Community
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
Reply

Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

Accepted Solution Solved
Copper Contributor
Posts: 53
Country: USA
Accepted Solution

Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

Installing Act Premium 18 (access from web). Installation was fine,  as was database creation and access of the database from the server and all workstations where I installed the client. Regarding web configuration, I created the impersonation user and made it a member of the local administrators group, then opened Act → Tools → Web Site Administration. Testing on the Web Server tab revealed no problem, nor did configuring and testing on the User account tab.

 

But now, I come to Act's IIS configuration on the Add/Remove Database tab. Default Web Site & Virtual Directory APFW appear correctly, but now I have either one problem with two symptoms, or two separate problems:

 

  • Click Add (database). Browse for the .pad file that I used to open Act in the first place. Now I enter the same username & password I just used to open Act, and I get this message: "The impersonation user account does not have access to the database you selected".
  • So it now shows the database, but with a red circle & black X before it, presumably indicating that it is not actually connected. But now the Test button next to the APFW virtual directory is enabled. So I click that, and it opens an IIS error screen beginning with this message: "Could not load file or assembly 'Act.LayoutDesigner.Resources' or one of its dependencies. Access is denied."

I am guessing that perhaps the first error is a consequence of the seconda, but I cannot tell for sure. For the record, the Web Administrators Guide contains an entry that purports to address this but is of absolutely no help: "Verify that the user has the appropriate permission to access all Act files and database." Huh? I just created the user and made it a member of the local Administrators group. Nor is KB 37548 any help when it indicates, for the latter issue, to browse to C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework and give the impersonation account Full Control to the v4.0.30319 folder. This is nonsense, for two reasons:

 

  1. When I get there, I find that the local Administrators group (of which the impersonation user is a member already has full read/write access, so there is nothing to change.
  2. The owner of the .NET folders is Trusted Installer, so I cannot change security without changing ownership. Yes, I could  change the owner to be the Administrators group, which will allow me full rights to change rights for other users. But this would also require changing ownership on all downline subfolders and files to something that does not match the rest of the security in the .NET folders.

Nor does KB 16516 help, when it indicates that these things must apply to the user: "Be a local Windows administrator on the Web server" and "Have permission to access all ACT! Premium for Web and database supplemental files on the server." Huh, again? What is there in this that does not exist via membership in the local Administrators group?

 

I did find other posts on the forum here regarding the IIS page error. But that person's solution (which may or may not solve my problem), which was to remove .NET 4.5, install .NET 4.0, then install Act, is not workable since .Net 4.5 is part of the Application Server role which is already in use for my backup system. So I cannot simply start hacking away at .NET and hope to have other system components survive. Nevertheless, I did uninstall Act, removed all C++ Redistributable packages whose installation was dated the same as my Act setup (avoiding those installed in conjunction with my earlier installation of my backup software), and reinstalled. But that all changed nothing.

 

Now I am kind of stuck. With no off-hours/weekend Act support, I must now troubleshoot this on a weekday, when users are connected to this same server for other purposes (it happens to be the main file server). But it will undoubtedly involve one or more server reboots. It seems clear that the Act developers have not tested setup routines very thoroughly. I am not (and do not want to become) an IIS expert. And, for the record, this is not a particularly old or complicated server; it is running just as a file server (and hosting Act), although it does also have backup software installed. But I am getting no clue that my problems are related to anything specific that predates Act installation.


Accepted Solutions
Solution
Accepted by topic author Brain
‎10-16-2016 09:06 AM
Copper Contributor
Posts: 53
Country: USA

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

Well, despite spending 12 or 13 hours on this yesterday, I just could not give up and began again this morning. The sleep must have helped because this time, after only two more uninstall/reinstall cycles later, something occurred to me: how about, when adding the DB to the website, I use the default domain admin (the same account I used for Act installation) or the default/built-in local administrator account when adding the DB to the website? I had already tried it all with a newly-created local admin and with a newly-created domain admin account--but never with the default domain or local admin account.

Accordingly, I went into Web Site Administration, entered my domain admin account information (the account I had used for Act installation many times, including this round, with no problem) on the User Account tab and--poof--I was able to add the DB and test the virtual directory without a problem on the Add/Remove Database tab. Then I was able to go back to the User Account, change it to my Act-specific user account (that, by the way, is also in the local Administrators group), and things remain working correctly.

And now the Act site works perfectly, even after stop/start on IIS Admin Service and ACT? Service Host services. Go figure!

I am pretty sure we have Microsoft to thank for this one; this is not the first time I have seen things that simply will not install correctly or work on Windows Server 2012 R2 when using an admin account (domain or local) that is not either the built-in local admin account or the default domain admin account, even with UAC disabled.

But, I must add, shame on Act for not testing this more thoroughly. This is inexcusable. 2012 R2 has been out for almost three years now, the Act documentation says clearly it is Windows 2012 R2-compatible, and there is nothing about this complication in the documentation, or any KB I could find when searching by the symptoms. They need to fix their process or change the documentation to accommodate the quirks of 2012 R2 if they are going to claim compatibility!

