Forgot Farm Passphrase to the only SharePoint server? Recreate Farm Walkthrough

I recently did an Office Web App uninstall regardless of how my Excel Web App incident went the other day. I found out that after I did the Office Web App uninstall, the server disconnected from the farm. Well, I only THOUGHT I wrote down the farm’s passphrase to get back in. Why would SharePoint lack a tool to get you into the farm if you only have one front-end? I didn’t realize the gravity of keeping that farm passphrase on paper over having it in memory. In my defense, that was quite awhile ago.

So after searching and searching, all the blogs post about the way to reset the farm passphrase from another server on the farm, like so:

1. Must logged into an account that is part of the SharePoint_Shell_Access database role on the SharePoint Config database.

2. Open the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell with administrator (right-click, Run as Administrator)

3.Enter this at the PowerShell prompt:

$passphrase = ConvertTo-SecureString -asPlainText -Force

4. (Enter in a farm passphrase now, and WRITE IT DOWN)

5. Set-SPPassPhrase -PassPhrase $passphrase -Confirm

6. (Enter in the farm passphrase again)

7. Press “Y” to Continue Action.

The farm passphrase has been reset!

Well what if I only have one server on that farm?!? Tough cookies. I was panicking, too. You need to create a new farm, but don’t fret, I’ll walk you through it the way I did it. Hold on to your seat. It’s a scary ride.

First we need to create a new farm. So instead of Connecting to an existing farm, create a new farm.

1. Start the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard as administrator. (Click Yes to reset services warning)

2. Create a new server farm -> Next

3. Specify all same settings, except input a new SharePoint Config database name. Instead of ‘SharePoint_Config’, I input ‘SharePoint_Config2’.

4. Write down a passphrase and remember it. Email it to yourself now and put it on the server as a file on the desktop. Do it NOW not later. You have to recreate another farm it if you can’t remember it again (unless you have another server in the farm, then look at the top of the article to learn to reset it with Powershell). Enter that passphrase in on this screen.

5. Specify port number (I leave this unchecked) and Choose NTLM or Negotiate (NTLM is most common).

6. Review the settings and Click Next to confirm.

7. Click Finish if the Configuration is successful. If not, check your logs. Try logging in as the farm administrator to run the sharepoint products configuration wizard. Also try turning off all firewalls temporarily.

8. When Central Admin starts click No, you don’t want to participate in CEIP.

9. Click Cancel to configure the farm yourself.

10. Go to Application Management – Manage web applications. Delete the web application that says “SharePoint – 80” Leave Content just in case.

11. Create a New Web application with the same database name as the one in your farm originally under the section “Database Name and Authentication” (it is usually called “WSS_Content”, as was mine). Specify all other settings how you had them. Click Create.

12. Make sure you can navigate to your farm.

13. Make sure the service account and application pool accounts are correct. Reconfigure from the default settings.

14. Reload all non-OOTB farm solutions and features they will be re-referenced to the content.

15. I would delete and recreate your search service just in case. I had to because the service service was corrupted on farm creation.

16. Clean up and delete the unused databases on the backend that were referenced in the old farm. They will not be used anymore. Make sure you delete the right databases! Backup all databases before you delete them! Test, test, test!



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