Project Server 2007: Where did my Web Part go?

We had a recent customer incident where they could not drill in to projects from Project Center – they just saw a blank section of the page where the drill down should be on the ProjectDrillDown.aspx page.  The web part was gone.  Not sure what had happened – it could have been removed from the page by use of the Web Part Page Maintenance page, which might have been displayed after an error – or it could have been removed accidentally (but not easily – as you will see later…).  Part way through the support incident they had the web part back – but all the drill downs went to the same project.  What was going on?  Read on…

Blank Page

With most cases like this, and the My Tasks page is a good example, you just add the Web Part back and all is good.  However, this page is different as it does not normally allow any layout changes – so web parts cannot be added (or removed).  If you go to Site Actions, Edit Page, there is no “Add a Web Part” option.  The first challenge here then was to get to a position where we could add a web part back again – and this involved editing the aspx page (using Notepad or your favorite text editor) – but first of course you make a backup copy!  The file can be found in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\TEMPLATE\SiteTemplates\PWA by default, and the change is simple – at the end of the aspx page you will find the text AllowLayoutChange="false" and you need to change this to AllowLayoutChange="true".  No IISRESET needed – just save and refresh the page and you will be able to add web parts.

The next challenge was that the list of Web Parts we can add had a Project Details Web Part – and this was added – but the behavior wasn’t as expected.


Whichever project was chosen from the Project Center we saw the same project in the details page – and in fact this was the project that had to be chosen in a dropdown on the web part when it was added.  In fact this is expected behavior as the Web Part added is really intended to be used on a page to show a specific project and does not have any links to the Project Center.  If the Project Details web part is not the right one then how do we fix our page?

The way we resolved this issue was to go to a working instance of the PWA and the ProjectDrillDown.aspx page and using either Site Actions, Edit Page, or simply the unlabelled drop down in the top right of the Web Part, then choosing Export we can save this working Web Part as a .webpart file. 

To Import you need to use the link at the foot of the “Add Web Parts” page.

Link to WebPart Gallery

Then from the next page you can use the Import option (on the drop down that initially says “Browse”) where you can browse to the saved .webpart file, Upload the part and then Import to the page.

After Upload

And you have a fixed ProjectDrillDown page which drills down to the right projects!  Of course the final step is to edit the page back to AllowLayoutChange="false".

We haven’t seen this issue frequently so the loss of the web part isn’t a common scenario – but thought it worth giving details of the repair just in case others run into it. 

This isn’t intended to be a lesson in customizing pages and if any issues arise due to other customizations achieved by changing the false to true then from support we would request you replace the original page to see if the issue was related to your customizations.

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Comments (10)

  1. Ben Howard says:

    Hi Brian,

    An interesting scenario.  Anything that gives us Project guys a little insight into the huge world of WSS is of benefit.  I should really find time for a WSS 101!

  2. Sara Williams says:

    Hi Brian,

    This issue happened to us today and we have SP2 applied.  It was easy to add back the webpart via Site Actions > Edit Page.  However, now I’m struggling to figure out how it was removed.  I know that I as an administrator have the option to easily remove it but I know that our team contributors are NOT able to remove it.  We have other groups in between with less permissions than an administrator but more than the individual contributor.  Can you advise on what permission is allowing this to be removed.  I’ve checked all SharePoint permissions and we have the webpart permissions disabled.  I feel like I’m out of options.

  3. Dave says:

    I have a similar problem appear last week with our 2007 production.  When I click on a project name to drilldown to the details, the PWA.aspx page appears not the drilldown page.  However, drilldown.aspx URL appears in the address bar.  The detail project web parts appear to be working correctly in our workspaces.

    Has anyone experienced this type of problem?  Any suggestions?

  4. Armando says:

    Hi Brian,

    I had the same issue but with the timesheet web part. I know it was a user that had removed it from the web part maintenance page. I have been able to remove access to personal web part, but cant find how to do it for the shared view. Any idea where I can restrict that permission?



  5. Brent says:

    My ASPX Pages are missing the "AllowLayoutChange=" option, where exactly do I add that to set it to false? I’m not familar with the syntax.

  6. Hi Brent,

    Are these the pages I am referring to above? They should be there – or just reference one I have mentioned and you should be able to see the syntax.

    Best regards,


  7. Al says:

    Hi Brian,

    this issue happend to us right today in a large enterprise environment after months without any problems like this.

    As usual your article was the only one that even addressed this exotic behaviour and helped me solving it within minutes! Otherwise I guess I would have been stucked with it for a while.

    Thanks a lot!

  8. Hi Brian,

    This issue is very old but it happened to me last month. This happens in the Tasks page as you described above and the web part inserted in the home page works so I thought it was a damaged web part as you mentioned above. But there is something odd happening to me. We have two PWA administrators with same security rights, including in WSS and in the servers, but when my colleague logs in from PWA changing the user, the Tasks page, the web part works and when I log on again from PWA to my account, the web part is blank. The same happens logging out/in the windows session and using other workstations. I also cleaned the IE cache without any change. What could it be? The only diference between our accounts is that I do not have a task assigned to me. EPM 2007 with WSS 3 x86 are updated with SP3 and August 2012 CU and we use SQL 2005 x64 SP3. Workstations run Windows 7 Professional x86 or x64 updated with Windows Update.

    Any idea?

    Ricardo Segawa

    PS. my account is the service account of the EPM server (install, app. pool and app. services).

  9. Ben Howard says:

    Hi Brian, this happend to one of my customers on a 2007 system, but it was my Tasks that disappeared.  Easy to add back, but we're not sure why the webpart globally disappeared.

  10. Thanks Ben – and yes, finding out what happened after the event is never easy.

    Best regards,


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