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Error message when you try to use the SharePoint Products and Technologies Wizard: "Exception: System.ArgumentException: Error during encryption or decryption"

Consider the following scenarios:
  • Scenario 1
    You install Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and then you install Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Then, you remove SharePoint Server 2007.
  • Scenario 2
    You install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and then you use Add or Remove Programs to remove Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Then, you reinstall Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
  • Scenario 3
    You install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 in a stand-alone farm environment. You use the SharePoint Products and Technologies Wizard (PsconfigUI.exe) or Psconfig.exe from the command line to leave the stand-alone farm. Then, you use SharePoint Products and Technologies Wizard or Psconfig.exe from the command line to rejoin the farm.
In these scenarios, the next time that you try to run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Wizard, you receive an error message that resembles the following:
10/09/2006 14:08:26 8 ERR Task configdb has failed with an unknown exception 10/09/2006 14:08:26 8 ERR Exception: System.ArgumentException: Error during encryption or decryption. System error code 997. at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPCredentialManager.DecryptWithMasterKey(Byte[] rgbEncryptedPassphrase) at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPEncryptedString.GetSecureStringValue() at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPEncryptedString.get_SecureStringValue() at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPProcessIdentity.get_SecurePassword() at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPApplicationPool.Provision() at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebServiceInstance.Provision() at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPFarm.Join() at Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.ConfigurationDatabaseTask.CreateOrConnectConfigDb() at Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.ConfigurationDatabaseTask.Run() at Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.TaskThread.ExecuteTask()
This issue occurs if the Network Service account is used as the farm account. In this situation, when you remove Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 from a stand-alone farm, or when you remove SharePoint Server 2007 from a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 farm environment, the following registry subkey that is used to encrypt passwords that are contained in the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 configuration database (configdb) is deleted:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\12.0\Secure\ FarmAdmin\
Therefore, when you try to join a Web application that exists in the configuration database that does not use the Network Service account, the Web application account credentials cannot be decrypted. This occurs because the required registry subkey is deleted.
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to create a new SharePoint Configuration database. Before performing this action save any SharePoint settings that will be needed to recreate the SharePoint farm if it is still accessible. These include, but are not limited to farm wide settings in Central Administration, web application settings and site customizations. It may not be possible to join a SharePoint server back to the original Configuration database when experiencing the above error.

To work around this issue, run Psconfig.exe at the command line to create a new Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 configuration database. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. At the command line, change to the following directory:
    \Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\BIN
  3. At the command prompt, type the following command to create a new configuration database:
    psconfig -cmd configdb -create -server ServerName -database ConfigDBName -user Domain\User -password Password
  4. Rerun the SharePoint Products and Technologies Wizard.

Article ID: 927156 - Last Review: 09/22/2011 02:30:00 - Revision: 5.0

  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • kbtshoot kbexpertiseinter kbprb KB927156