Project Server 2010: SP1 and June 2011 CU–FormatException when trying to provision a PWA site

Thanks to everyone who joined Adrian and I for this morning’s webcast – we sure covered a lot of stuff (well mostly Adrian – with the June CU update).  For those who couldn’t attend you can listen to the recording

*** Update *** 7/8/2011 - It appears the problem relates to the People Picker on the page, and another workaround in the UI is just to re-type the account for the Administrator Account in the dialog before submitting and things will work.  If you look carefully you will see that an extra space creeps in when the page refreshes - so for example Domain\User gets validated as User the first time - but on refresh it will look like  User with a leading space (hope that underlined white space doesn't get lost somewhere between my screen and the Interweb thing...) .  Thanks to Rob and Marius for the quick work on the workaround - and I'll keep you posted on a more permanent fix.

*** End Update *** 

One thing I mentioned towards the end was a bug that both Adrian and I had seen since loading SP1 and the June Cumulative Update around provisioning PWA sites if you had more than one web application to choose from on your ManagePWA page.  Well we just had our first customer hit this same issue – so looks like it is out in the wild and not just something Adrian and I broke on our servers.  Still digging in to the detail and trying to find the root of the issue – but the workaround is simple – just use PowerShell to create the PWA site.  More on that later – first some details of the error so the search engines find this posting.  You will either get it when selecting a web app other than the default and filling the page and clicking OK – but you can also see it if you just change from a web app that is not the default to another one in this dialog:


and this will be the error you get


and the text for the search engine – String was not recognized as a valid boolean.:

and from the ULS logs:

07/06/2011 16:27:50.59    w3wp.exe (0x1E10)    0x1FF4    SharePoint Foundation    Runtime    tkau    Unexpected    System.FormatException: String was not recognized as a valid Boolean.    at System.Boolean.Parse(String value)     at Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls.EntityEditor.ParseSpanData(String spans)     at Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls.EntityEditor.LoadPostData(String postDataKey, NameValueCollection values)     at System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessPostData(NameValueCollection postData, Boolean fBeforeLoad)     at System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint)    c52c7488-9e1f-4a26-a256-de796d689c12

The PowerShell workaround is really straightforward – you can use the New-SPProjectWebInstance command, and either give all the parameters or just hit return and respond to the prompts.  The URL is the full URL of the Project Web App you wish to provision.  Full details on using Windows PowerShell for Project Server 2010 can be found at and here is the syntax listing from the {PowerShell get-help command on the  New-SPProjectWebInstance command


    Creates a new instance of a Project Server service application.

    New-SPProjectWebInstance -AdminAccount <String> -ArchiveDbname <String> -DraftDbname <String> -PrimaryDbserver <String> –publishedDbname <String> -ReportingDbname <String> -ReportingDbserver <String> [-PrimaryDBMirrorServer <
String>] [-ReportingDBMirrorServer <String>] -Url <String> [-AssignmentCollection <SPAssignmentCollection>] [-HostHeaderWebapplicationUrl <String>] [-Lcid <Int32>] [-Wait <SwitchParameter>] [<CommonParameters>]

    Use the New-SPProjectWebInstance cmdlet to create a new instance of a Project Server service application. An instance of a Project Server service application is referred to as a Project Web Access (PWA) instance.


    To see the examples, type: "get-help New-SPProjectWebInstance -examples".
    For more information, type: "get-help New-SPProjectWebInstance -detailed".
    For technical information, type: "get-help New-SPProjectWebInstance -full".

Once you’ve used this you will never want to go back to the UI!  I’ll update this entry as we find more information and have news on any fix.

Comments (12)

  1. Chad says:

    I experienced the same issue in the GUI.  Had to use PS to provision.  Also seeing this Boolean error elsewhere:  Create a new site (blank, team, etc…) and choose unique permissions when creating it.  Then when the permissions screen appears select that you would like to reuse another sharepoint group, say for example, the owners group.  Once you choose another group and hit OK…boom = error.  Cor ID this time doesnt say "String was not recognized as a valid boolean" but when tracing the logs back to the error it does.  Probably the same error we are seeing with gui pwa provisioning.

  2. Thanks Chad – your repro steps worked for me too – or rather they didn't work – but gave me the error.

    Best regards,


  3. Brian, can you ask the team to clean up the descriptions / etc. on that PowerShell command.





       Creates a new instance of a Project Server service application.

    ** Actually, creates a new PWA instance, not a service app.


       Use the New-SPProjectWebInstance cmdlet to create a new instance of a Project Server service application. An instance of a Project Server service application is referred to as a Project Web Access (PWA) instance.

    so, again, confused, yes?

    and I thought PWA was "Project Web App" (2010) not "Project Web Access" (2007)

    or please clarify, if I have it wrong…

  4. Good catch ErockP3 – I'm also not too happy with that description as we don't normally think of PWA as an instance of the service application – and App certainly is the new term.

    Best regards,


  5. Steffen says:

    Hi Brian, after installing refreshed CU 06/11 the problem allready exist. Do you have any news when the problemn should fixed?



  6. Hi Steffen – no news on a fix date yet – but wouldn't expect anything before the next cumulative update as the workarounds for the issue are so straightforward.  Also the refresh of the June CU was never intended to address this issue so no suprise that it has not fixed it.

    Best regards,


  7. Phil says:

    This bug seems to have affected our custom SharePoint 2010 site provisioning as well..and unfortunately, there's no way to workaround the issue as described.  I think the issue will be more widespread as other SharePoint 2010 sites apply the latest updates.

  8. Hi Brian,

    I have an instance of SPF 2010 x64 which has come under the same problem which Chad has described.

    However we do not have Project Server installed and its affecting any new sites which do not inherited permissions from its parent.



  9. Chad Olson says:

    I was told if you use the People Picker and select the same Administrator account that it works. I haven't validated this yet.

  10. Thanks Chad – and yes, I think if you used the people picker again it would work – as long as you don't refrsh again afterwards.

    Best regards,


  11. S M Asad Abbas says:

    I am also facing the same issue im SharePoint 2010 after applying June 2011 Cumulative Update. When i try to create the Organization Profile under User Profile Service Application and check anhy of the following check boxes:

    1. Include direct reports of leaders as members

    2. Include all direct reports and extended reports of leaders as members

    The Organization Members people try to populate members and the page goes to unexpected error.

    Following the the error in ULS Log:

    System.FormatException: String was not recognized as a valid Boolean.  

    at System.Boolean.Parse(String value)    

    at Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls.EntityEditor.ParseSpanData(String spans)    

    at Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls.EntityEditor.LoadPostData(String postDataKey, NameValueCollection values)    

    at System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessPostData(NameValueCollection postData, Boolean fBeforeLoad)    

    at System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint).

    I hope a fix has arrived.

  12. Yes, S M Asad Abbas – a fix was in the August Cumulative Update.  Also in most circumstances just re-typing the account will work around the issue.

    Best regards,


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