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September 19
How to Disable the Flow button in SharePoint Online

Now, now, I know what you’re thinking, “This is a terrible idea! Why would any want to disable Flow?? What’s Flow ever done to them anyway?” I’m right there with you, honest I am, but a customer asked me how to do this and I can’t imagine they’re the only ones trying to do it. So while I’m a big fan of Flow and think everyone should enjoy it, in the unlikely event your organization doesn’t want to, here’s how to disable it.

When things are in their default state, the Ribbon, or Toolbar in a Modern List or Document Library in Office 365 shows an easy to use link to wire up a Flow to the library. It looks like this:


Very cute, very innocent, but regardless, some folks don’t want it there. Even if the user hitting the list or library isn’t licensed to use Flow, it’s there. This is a per site collection setting, and nowhere in the site or site collection settings is there a place to shut it off. I turned on the Bat Signal, and PowerShell answered my call. Sort of…

The official Microsoft SharePoint Online cmdlets have a cmdlets, Set-SPOSite and it has a parameter, –DisableFlows. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Of course you are. And it does what we want, kind of. Here’s how the whole solution looks:

Connect-SPOService -Url

$val = [Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.TenantAdministration.FlowsPolicy]::Disabled
Set-SPOSite -Identity -DisableFlows $val

You have to do the funny business with $val because the –DisableFlows parameter doesn’t accept a boolean, like a civilized parameter does, it requires its value to be in the form of a Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.TenantAdministration.FlowsPolicy object, whatever that is. So that’s what it gets.

Now when we go to our Document Library it looks like this:


Sad, I know. When you come to your senses and want to reenable Flow, here’s how you do it:

$val = [Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.TenantAdministration.FlowsPolicy]::NotDisabled
Set-SPOSite -Identity -DisableFlows $val

And now is all right in the world.

Unless you have the fancy Site Collections that are using Groups in the background. Then you get the “womp womp” sound from Set-SPOSite. Okay, it really says, “Set-SPOSite : is a Groups site collection.” but we all know what it really means. A less motivated man would have given up at this point. He would have taken this as a sign from the universe that one should not be disabling Flows, it’s just unnatural. Not this man. (In reality, not this man’s customer). So I went to Plan B, the PnP PowerShell, and it did not disappoint. The PnP’s version of the Set-Site cmdlet works with Group Site Collections and doesn’t require any weird casting voodoo. Here’s how it looks:

Connect-PnPOnline -Url -Credentials 'SteffenAdmin'

Set-PnPSite -DisableFlows:$true

Here’s how you right that wrong:

Set-PnPSite -DisableFlows:$false

That’s much easier, and works on all site collections.

There you have it. I hope you never have to use it. Smile



September 18
[WEBINAR] How to Prepare for an Upgrade to SharePoint 2019

Are you excited about SharePoint 2019? You know I am! Join me Thursday, September 27th at 10 CDT for a free (as in beer) webinar where I talk about what I’m doing with my customers to get them all primed and ready for SharePoint 2019. Some will be technical, some will be social, but it will all be fun.

The fine folks at SysKit are footing the bill for it all. Thanks!

Sign up here!

I hope to see you there.



September 15
Patches causes SharePoint Workflows to Stop Working

This isn’t specifically a SharePoint patching issue, but it’s close enough I thought I’d add it. A recent .NET security patch, KB 4457916, while doing a bang-up job fixing a remote exploitation in .NET, broke Workflows in SharePoint. Of course you could uninstall the patch, but everyone except the bad guys think that’s a horrible idea. Fortunately there’s a  fix that allows you all the protection of the patch as well as continue to enjoy SharePoint workflows. This blog post on MSDN provides the solution;

After that, you should be good to go.

This issue punctuates why it’s important to keep an eye on the Windows patches on your SharePoint servers. If you’re using some sort of patch distribution service, like WSUS, your SharePoint servers should be in their own group.

