Brian Blogs on SharePoint

Information, curiosities, and observations about SharePoint and the community.

WSS 3.0 – "Cannot retrieve properties at this time."

Posted by Brian Gough on May 20, 2007

This is an error that would rear its ugly head from time to time since SharePoint 2.0. It is thrown sometimes when trying to use the Content Editor Webpart (CEWP).

One fix that is widely documented is to make sure that your site in IIS is using “All Unassigned” IP addresses instead a specific IP. They also suggest you ensure that you are using Host Headers to render multiple sites on the same port. So, you might want to check that first.

In my case however, I already had all that in place but still got the error on my WSS 3.0 site. I always seem to be the exception to the rules… hmmmm

A solution I discovered involves removing SharePoint from the web application and extending the web application again.


Before doing anything…

  • If you have made any modifications to the webconfig to support any customizations or use of assemblies like SmartPart ( or any flavor thereof), make a copy of your webconfig and any custom directories, such as /usercontrols before proceeding.
  • Make note of the content database it is currently using.


  • Using the SharePoint Administration site, select the site that is throwing the error.
  • Choose to remove SharePoint from that site. When you make this selection, do NOT delete the database!! This will keep it available for when we extend the site again.
  • After SharePoint has been removed, you want to select the option to Extend a site.
  • Select the IIS Web Application again, choose to use the same content database it was connected to before.
  • Once the site is extended, SharePoint is now installed on that web application.
  • Replace your old webconfig and custom directorories, if needed
  • Run IISReset.

You should now be able to render the site and use the CEWP without the error occurring.

I wish I could say what causes this error but I have not discovered that yet. If anyone can shed light on that I would love to be shown that light!

BTW, I mention this solution on the discussion boards for SharePoint as well.

I hope this helps some of you out there.

Good Luck and good coding.


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