New book: Customizing My Site in Microsoft SharePoint 2010


We’re excited to announce that Michael Doyle’s Customizing My Site in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 (ISBN 9780735662087; 112 pages) is now available for purchase!  

You can find the book’s chapter-level table of contents and Introduction to customizing Microsoft SharePoint My Site in this previous post.

In today’s post, please enjoy reading Chapter 3, “Setting Up My Sites.”

Chapter 3

Setting Up My Sites

Setting up a My Site Host is an important step that commands a certain amount of thinking before you start. The first thing you want to consider is whether it will be in its own web application or part of another one. Proper consideration will save you a lot of trouble down the road. Since the My Site Host is going to be a separate site collection anyway, it is almost always best to create it in its own web application. That way, if there are issues with wayward code in an individual’s My Site, it won’t bring down your intranet (or extranet) and vice versa. Also, keeping the My Site Host in its own content database is a good decision, especially if you are going to have personal site collections. This keeps your main (non-My Site) content database more trim and easier to maintain and backup.

The second item that you want to consider is what to name the My Site. You might be thinking right now that you can always change it if you want. Although this might be technically true, it can cause problems later on. If you change the URL of your My Site Host after users have connected to it with Microsoft Outlook in any fashion, these users will be repeatedly prompted to login at random times. This is because Outlook is trying to synchronize data to a location that no longer exists. Also, if you are using the My Site Outlook Social Connector, the connector will need to be reconfigured by each individual. There are lots of popular options for My Site Host names; Home, My, and MySite are the most common ones I have come across. I recommend making the My Site name something that is easy to spell and makes sense to the people who are going to use it. If you are going to deploy My Sites in multiple countries or with multiple languages, it might make more sense to either use a host name that works with all groups, or to have a different My Site Host for each of the distinctive groups.

The third point of consideration is how many My Site Hosts you want to create. Using multiple My Site Hosts makes sense if you have sets of users with distinctively different needs. These user sets can be distinguished by employment status, such as whether they are contractors or regular employees. There might also be a separation that is security based, such as the clearance level of an employee. There is also the concern about language differences. It’s much easier to create different My Site Hosts than to create variations on a single one. Among the reasons for this is that the My Site Host has several pages (even though it looks like one) and you might want to send the employee or user to a particular site no matter what the browser setting says.

While the choices involved in provisioning the My Site Host can be intimidating, as long as you plan ahead, you should be okay when creating your My Site Host, so don’t worry too much about messing it up. You can always start with a pilot group and see how your initial settings work out before committing to any particular scenario. In the worst case, you can change it. The personal sites can be backed up and moved without too much problem, and the Microsoft SharePoint User Profile Service (UPS) stores the users’ data independent of the My Site Host, so you don’t need to worry about losing profile information the users have entered.


There is a lot to consider when you set up quotas for personal site collections. The My Site Host doesn’t need to have a quota set on it since there should only be a few people with rights to add content to it. A large part of the determination of these quotas is to determine how you want users to treat My Sites. If you are going to remove file share access from users (such as removing a “home” drive) for personal storage, you will want to provide a larger storage area. In my experience, most people won’t come close to consuming a reasonably sized quota, but some people will quickly fill it up. An administrator must also consider that some people will want to treat My Site as their personal storage of media files, which is fine if you plan for it, but this can quickly fill up your database if you don’t. Here are some general rules of thumb to follow:

· Keep each content database below 200 gigabytes. This is for performance and disaster recovery concerns. So, if you allow 5 gigabytes per person, you will need a content database for every 40 people (60 if you don’t expect people to fill them up). Note that 5 gigabytes might be unrealistic in organizations with lots of users.

· Files are blocked at a web application level, so if you only have one My Site Host, everyone will have the same set of blocked files. Consider blocking media types if you don’t want people uploading their music files and videos. Most executable type files (for example, .exe, .com, .vbs, .js, and so on) are blocked by default, but it doesn’t hurt to review the list as technology changes.

· All items in the site collection plus any subsites count against the quota. Also, any items in the top-level Recycle Bin count against it. If versioning is turned on, then those versions count against it, as well. Potentially, a user could have very few visible (or zero) items and still run out of quota space.

Setting Personal Site Quotas

My Site quotas are managed in the same place as other quotas by going to Central Administration, clicking Application Management, and then choosing Configure Quotas And Locks. Here, you can specify which site collections use which quota templates, and give individuals their own quotas depending on individual needs. By default, personal sites are given the quota template named Personal Site. To modify this quota template, go to Specify Quota Templates (note that if you have not yet created a My Site host but would like to plan ahead, you can go ahead and create a new quota and name it whatever you want). You will want to choose the Personal Site to modify as shown in the following screenshot. The screenshot shows that this quota has a limit of only 100 megabytes—hardly any space at all these days. So, modifying early on is definitely a good thing if you actually want people to use their personal sites for documents and you have the capacity in your database.

On the Personal Site quota template page, you can change the items as you see fit, including setting limits on the sandboxed solutions. This can be important if you are running into performance issues, but it only affects those solutions that are deployed to places that use this template (for instance, personal sites). You might think you are done once you have modified the template, but sites don’t automatically update with the new template. You can apply the new quota to each site collection by clicking Central Administration | Application Management | Configure Quotas and Locks (which could take hours if you have a lot of personal sites already in place), or you can use PowerShell to apply the modified template to all existing sites in a single update. Use the cmdlet Set-SPSite in conjunction with Get-SPSite to avoid having to run the command for each personal site collection. The command is shown in the following:

Get-SPSite –Limit ALL –WebApplication $MySiteHost |%{ Set-SPSite –QuotaTemplate “Personal Site” –Identity $_.Url }

Replace $MySiteHost with your My Site host URL (for example, http://mysite/) without the path name (“personal”). This command will also set the quota of the My Site host. If needed, the My Site Host quota can then be modified to different settings; doing so affects new My Sites created from the host but does not affect existing ones. Also, if you decided to make a new quota template, replace “Personal Site” in the command with the appropriate template name. Finally, if users have individual quotas, these are overwritten and need to be reapplied. Since this is normally the exception and not the rule, this bulk update should still save you a lot of time.

Visual Upgrade on Site Collections

If you are upgrading from SharePoint 2007, there is an issue to cover with regard to setting up the My Site Host. The existing My Sites will retain the 2007 look and feel, so you will need to do a visual upgrade on the site collections at some point. You can do this from PowerShell by using the following bit of code:

$site=Get-SPWeb <URL of Site>

Replace <URL of Site> with the URL of the site that you want to upgrade. Of course, you probably don’t want to do this on a site-by-site basis, so once you have tested a few site collections (and the top-level site collection), you can use some piping to get the command to run on all the site collections at once. You can do this by using the following PowerShell code:

$web = Get-SPWebApplication <URL of My Site Host> |
foreach{$site in $web.sites){$site.VisualUpgradeWebs()}

If you need to go back to the 2007 version (known as version 3) you can run the following PowerShell code:

Get-SPSite <URL of My Site Host> | Foreach{$_.UIVersionConfigurationEnabled=1;$_.UIVersion=3;$_.Update();

You will need to put in the URL of your My Site host. This changes everything back to the SharePoint 2007 version including the My Site host. You should only do this if for some reason something doesn’t work (for example, a SharePoint 2007–specific Web Part).

Comments (3)
  1. I'm glad to see this is being published.  Outside of various collections of blogs, there was a gap in the published book market for this.

  2. Great!

    I can use a book that can guide me through these customisations.

    Is there going to be a Kindle or e-reader version too ?

  3. Marijn, click the link on the book title and you'll see the various e-formats we have available. Enjoy!

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