SharePoint Error – Cannot connect to Server

I have just spent an eternity trying to troubleshoot this error and I almost decided to rebuild my whole server image.  I tend to work a lot using virtual images, mainly vmware, and a couple of times I have had this error when accessing SharePoint data via MS Office –

“Cannot connect to the server at this time. Changes to your data cannot be saved.”

I have only ever seen it when running an image and have never seen it on a physical environment. 

It seems to me that it is related to Windows thinking that it is offline and not connected to a network which I guess makes some kind of sense and so what you need to do is make it stop checking the network connectivity.  This is easily done by stopping the System Event Notification Service (SENS) which is used by office to check network availability etc.

Microsoft’s summary of the SENS service is as follows:

“Networked applications must deal with a host of connection problems ranging from timeouts to congestion to unavailability. If these applications can check the current connection status and, when disconnected, cache transmissions, they become more efficient. Fortunately, both the System Event Notification System (SENS) and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) can send notifications to keep applications informed of network status.”

So the process is to:

  1. Close all running applications
  2. Press the Windows key and ‘R’ or select Start and then Run.
  3. Type in net stop sens and click OK

This will stop the service and also stop the error occurring.  Please note that I am only working on a dev image and couldn’t recommend doing this on a Production server.

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About rearcardoor

Chairman and founder of ImageFast Ltd, a leading UK ECM consultancy business and Microsoft Gold Partner. Over 20 years experience delivering successful ECM projects utilising scanning, data capture, document management, records management, workflow, BPM and SharePoint.
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