If you’ve had any experience with this patch or the fix, leave a comment below.



September 12
Podcast 400 - Drumroll Please

It's the big 4-0-0! Todd and Shane look back at the last nine years of podcasting glory. They also welcome a new sponsor, AppRiver. While they're waxing nostalgically they talk about the great time they had at SPTechCon in Boston. After all that's finished they get down to some tech goodness. They give their review of Bob German's recent posting on how to customize and brand SharePoint Online. The SharePoint Online PowerShell module got an exciting change and they cover that as well. They finish up by talking about the recent Azure outage and some cool things Shane has done with PowerApps and Flow.

Thanks to our sponsor, AppRiver.

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Podcast 400 - Drumroll Please (Time 1_10_24;09) 

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Running Time: 48:49


3:00 Update to SysKit Insights
13:05 AppRiver our newest Sponsor
18:35 SPTechCon Austin 2019
31:20 Branding SharePoint: The New Normal
34:23 Announcing availability of SharePoint Online Management Shell from PowerShell Gallery
43:25 PowerApps Google Maps API
43:26 PowerApps Generate a PDF with a Flow
44:00 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
46:10 9th Thrive Conference


September 07
Podcast 399 - Looks Very Familiar
August 08
Podcast 398 - Sounds Dumb

Shane and Todd are back together this week and a good time is had by all. They talk about patches, SharePoint 2019, blogging every day, EVERY DAY, for over a year. That and more this week on Todd and Shane's Cloudy Podcast.

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Podcast 398 - Sounds Dumb (Time 0_00_03;18)

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Running Time: 48:43


1:00 SPDocKit Review – July 2018
2:00 New in SysKit Security Manager: Automatic Discovery of Site Collections
23:49 The Patch that is destroying the world
28:30 SharePoint Server 2019 Public Preview
34:38 SharePoint Server 2016 dev/test environment in Azure
35:00 Shanes Video series
36:41 SharePoint 2013/2010 - Remove Columns Name from Group View
40:26 Vote for Save in AutoSave
38:06 Tracy van der Schyff
40:00 SPS Charlotte
41:00 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
42:00 SPTechCon Boston


July 24
SharePoint Server 2019 Public Preview is Here! Glory Be!

There are a few things I get really, really excited about. Buy one, get one free day at Dairy Queen is one of them. New versions of SharePoint are another. DQ failed me today, but Microsoft did not. Today they released the SharePoint Server 2019 Public Preview. You can read all about it on Bill Baer’s Tech Community blog post. 

If you don’t want to read all of Bill’s words (who does, really?) here are some quick links:

Download SharePoint Server 2019

SharePoint 2019 Quick Start Guide

SharePoint 2019 Reviewer’s Guide

Now that SharePoint 2019 is out you can look forward to some blog posts here about it. Leave me comments below and let me know what you think.



July 22
Podcast 397 - Together, Cozy

Another blissful week of no Shane. Ahhh, so refreshing. Todd takes advantage of this quality time to talk about nuts and bolts things like patching and account permissions. He also makes fun of Amazon Prime Day. Microsoft had a couple of big announcements around Teams and Whiteboard, and he tells you what that's all about. Finally, he tells you about some recent things he's published.

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Podcast 397 - Together, Cozy (Time 0_50_02;23)

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Running Time: 35:54


  1. 05:39 Account permissions
  2. 19:49 Microsoft Teams has a free tier now
  3. 23:43 Microsoft Whiteboard generally available for Windows
  4. 25:39 SPDocKit Review – July 2018
  5. 30:01 SharePoint Best Intentions – Planning versus Reality
  6. 31:00 Business Application Summit Keynote Live
  7. 34:04 SPS Charlotte
  8. 34:10 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
  9. 34:30 Business Application Summit
  10. 34:35 SPTechCon Boston


July 19
SharePoint Best Intentions – Planning versus Reality

I’ve published another article at, SharePoint Best Intentions – Planning versus Reality. You’ll like it. I promise.



