Windows Server 2012 Essentials, An Error prevented the Dashboard from opening

Windows Server 2012 Essentials LogoThis is an issue that has caught me out once or twice in my testing and general messing about with Essentials over the last age, and also someone in the forum just posted a question along these lines so i thought it worth a post. I have been struggling with a bit of ‘writers block’* recently and this seemed to be something easy to get back into blogging again with.

* I do not consider myself to be a writer, merely a lazy admin who had nothing interesting to say.

Anyway…

You have somehow deleted a certificate, and then the Dashboard fails to open. That could be through IIS from the server certificates area, or just through the Local Computer, Personal Certificate store.. but when attempting to open the Dashboard you see:

Dashboard Error

An error prevented the Dashboard from opening..

Essentials 2012 Dashboard Error

If you go to that link you get a TechNet wiki article about SBS 2011 Essentials, and it doesn’t answer this particular issue other than to give some guidance on general issues with certificates.

Thankfully the fix for this is simple.

Go to c:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin and run the WSSPowerShell.exe file.

Then type in: Add-WssLocalMachineCert

WSS PowerShell Window

This will reissue a Certificate to the local computer and also repair the registry settings tied to that certificate.

Add-WSSLocalMachineCert

if you are interested to know, you can see a lot of settings related to Essentials in the registry here:

HKLM>Software>Microsoft>WindowsServer

Essentials 2012 Registry Items

The entries relating to the dashboard error above, can be found under IDENTITY.

Essentials 2012 Registry IDENTITY

In this case the LocalMachineCert value is that of the thumbprint of the certificate the Dashboard expects to be part of the local machine store in order for it to start.

Local Machine Certificates MMC

If that cert is missing or damaged the Dashboard will fail.

Running the above PowerShell cmdlet will request a new certificate and update this registry key with the new thumbprint ID.

Essentials 2012 Registry SSL Thumbprint

You can see the thumbprint value here is updated.

Essentials 2012 SSL Thumbprint

When attempting to open the Dashboard for the first time after this, you may see a warning about Addins that may have caused the problem. You can click on Continue here to get to the Dashboard.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard Safe Mode

Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard

About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

37 Responses to Windows Server 2012 Essentials, An Error prevented the Dashboard from opening

  1. Nilesh Mahajan says:

    Great…..

  2. Michael says:

    Pure AWESOME post. Life-saver, when everyone else says, “Re-install!” Worked perfect on WHS 2011….

  3. Daniel Ball says:

    I changed mine to a workgroup and now i can open it! Can someone please help. The above didn’t work

  4. danielball17 says:

    Can someone please help. I changed mine to a work-group and now i cant open the dashboard. The above solution didn’t solve it but my problem is the exact same. Because im on a workgroup when i run that command it says it cannot find the domain. Please help

  5. Mladen Popov says:

    im getting this error when i execute the command Add-WssLocalMachineCert

    Add-WssLocalMachineCert : Submit error
    At line:1 char:24
    + Add-WssLocalMachineCert <<<<
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Add-WssLocalMachineCert], Cer
    tificatesException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Certificates.Ce
    rtificatesException,Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Administration.AddLoc
    alMachineCert

  6. aauren says:

    This was amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time and posting this! I just wish that Google had indexed it higher. It took me forever to find this article, but once I did it totally saved my bacon!

  7. Mladen Popov says:

    PS C:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin> Add-WssLocalMachineCert
    Add-WssLocalMachineCert : Submit error
    At line:1 char:1
    + Add-WssLocalMachineCert
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Add-WssLocalMachineCert], Cer
    tificatesException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Certificates.Ce
    rtificatesException,Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Administration.AddLoc
    alMachineCert

    So no news on this ?

  8. Mladen Popov says:

    and if yes, this is the outcome

    Add-WssLocalMachineCert : Submit error
    At line:1 char:1
    + Add-WssLocalMachineCert
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Add-WssLocalMachineCert], Cer
    tificatesException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Certificates.Ce
    rtificatesException,Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Administration.AddLoc
    alMachineCert

    PS C:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin>

  9. Mladen Popov says:

    most of the services are down, because i cannot start WSS Service Provider Registry i get Error 1067 when i try it and for the rest i get 1068 which is dependencies error.
    And underneath you can see the message in the events log

  10. Mladen Popov says:

    Im not sure if im looking at the right place but in the event viewer->custom views-> server roles -> AD Certificate services -> is this warning

    Active Directory Certificate Services denied request 9536 because Element not found. 0x80070490 (WIN32: 1168). The request was for CN=MOONSHINE. Additional information: Denied by Policy Module 0x80070490, Active Directory Certificate Services could not find required Active Directory information.
    Resubmitted by SPR\bootlegger

  11. Mladen Popov says:

    There isnt errors or warnings in the system log with source AD Certificate Services.

  12. Mladen Popov says:

    when i restart the service i get this The Windows Server Service Provider Registry service terminated unexpectedly. It has done this 1 time(s). The following corrective action will be taken in 60000 milliseconds: Restart the service.
    There are three different warnings and one error

    warning 1 with source group policy

    The Group Policy Client Side Extension Software Installation was unable to apply one or more settings because the changes must be processed before system startup or user logon. The system will wait for Group Policy processing to finish completely before the next startup or logon for this user, and this may result in slow startup and boot performance.

    warning 2 App Management GP
    Failed to apply changes to software installation settings. The installation of software deployed through Group Policy for this user has been delayed until the next logon because the changes must be applied before the user logon. The error was : %%1274

    warning 3 sorurce App Mngmt GP

    The assignment of application Symantec.cloud – Group Policy Deployment from policy print failed. The error was : %%1274

    and the error source App Mngmt GP
    The removal of the assignment of application Symantec.cloud – Group Policy Deployment from policy print failed. The error was : %%2

    i dont see any other warning or errors that might have impact on that throughout the whole day

    • You need to check the logs in c:\programData\Microsoft\Windows Server\Logs – the sharedService logs are probably a good place to start, but anything time stamed near a service start attempt will work.

      However I suspect the issue is relating to your missing cert – so you are trapped in a bit of a loop.

  13. CamNewton says:

    Hi Robert, I have the same problem, but I’m running Windows Server 2016 Essentials. There is no program called wsspowershell.exe, but I tried add-WssLocalMachineCert in both Windows Powershell and Windows Powershell ISE as an admin. it gives this error:

    —————————————————————————
    add-wsslocalmachinecert : The user name or password is incorrect.
    At line:1 char:1
    + add-wsslocalmachinecert
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Add-WssLocalMachineCert], DirectoryServicesCOMException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : System.DirectoryServices.DirectoryServicesCOMException,Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.
    Administration.AddLocalMachineCert
    ————————————————————————————-

    Any ideas?

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