Solving Timer Service halting daily

Overview

The SharePoint Timer Service is key to keeping SharePoint humming.  It runs all the timer jobs, and is therefore responsible for a near endless set of tasks.  I recently found that the timer service was halting shortly after 6am daily.  the service appears as halted.  Some additional symptoms:

  • Trying to set the password in Central Administration, Security, Managed Accounts doesn’t fix the issue
  • Trying to set the managed account password via PowerShell doesn’t help
  • The following appears in the event log:

Cannot log on as a service2

  •  Trying to start the service fails:

Cannot log on as a service

Solution

First, check GPEdit.msc to make sure the Computer security policy allows the user to run as a service.  The real catch is that the Domain policy overrides the local policy, so unless the farm account has domain rights to log on as a service, it will fail the next morning as the GP settings propagate.

SharePoint Admins – how to recover

Save your hide by restoring a SharePoint farm configuration

I had the scare of the week last night. I was doing some pre-approved SharePoint farm cleanup. Part of that was removing some Farm Solutions (WSPs). The Retract of the solution partially failed, and hosed Central Admin (ouch).

Last time I had this, the uninstall of UMT software left a dozen dangling references in all Web.Configs that I cleaned up by hand. Those caused workflows to all stop. This time, I was getting security and page rendering errors.

Good thing we had done a backupSPFarm recently with ConfigurationOnly option.

Given Central Admin was hosed, I used PowerShell:
Backup-SPFarm
Restore-SPFarm

Once the restore was done, Central Admin appeared to behave erratically. This was simply the farm sync’ing up, with a series of IISResets associated with feature re-deployment.