Friday, October 16, 2020

Problem in OTB groupstatus.aspx Sharepoint Online page and mobile browsers

In SPO there is one very useful OTB application layouts page groupstatus.aspx. Using this page we may redirect user to Notebook, Planner plan or Sharpeoint site associated with O365 group, e.g.


where {siteUrl} is url of the site associated with O365 group. And target may be "site", "notebook", "planner", etc. Full list may be found here: Generic URLs for all Office 365 Group connected workloads.
If we don't know url of the site associated with O365 group we may still use this page in context of the root tenant site and specify id of O365 group in additional query string parameter:


In this case it will still redirect you to the requested target. And this is exactly how we use this page in TW - we open it in context of the root tenant site and provide target=site and id of the group in query string.
However at the same time Sharepoint has own redirection system for mobile devices: when you visit some Sharepoint site from mobile device it will redirect to special application layouts page optimized for mobile view \_layouts\Mobile\mblwpa.aspx (see Overview of Mobile Pages and the Redirection System). According to documentation this redirection for mobile devices is performed via http module (SPRequestModule). It means that in ASP.Net pipeline it will happen before request will come to groupstatus.aspx page. So when we redirect user to the root tenant site on mobile browser:


Sharepoint will just redirect user to mblwpa.aspx page in this root site


and instead of seeing site associated with specified O365 group - user will see root tenant site. Will try to report this problem to MS using available communication channels. For now posted this problem on StackOverflow here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

How to free space on OS Windows drive by moving SoftwareDistribution folder to another disk via junction folder

If you are lucky owner of PC with 100Gb OS SSD disk or when OS disk on your server is not big enough then you may face with situation when there is no enough space anymore for installing updates, new tools, etc. In this post I will share solution which will help to free some space on OS drive.

Probably the first thing which you will try when will face with this problem is WinDirStat tool which allows to gather report of disk space usage per folders. The same report will most probably show that C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder takes a lot of space. This folder is used by Windows Update for storing temporary files needed for installing new updates. As it is important Windows component you can’t just delete or move it and free space on OS drive. However what we can do is to create folder on another drive, move files there and create junction between C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and this folder. Here are needed steps:

1. Stop Windows Update service (Control Panel > Administration > Services)
2. Create new folder on another drive with enough space, e.g. D:\WinSoftwareDistribution. This is where files will be stored after all
3. Rename C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution e.g .to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old
4. Create junction between folders:

mklink /j C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution D:\WinSoftwareDistribution

5. Move files from C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old to D:\WinSoftwareDistribution. After that you may go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution junction and ensure that files appear there again
6. Run Windows Update service

After that your SoftwareDistribution will be located on another drive and you will have more space on your OS drive. Hope that this trick will help someone.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

How to enable Android App links in web-facing Sharepoint on-prem site

In previous article I showed how to enable universal links for iOS on Sharepoint on-prem site – see How to enable iOS universal links in web-facing Sharepoint on-prem site. In this post I will describe how to enable Android App links for web-facing Sharepoint on-prem site.

For Android App links the process is different. First of all we need to prepare special assetlinks.json file with predefined content:

  "relation": ["delegate_permission/common.handle_all_urls"],
  "target": {
    "namespace": "...",
    "package_name": "...",
    "sha256_cert_fingerprints": ["..."]

I won’t describe here details about content of assetlinks.json file – you may find this information on Android documentation sites. Next step is to place assetlinks.json file into .well-known subfolder of the root folder of our site. On Sharepoint we can create this folder in site’s IIS folder C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\{SiteName}.

After that we need to go to IIS manager > choose Sharepoint site > right click .well-known sub folder and click “Convert to Application”:

When .well-known subfolder is ready and configured in IIS manager we may copy assetlinks.json file there.

Now we need to make assetlinks.json file available for anonymous access (otherwise it won’t be available for Android infrastructure) and ensure that server adds Content-Type: "application/json" http header in response. In order to do that add the following web.config file to .well-known subfolder:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        <allow users="*" />
        <clear />
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".json" mimeType="application/json" />
            <remove name="JSONHandlerFactory" />

After that Android App links will be available on your web-facing Sharepoint on-prem site.