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Installing PowerPivot for SharePoint on a domain controller

For several reasons I have recently been playing around with installing PowerPivot for SharePoint on various configurations. See an earlier post about taking PowerPivot off the network – learned that one the hard way when I took my laptop to the SharePoint Conference this month. Well, I ran into another one – installing PowerPivot on a domain controller. This one I don’t have 100% figured out, but I have a good workaround – and several people have been reporting this problem, so I decided to write up the solution/workaround in a posting.

How to detect that this problem is occurring for you: Setup fails on a domain controller and when you look at the GEMINIBI instance, you will see that it is stopped and the service account is set to LOCAL SERVICE.

Here is what will happen if you install PowerPivot (NEW FARM, for me) on a domain controller. In general the installation goes a well all of the way until the end when it will fail with a timeout. The install timed out because one of the steps in the farm configuration sequence changed the service account for the SSAS instance from the farm admin specified during the installation to LOCAL SERVICE. SSAS cannot run with those credentials and it goes into a stopped state and cannot restart. This causes a timeout during the installation.

The workaround (and as you will see in a minute, this is a pure hack) is to:

  • Start your installation and monitor the state of the SSAS GEMINI BI instance as it is installed on your system using the Services Manager.
  • Every couple of seconds look at its state. All of the way at the end of the installation, you will see the service account gets changed to LOCAL SERVICE and the service goes into a stopped state.
  • Quick like a bunny (I cannot believe that I am actually typing that phrase in a technical blog), jump in and change the service account back to the one you specified during installation and manually re-start the service. I think you have a several minutes to do this, but I checked every 5-7 seconds and got to it early so I don’t know what the longer time out is. After you restart the service, setup will finish OK.

As I said, this is pure workaround / hack  — but it works for me.


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13 comments to Installing PowerPivot for SharePoint on a domain controller

  • Hi,

    I spend lots of time yesterday trying to install Analysis Services in SharePoint integrated mode. I was not able to succeed. I tried yesterday your described approach on freshly installed Windows 2008 machine, but in my case this service stayed as domain account all time. But install still failed. Error:

    I confirmed that SQL Server part installed OK, as I can connect to SQL Server and SSAS using SSMS.

    Configuration error code: 0×30E00066@1203@1
    Configuration error description: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

    So far I was not able to setup Analysis Services in SharePoint integrated mode.

    Vidas Matelis

  • Vidas: Please email me the detail.log file. It should be located in:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\\
    Make sure it is the right one for the installation, particularly as it sounds like you’ve done it multiple times. Also include the build# that you are using, including the SharePoint version and where you got it.
    I’ll submit a bug for you.

  • Dave,

    I reproduced that bug in case when domain controllers and sql server are on separate machines.

    I submitted bug myself here:

    My setup fresh install of Win 2008R2 domain controler and then Win 2008 server trying to install SQL Server 2008R2 CTP3.

    So far I was not able to install SSAS +SharePoint integration. Hopefully other had better luck. I had at least 6-7 attempts with different configuration.

    I am installing everything on Hyper-V, cpu is AMD, not Intel.


  • Dave,

    OK, I managed to successfully install 3 different machines.
    On 2 cases when domain controller was on the same machine as SharePoint + PowerPivot, I had to change service account back to domain, as it was swithed to local service at some point during installation. After switching installation worked like a charm. For setup where DC was on a separate machine I did not see same problem – as expected.

    Thank you for this tip!

    Vidas Matelis

  • Anthony Martin

    Haven’t seen this exact error anywhere. Anyone have any ideas? I’ve been following the installation instructions from this site and

    Object reference not set to an instance of an object
    Below is the relevant output from file C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\20091214_104508\Detail.txt

    2009-12-14 11:59:42 AS: Creating SharePoint Web Application…
    2009-12-14 11:59:42 AS: Running script: & “C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\14\bin\stsadm.exe” -o extendvs -url ‘http://WIN-KDOO4O1RG4O’ -ownerlogin ‘POWERPIVOT\SPAdmin’ -owneremail ‘’ -exclusivelyusentlm -donotcreatesite -databaseserver ‘WIN-KDOO4O1RG4O\GEMINIBI’ -databasename ‘SharePoint_Content_c284bebc8ec241b595de9e6633b24b5a’ -description ‘SharePoint – 80′ -apcreatenew -apidname ‘SharePoint – 80′ -apidtype configurableid -apidlogin ‘POWERPIVOT\SPAdmin’ -apidpwd ‘********’
    2009-12-14 11:59:42 AS: Running PowerShell Script:
    2009-12-14 11:59:50 AS: Pipeline Error when running PowerShell script
    2009-12-14 11:59:50 AS: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
    2009-12-14 11:59:50 AS: Running PS Script failed. Reason:Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
    2009-12-14 11:59:50 Slp: Error: Action “Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.AnalysisServices.ASSPIInstallFarmAction” threw an exception during execution.
    2009-12-14 11:59:50 Slp: Microsoft.SqlServer.Setup.Chainer.Workflow.ActionExecutionException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object. —> System.Exception: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

  • Anthony: Take a look at:

    My guess is that you have requested “Standalone” SharePoint rather than “Server Farm”/”Complete” when you installed SharePoint.

  • You know, I still laugh every time I review this posting and see the words “Quick like a bunny”. I guess it’s the geek in me that is always surprised to see those words written by you ;-)

  • Marco

    Hi, your “quick as a bunny” trick worked for me perfectly. However, I ran repair on the GEMINIBI SQL server instance instead of performing an uninstall/reinstall.



  • Thanks Dave! I can’t believe this worked!

  • Roger: This was needed for an early CTP with PowerPivot. It was fixed in RTM. You should not need to do this anymore.


  • Thanks Dave, I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I definitely had this problem with the RTM version. In the end I gave up and started with a fresh farm.

  • [...] While I have been recording my installations steps, I will not put them here, as I came across another post that describes the required steps in even more detail, including the solution to my broken setup. [...]

  • [...] The next big hurdle was starting the Analysis Services service in Central Administration. The problem is because I’m installing everything on a Domain Controller things get a little screwed up (I do not recommend doing this in a Test or Production environment and is only for my Dev VM). Whats really scary is the solution! Dave Wickert (blog) found the solution by quickly changing the service account back after starting the service via Central Admin - [...]

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