SharePoint Send an Email when Owner is Assigned

Tech Trek – 2014.06.28

One of the nice things about SharePoint Task list is the ability to send an email notification when an ownership is assigned. Check out Advanced Settings in List Settings page as shown in the following screenshot.

Task EMail

What if your SharePoint list doesn’t fit the Task template?

But WAIT (pun intended), don’t despair! Open up your friendly SharePoint Designer and let’s build a simple workflow to address this need.

There is a SharePoint Designer action called Wait for field change in current item that you can use for this scenario. Here’s a screenshot where I have a Person/Group column called Item Owner to collect the possible recipient of a list item.

Then, you can use the Send Email action to notify the user after this event has been completed. It is usually best practice to create conditional checks and add a history log entry to denote workflow completion.

Wait for Event

Once your custom workflow is published, set the Start options when a new item is created and associate the list. Voila!

Wait for Start Options

New entries will wait for the field to change and send an email after the Owner column is updated.

I’d recommend having a site owner that will manage the list and assign items immediately to the respective people. You can send an email notification to the site owner by using the built-in SharePoint alert when new entries are added.

Mission Accomplished!


SharePoint Foundation compatible application could not be found.

Tech Trek – 2014.02.13

Recently, our remote users have been frequently getting the following issue when opening Microsoft Office documents within SharePoint.

In Word Web App,
“To open this document, your computer must be running a supported version of Microsoft Word and a browser that supports opening files directly from the Office Web Apps.”

In Excel Web App,
“To open this workbook, your computer must have a version of Microsoft Excel installed and your Web browser must support opening files directly from Excel in the browser.”


I’ve outlined how to troubleshoot the issue so that hopefully you wouldn’t get crazy in attempting to decipher the misleading message and find out what happened to the user’s PC.

Note, we have the following basic assumptions —

  • Microsoft Office was installed in the first place.
  • Internet Explorer 7 (32-bit) or higher is used. Non-IE browsers will open files locally by default and results into the error message below.

First, try opening the affected file using Edit in Microsoft Word (or Excel) from the list item menu. If you get the following message, then, it confirms that this isn’t just an Office Web Apps issue.

SharePoint error

Second, try opening another document with a different file format, e.g. PDF document, or ZIP file. Then, open Microsoft Word/Excel application and load the document by accessing the site URL directly.

If you were able to succesfully open files from SharePoint, proceed to the steps below.

  • Open Tools … Manage Add-ons in Internet Explorer
  • Make sure that the following SharePoint add-ons are enabled especially SharePoint OpenDocuments class.


Most of the time, this will resolve the issue. Close and re-open the browser window to load these add-ons properly, then, try opening Office documents again.

Third, open Office Upload Center via Taskbar icons, or from Microsoft Office –> Office Tools in the Start Menu. Check if there are Pending or Cached Files that have failed recently from the list. Follow the steps below to delete cached files:

  • Click Settings and select Delete cached files button. Try to re-open the document to see if it helps. I’ve found most of the time this doesn’t properly delete files in the hidden folder.

Lastly, the following steps should be performed by technical personnel since it involves a couple of steps.

  • Exit SharePoint Workspace from Taskbar icons.
  • Start Task Manager and click End Process for the following: MSOSYNC.exe, MSOUC.exe, or GROOVE.exe (if SP Workspace is still available).
  • Open Windows Explorer and proceed to Users folder in your local hard drive. Make sure that hidden files is selected under View tab of Folder and search options.
  • Expand to the following location —
    \Users\<userId>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\<Office version>\OfficeFileCache
  • Delete the entire folder.
    Close any Microsoft Office applications if you’re unable to delete the folder successfully.

By this point, most of the issue should be resolved. A workaround that you may instruct end-users is to open files via Open with Explorer under Library ribbon menu, or use SharePoint Workspace to open the site.

SharePoint Timer service restart error

Tech Trek – 2013.04.27

Working with technologies more than half of my life. In connection, I’m renaming the blog site into Tech Trek Trenches (TIII) with such milestone in my career.

Here’s another post where I troubleshoot a problem from the trenches. Once in a while, I encounter server restart issues for SharePoint server and it will display that SharePoint Timer service is not started as shown below.

SharePoint Services

Restarting the Timer service will be successful but will eventually fail and attempt to retry restarting on its own. What was happening?

Upon further research, I found that the following services also didn’t start:

  • ForeFront Identity Manager Service
  • ForeFront Identify Manager Synchronization Service

If you look in SharePoint Central Admin, there are scheduled timer jobs related to these services. In my case, ForeFront services were not started properly, then, SharePoint Timer Service will eventually fail. Upon restarting these two dependencies, everything will be back to normal.

Another day, another mystery solved …

SharePoint Feature Definition files missing

Tech Trek – 2013.03.22

Just another SharePoint trek day. I was checking Site Settings and got the following error while clicking Workflows:

"Failed to find the XML file at location 14\Template\Features\Office Mobile PowerPoint Viewer."

Site Administration

I’ve confirmed the feature definition doesn’t exist in that specific folder and so began my search for a possible resolution. I found the article below that recommended to restore the definition files. Now, where would I get those XML definition files? 

As it turns out, I’ve noticed there is a “MobilePowerPointViewer” folder under TEMPLATES\FEATURES folder of 14 Hive. I copied the entire folder and renamed it into “OfficeMobilePowerPointViewer” and viola — problem solved. I’ve applied the same for MobileWordViewer after I got a similar error.

Another day, another mystery solved.

Feature definition files for features installed within SharePoint Farm cannot be found.