An Unexpected Error Has Occurred, or Unknown Error in WSS 3.0

With Project Server 2007 being a WSS 3.0 application you may come across either of these error messages.  The Unexpected error can appear on web part pages, and the Unknown error is more likely on pages without web parts.  The two errors are really telling you the same thing – This page (or web part) needed some data – but the data doesn’t fit what I was expecting.  If you get this then you probably need to raise a support call (see http://support.microsoft.com for options available to you) – or search through the KBs to see if there is a fix for the specific problem you are seeing (depending when you read this there may or may not be fixes up there right now).

But for some potential immediate relief from the problem here are a few tips that may at least get that page displaying again.  The problem could occur on a number of different pages – but just to give some context lets talk about the “My Tasks” page.  This will be displaying the “My Assignments” view by default, but in fact as this web part loads the SQL stored procedure behind the scenes will be bringing in data for any of the views that a specific user has access to from the drop down of views.  So even if “My Assignments” is the default – if you also have a custom view in the list that perhaps includes some custom fields then this data will also have been retrieved (and could be the culprit!).  So identifying the bad data will help us with your support call and also hopefully get that page working again.  Thinking in rows and columns – any customization will be changing the columns – and the rows will depend on things such as date ranges, tasks and assignments.  So things you can try:-

  • If it is a web part page then go to the Web Part Maintenance and either reset the part – or remove it and then add it back again.  This will have the effect of defaulting the web page settings and if the bad data happened to be beyond the “current tasks” range or other filter specific to the part this may get things working.  This isn’t a fix – just avoiding the bad stuff for now.
  • If you have customized then try removing any additional custom fields or other added fields from the view.  Again this isn’t a fix, and certainly the customizations shouldn’t lead to errors – but it may at least allow you to continue working.
  • Try removing some rows that could be causing the problem – so any recent assignments would be targets – or if timesheets are the problem removing some added task lines might help. 

None of these are meant as long term fixes – they are really just avoiding the issue until a fix can be found – which either the support call or KBs will help you achieve.  But hopefully it will give you an understanding of what might have led to the issue – and could get your resources back up and running while together we solve the deeper problem.

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