July 18
SPDocKit Review – July 2018

Back in May I started doing marketing work for SysKit, the folks that bring you fine products like SPDocKit. One of the things they asked me to do was to write a review of SPDocKit from the view of someone that uses it. They know I’ve been a big fan of SPDocKit for years, so I was happy to do it. This blog post is my review of SPDocKit, or at least the first part of it. I had so many things to say SysKit had to finally cut me off and tell me to publish the thing. I may follow this up with some more thoughts later.

Here it is, my review of SPDocKit.

I've been a SharePoint Administrator for a lot of years, the majority of my professional career. Over that time I've seen a lot of SharePoint utilities come and go. A few have grabbed me as being must haves, and SPDocKit is one of them. Since the first time I used it I knew how much value it provided the SharePoint admin, and with each update it's gotten even better. Today I want to walk you through a quick review of a few of my favorite pieces of SPDocKit and how you can put it to use for you.

One of SharePoint's biggest strengths, and why I think it has been so popular is how easy it makes things for the users. IT is no longer the bottleneck to adding functionality or getting things done. If a user wants to add someone to their site, they can. If a user wants to create a new list, library, or even subsite, they can. No waiting on hold with the helpdesk. No filling out a web form that they didn’t know existed. No bribing IT with a bag of candy. All without IT lifting a finger. A win for IT, a win for the user, and ultimately a win for the business. But it does have a cost…

SharePoint's greatest strength, putting power in the hands of the people, is also one of its greatest problems. Users don't care about governance, security, storage resources, any of that. They just worry about getting their job done. Unfortunately, sometimes that runs afoul of IT, and without IT knowing about it. Over the years IT departments have either been blindsided by this, when data leaked out, or drives filled up, or they’ve cobbled together solutions to keep an eye on it. I learned a long time ago what my favorite solution to the problem was, frequent doses of SPDocKit applied liberally to my SharePoint farms.

SPDocKit is a tool, conceived and inspired by SharePoint experts, that documents your SharePoint farm in stunning detail. That sounds pretty boring on its surface, no one likes documentation. But the folks at SysKit have taken SharePoint documentation to a whole new level. They’ve made documentation fun, and very powerful. Not only does it do an impressively thorough of documenting a SharePoint farm, it produces completely customizable professional looking reports that are useful to admins, and their bosses. Personally, I don’t think any SharePoint farm is complete without SPDocKit. It gives the SharePoint Admin a fighting chance of keeping up with the growth and proliferation of their farms.

The SPDocKit installation is a breeze. Don’t take my word for it, download a trial for free and walk through the install yourself. It’s right up my alley as a SharePoint admin that enjoys clicking “next” and “finish” a lot. You have the option to have SPDocKit store its results in SQL, and I recommend that. Since you’re documenting SharePoint you have a SQL instance at your disposal. Letting SPDocKit use SQL allows it to take advantage of SQL’s database engine to run queries and give you better information faster.

Another nice touch is that while SPDocKit caters to SharePoint admins, it also has an install mode for SharePoint consultants, such as myself. This allows me to run it on a customer’s farm without leaving it there afterwards. Features like this showcase how in tune the SPDocKit developers are with the people that use their tools.

Once you get SPDocKit installed you’re greeted with a very friendly page that shows you what tools are at your disposal.


There are a ton of great tools in SPDocKit, but the ones I use the most are in the top heading, Documentation and Configuration. This is where SPDocKit got its start and where it really shines, in my opinion.

My trips into SPDocKit on a new farm usually start with “Take Snapshot.” If SPDocKit had a weakness (and I’m not sure it does) it would be that it does too good of a job collecting data. It finds useful information in many dark corners of SharePoint, and in that can be overwhelming depending on how big your farm is, or what information you’re looking for. To help combat the potential information overload, SPDocKit has a couple of options for what is collected during a snapshot. The “Default” mode is a good place to start. That report runs pretty quickly and gives you a good overview of what snapshots collect.


