like 2010 sites – While this is something I’ve been aware of, I think many don’t realize how this impacts common look and feel for master pages, and how it impacts good navigation and UI.  As well depending on your patch level you may see hanging behavior in the list picker.  The site and list creation silverlight control in Internet Explorer is looking for resources that don’t exist in the galleries in the 2007 site, and hence it continues to spin and spin and eventually time out.   The work around is to upgrade to SP1, or use Chrome or Firefox which won’t attempt to render the Silverlight control.  When the root site collection is a 2007 site and has it’s set of galleries and the children are 2010 sites there is some strange behavior linked to the way that the galleries work and pull from the parent.

Key takeaways – Setup your 2010 farm as SP2010 SP1 then complete your database attach upgrade, then give your users 2-3 months max then complete the visual upgrade for those that don’t have custom master pages.  Then give an end date for those with custom master pages to update.  Visual upgrade isn’t something you’re going to want to linger.

Joel Oleson was a speaker at the European SharePoint Conference 2011. Check out his conference presentation by clicking here>>

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