View solution in original post


All Replies
Copper Contributor
Posts: 53
Country: USA

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

One more tidbit that makes no sense at all to me. After a bit more research, I found some posts that indicated perhaps a deficiency of rights to this folder:

C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\Temporary ASP.NET Files

Oddly, the local Administrator group already has full rights. But when I add Write access for the local Users group, I no longer get the Access Denied error when attempting to access the local Act URL (http://localhost/APFW/default.aspx). Now, why, when I am logged on as a Domain Admin that had no problems installing Act, and when the impersonation user is a local Admin, is this failing until the Users group has Write access? Nonethless, I would just live with this as a fix, but the problem of getting Act for web is not solved, since now I get this error in the browser:

Could not load file or assembly 'System.Web.Helpers, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

Further research now reveals that this may indicate some ASP.NET MVC3 files not installed. But I am still not sure why I am wading through mountains of ASP.NET detail for what should be a simple setup. Six+ hours now and counting...
Copper Contributor
Posts: 53
Country: USA

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

[ Edited ]

This is just greatSmiley Sad I have now spent upwards of 10 hours installing/uninstalling, looking up possible solutions, all to no avail. I have been very careful to change one thing at a time, then change it back if it did not help. I went as far as a complete uninstallation, removing IIS, removing all the .NET and IIS-related user profiles that were auto-created during setup, and I am still back to the last issue I had: a security exception in the /APFW application. I have no way of knowing whether this is farther ahead or farther behind than my prior "can not load file..." errors. I did get past one thing, as noted in my second post, by granting the Users group Write access to the C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\Temporary ASP.NET Files folder.

 

And, not too surprisingly, note that I have spent all day looking at posts directed at website developers (i.e. how to include dll's in setup packages, etc), not at posts directed toward IT managers trying to get a product to install correctly. In the particular case of this last event log / security-related issue, I get enough detail to see that there is a problem accessing the SECURITY log.

 

SecurityException: The source was not found, but some or all event logs could not be searched.  Inaccessible logs: Security

 

I found posts recommending giving various users (NETWORK SERVICE or my ASP.NET impersonation user) access to the Security event log registry key--to which the Administrators group already has access. I did try granting explicit permissions to the impersonation user, and even to Everyone (very temporarily), but found no change, so I reversed those change as well. Other than  that, the posts seem to relate to the product itself not correctly creating the event log source at installation time--another developer-related issue.

 

Sigh...I should not have to be thinking about all of this...especially on a weekend.

Solution
Accepted by topic author Brain
‎10-16-2016 09:06 AM
Copper Contributor
Posts: 53
Country: USA

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

Well, despite spending 12 or 13 hours on this yesterday, I just could not give up and began again this morning. The sleep must have helped because this time, after only two more uninstall/reinstall cycles later, something occurred to me: how about, when adding the DB to the website, I use the default domain admin (the same account I used for Act installation) or the default/built-in local administrator account when adding the DB to the website? I had already tried it all with a newly-created local admin and with a newly-created domain admin account--but never with the default domain or local admin account.

Accordingly, I went into Web Site Administration, entered my domain admin account information (the account I had used for Act installation many times, including this round, with no problem) on the User Account tab and--poof--I was able to add the DB and test the virtual directory without a problem on the Add/Remove Database tab. Then I was able to go back to the User Account, change it to my Act-specific user account (that, by the way, is also in the local Administrators group), and things remain working correctly.

And now the Act site works perfectly, even after stop/start on IIS Admin Service and ACT? Service Host services. Go figure!

I am pretty sure we have Microsoft to thank for this one; this is not the first time I have seen things that simply will not install correctly or work on Windows Server 2012 R2 when using an admin account (domain or local) that is not either the built-in local admin account or the default domain admin account, even with UAC disabled.

But, I must add, shame on Act for not testing this more thoroughly. This is inexcusable. 2012 R2 has been out for almost three years now, the Act documentation says clearly it is Windows 2012 R2-compatible, and there is nothing about this complication in the documentation, or any KB I could find when searching by the symptoms. They need to fix their process or change the documentation to accommodate the quirks of 2012 R2 if they are going to claim compatibility!
Administrator
Posts: 4,024
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

Hi Brain,

Thanks for detailed information you've provided though your troubleshooting process. I will pass this thread over to our Knowledgebase specialist to look into recording this detail in an article.

Copper Contributor
Posts: 53
Country: USA

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

Thank you...and please try to overlook my frustration hereSmiley Happy
Copper Contributor
Posts: 12
Country: United Kingdom

Re: Act 18 Premium web configuration woes

[ Edited ]

All I can say is Brain is right!

 

installation on a server 2008, 2012 or even 2016 when it is a domain server simply does not install correctly!!! It is a real dogs dinner that has never been tested or fixed in some 5 years. It hates 64 bit machines with Essentials Server software. (What was SBS)

 

This is what I have learn't over 10 years of looking after Act! myself.

 

Lesson number one... before installing make a back up of IIS. You will need it after the install has switched IIS to 32 bit mode and screwed up all your other web sites and settings. It will especially break MS Remote, Connect and most other small business services that won't run in 32 bit mode. Grrrr.

 

lesson number two... it will fail with missing prerequisites. It won't tell you what's missing! But run set up a second time as an administrator and it will install.

 

lesson three... sql won't run. You will need to reset the sql password.

 

lesson four... use the IIS backup to correct the settings to the pre install state. Test this before proceeding!!

 

lesson five... use apfwcreator to create a seperate web site for act in IIS. Only this should run in 32 bit mode. Note this will put the web site on port 8080 so you will also need to open this port in windows firewall, and also on your router.

 

Note, I have never understood why Act is determined to put the web site on the machine's default web site. I was always taught to keep seperate uses on seperate web sites in IIS wherever possible. It's more robust and much easier to diagnose when they play up. Also where is the logic in switching the whole of IIS to 32 bit mode? Its a crazy way of ensuring all your other services are fouled up, and is really unacceptable for a server configuration. Afterall, all MS servers are 64 bit.

 

Lastly, watch out for service pack upgrades such as 18.2! Why, because they mess IIS up all over again...which is how I came to be writing this note.

 

its exasperating, but it can be made to work brilliantly for small businesses, especially those that don't want/can't afford to run more than one server for a very small team of users.

 

And although unsupported, it runs perfectly on Server Essentials 2016..... FANTASTIC!

 

Hope this helps others.

 

Sheridan