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Troubleshooting steps for PDF Converter for SharePoint / PDF Converter Services

Posted at: 4:12 PM on 30 November 2009 by Muhimbi

Help1

When we made the decision to completely re-architect our popular PDF Converter for SharePoint (MDCS), we didn’t make this decision lightly. Adding support for all these additional file formats was going to give our support staff quite the additional workload, no matter how well we tested the product.

Now that the product has been out in the wild, we are indeed getting more support requests. Fortunately most questions are easily answered as the majority of problems have a similar root cause. Rather than continuously copying and pasting the same email response we have decided to summarise the main pain points in this blog post, which should make life easier for both our customers and our poor support staff.

 

1. Administration Guide.

When encountering any kind of problem, the first step is to consult our comprehensive Administration Guide, which is included in the download and available on-line. The Guide contains the following key areas:

  1. Quick start: Installation steps for people who don’t read manuals. Please read section 2.1 at a minimum.
     
  2. Detailed installation instructions: If you want to know what is going on and fine-tune the installation, read section 2.2.
     
  3. Troubleshooting: Chapter 3 contains all the information you need to troubleshoot problems using the Windows Event Log and the MDCS Trace Log. Some common problems and their solutions are discussed in this chapter as well.

 

MDCS-Architecture
High level MDCS Architecture

2. Some, or none, of the converters are working.

MDCS ships with a very handy Diagnostics tool that carries out a simple end-to-end test for each of the converters to ensure the software has been deployed properly. The Diagnostics screen can be accessed from Central Administration / Application Management / Muhimbi Document Converter Settings or from the following URL - http://<your_ca_server>/_admin/Muhimbi.PDFConverter/WebAppDocumentConverterSettings.aspx.
 

Central-Admin-450
 

Use the Test Button to check connectivity and authentication between SharePoint and the Document Conversion Service. Once this test has completed successfully, select the converters of your choice and click the Validate Settings button to check the individual converters.

If there are any problems then please use the following checklist to troubleshoot the issue:

  1. None of the converters are working: This may be caused by Office 2007/2010 or any of the other prerequisites not being installed. Please follow the installation steps in the Administration Guide. Do not use the Click-to-Run version of Office 2010 as it is not compatible.
     
  2. The InfoPath converter is singled out: InfoPath is somewhat tricky to configure. Read our separate InfoPath troubleshooting guide.
     
  3. Wrong MS-Office language: Some customers have reported problems when they deploy a non English version of MS-Office on their Document Conversion Server. If one or more of the converters are not validating then please install the English version of MS-Office. Note that you will still be able to convert documents written in any language using the English version of MS-Office.
     
  4. If the server has not been rebooted since MS-Office and the latest service packs were installed then please reboot it.
     
  5. Make sure the MDCS Service account has local Administrator privileges.
     
  6. Log in using the MDCS Service account and launch each Office application once, activate if prompted and close it again.
     
  7. Make sure the Printer Spooler Service is running and at least one printer is installed (preferably the XPS Document Writer that comes with Windows and is installed by default). Note that printers connected via a remote desktop session do not count as they disappear after the session is disconnected.
    If you are experiencing problems then please double check that the XPS Document Writer is the default printer.
     
  8. Try running MDCS using a different account with local Admin rights. Make sure to log in using that account and launch each Office application once. Please restart the service after changing the account using the following command:
     
    Net stop "Muhimbi Document Converter Service"
    Net start "Muhimbi Document Converter Service"

     
  9. Template (dot) file resides in SharePoint: If a document’s template file is located in SharePoint then MS-Word will attempt to retrieve it during the conversion process. To allow this, make sure the account the MDCS is running under has privileges to access the file and the site hosting the template is listed in the account’s Trusted or Intranet sites. If the MDCS is located on one of the Web Front End Servers then make sure you are not suffering from Loopback problems as described here. Update: This is no longer a problem for docx files as of version 3.1. Note that pre Office 2007 .doc files are still affected.
     
  10. InfoPath Based Document Information panels: If a document uses InfoPath based Document Information Panels then please make sure InfoPath is installed on the machine hosting the MDCS. Update: This is no longer a problem for docx files as of version 3.1. Note that pre Office 2007 .doc files are still affected.
     
  11. If possible check if the problem is isolated to the machine by installing it on another machine.
     
  12. Check if the server is using non standard DCOM Settings as follows:
     
    • From the Start Menu, select RUN and type ‘dcomcnfg’. Note that by default this will launch the 64bit version, if the 32 bit version of MS-Office is installed then launch 'mmc.exe -32' and use the 'File' menu to add the 'Component Services' snap-in.
       
    • Navigate to Component Services / Computers / My Computer / DCOM Config / Microsoft PowerPoint Slide (or whatever application is causing problems).
       
    • Open the properties for the application in question. 
       
    • Check that on the Location Tab ‘Run Application on this computer’ is the only check box selected.
       
    • Check that on the Identity Tab the user account is set to the 'Launching User'.
       
    • Check that on the Security Tab ‘Launch and Activation permissions’ and ‘Access Permissions’ are set to ‘Use Default’.
            
     

3. Contact Muhimbi Support

If none of the previously described steps solved the problem then please contact us and include the following information:

  1. The last few entries listed in the Windows Application Event Log with Event ID 41734.
     
  2. The version and language of your Operation System.
     
  3. The version and language of your MS-Office 2007 installation.
     
  4. The regional settings for the account used by the MDCS (See Control Panel / Regional Settings)
     
  5. Anything else about your system that could be considered ‘non standard’. E.g. Office 2003 installed alongside Office 2007, any custom security software etc.

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