As you get more familiar with SPDocKit you can fine tune what does and does not get included in the Snapshot. Choosing the “Custom” mode lights up the “Options” step, which gives you more fine tuning on what is and isn’t included in the Snapshot.


You can run Snapshots as often as you’d like. SPDocKit keeps track of them all. At any point you can look at any previous Snapshot. You can create a report from the Snapshot, or even more.

The obvious power of snapshots is to give you an easily consumable look at your farm at that moment. See how things are going, so you can address something if it needs it, or be proactive and get ahead of any problems coming down the road. SPDocKit does that with ease, but it takes it one step further. It allows you to compare snapshots over time, so you can also see trends in your farm.


The Compare Wizard can also compare two different farms, for instance, if you want to compare your Test farm with Production.


If you choose to compare two snapshots from the same farm you get a dialog box that lets you choose which two Snapshots to compare.


Once you choose the Snapshots, SPDocKit gets to work comparing them. After that’s finished, you got a dialog like the one below.


There are several results possible for each compared node. In the screenshot above, SPDocKit pointed out that the build number was different between the two Snapshots. The Snapshot taken before was running the April 2018 patch, 16.0.4678.1001. Some time after that, the farm was patched to the June 2018 patch, 16.0.4705.1000. If we drill down farther, we can also see there are differences in the site collections and content databases in the farm.


The place where SPDocKit really shines is with its reporting. As a nerd, it’s often tough for me communicate correctly with non-nerdy audiences. I get all excited about the technical aspects of something, and completely forget that not everyone else does. Sometimes I need help presenting in a way that can be easily consumed by my audience. SPDocKit lets me do this. It lets me see all the deep technical details of my farm, all the bytes of this, the users in that, but also lets me take that information, and distill it down to something that any CIO or other higher level person can look at and makes heads or tails of, without being overwhelmed by all the technical minutia. Not only does SPDocKit create easy to read, professional looking reports, it allows you nearly infinite customization options. This can be what information is reported, how deeply that information is reported, and even the style and colors used to report it. If your company has a particular color palette it uses, SPDocKit can make your reports match that. Want to put your corporate logo on the reports, too? Easy enough. And once you get the formatting exactly how you want it, you just save the template and SPDocKit lets you use that any time you create a report.

I fill pages with all the customization options you have, but I won’t do that. I’ll show you a couple and let you take SPDocKit for a trial run and explore on your own.

When you want to create a report, choose the Snapshot you want to report on and open it up. In the ribbon at the top you’ll see “Generate” in the Documentation area.


Notice “Customization” right next to that.

Choose the format you want your documentation in. I usually choose PDF, as that is easy to forward on to whoever I am reporting to. After you choose the documentation type I’m presented with a dialog box asking which Template I want to use. These templates let you pick what information is included in the report.


Like the default Snapshot, choosing the “Simple Documentation” template is a good place to start. If you change any of the objects reported, SPDocKit will ask you at the end if you want to save it. That’s how I created the cleverly named “Temp 1” template at the end of that list.

Once you’re satisfied that the information you want is in there, and the information you don’t want isn’t, click “Generate.” You’ll get the familiar Save dialog box where you can specify the name and location of your report.

SPDocKit will open the report for you after it’s been saved. It will probably be a lot of pages, so don’t be surprised if you don’t have to run the Report Generation wizard a few times to get exactly the right information. Here are a couple of screenshots of the report I ran on one of my test servers:




Here’s the Microsoft Word version of the same report, with a little color splashed on for good measure.


As you can see, for good or bad, you have a lot of flexibility.

I’ve run out of time for this blog post and I’ve only scratched the surface of what SPDocKit can do. There’s so much more to talk about. In an upcoming blog post I’ll gush over the other features that make SPDocKit such a great and indispensable tool.



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June 2018

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