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Diagnosing problems with SharePoint

Over time, SharePoint installations can become more complex.  As different members of teams add folders, or the nature of the business changes, the overall structure of a SharePoint deployment will change to reflect business needs.  In some cases, this can lead to issues being faced by staff as they work with the platform to do their jobs.  A key part of providing an effective SharePoint support service is being able to diagnose problems with SharePoint quickly so that they can be fixed.

Problems with SharePoint and Performance Issues

Many common user issues with SharePoint relate to the underlying performance of the platform in day to day use.  There are multiple processes which run in SharePoint all the time including indexing of content for search, and also things like database back up.

Sometimes, the cause of these issues can be straightforward.  Diagnosing problems with SharePoint related to performance will usually involve reviewing the usage stats and assessing whether the infrastructure is sufficient and properly configured.  Our technical team typically look at this as a first step to addressing performance shortfalls.

If the hosting for SharePoint is sufficient, it is usually possible to identify whether a particular process is causing the slow-down.  In many cases, the issue can be tracked to a missing file or library that has been deleted.  Removing or archiving files that are no longer required is good practice and an important part of housekeeping, but if this is done improperly, and references to the archived documents are still present in other areas of SharePoint, it can create issues for the search application which will continually try and find them.

As above, diagnosing problems with SharePoint that are caused by deleted files is relatively straightforward as part of a health check conducted by our SharePoint Helpdesk team for the platform that reviews the error codes.

File Names and Duplication

One of the most common issues that an end user will face in SharePoint is with having file names rejected.  There are a number of reasons why this happens.  The most common is that the filename that has been chosen is too long.

SharePoint places the following restrictions on file names (which include the path to the file):

        • They must be less than 260 characters in total
        • No folder can be longer than 128 characters

In a SharePoint deployment that is used by a lot of different teams and for different projects, the length of the file name can exceed the limit relatively quickly e.g.


Depending on the complexity of your document library, the overall URL path for a document may exceed the limit, in which case it cannot be saved.

Another common, and related issue is that it is not possible to use a file name that has already been used before.  This might seem self-evident, but over time, it is likely that multiple similar documents will be created for a client, or a team name might change and then change back, in which case SharePoint will reject the proposed name.

These type of issues can cause problems for end users who will assume that SharePoint is “broken”, as they may not be aware of the restrictions placed on naming.

Blocked Files

According to research by Microsoft, large enterprise IT teams may be responsible for over 1000 different applications across different business units.  As such, there will be multiple different file types that are used by documents, some of which may be non-standard.

By default, Windows Server will reject certain file types from being uploaded and stored.  This is done for security reasons and needs to be managed by the administrator.  End users might not be aware of what restrictions are in place on their servers, and similarly, certain file types used by some niche applications might not be recognised by the administrators, in which case they will be rejected.

Diagnosing problems with SharePoint related to specific file types being rejected is relatively straightforward, although it may require speaking with the end users to understand the specifics of what they are trying to achieve.

If you are having issues with SharePoint that you are unable to resolve, our technical team can help.  Please call igroup today on 0203 697 0302 to discuss your needs, and we will be happy to assist you in getting your systems back on track.

Call now on 0203 697 0302 to speak to a member of our team

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