“Requested registry access is not allowed” error on .Net / SharePoint application

    The error message “Requested registry access is not allowed” coming from a .Net / SharePoint application can be slightly misleading as I will explain in this post.  Today I ran into this error message while trying to log into a Forms Based Authentication (FBA) SharePoint site at my client.  The hosting web front end (WFE) server was recently rebuilt from scratch (re: fresh OS) so first thoughts pointed towards a permissions error relating to IIS and the registry.  Sadly that started to take me down the wrong path.  Luckily my coworker Kelly Jones overheard me talking about this error and pointed me to an article he remembered from a previous project with the same error.  Read this Microsoft support article for info about the true error with the event log.

    As part of the custom applications we are hosting on SharePoint we also built a logging component that writes out to the event log when errors occur.  In order to distinguish our event log entries we created a new event log source under the Application event log.  The code to do add this event log source is very simple (see below) but it must be executed as a user with administrative access because it requires writing to the registry.  Ahh, so our old friendly but misleading error message from above about the registry did have a hand in our problem, but that wasn’t readily apparent at first.

if (!EventLog.SourceExists("MyNewEventLogSource"))

{

    EventLog.CreateEventSource("MyNewEventLogSource", "EventLog");

}

 

     Here’s the long explanation of why this error occurred in the first place.  Typically our custom event log source is created during installation of the WSP that handles our logging, or just before a new event log entry is written if it doesn’t already exist.  When we rebuilt the primary WFE we rebuilt the entire server from scratch (re: blank OS).  When that WFE rejoined the farm it didn’t contain the custom event log source.  The WSP for logging wasn’t reinstalled (because it was already installed on the farm) so it didn’t fire the code to add the custom event log source back to the primary WFE.  After the primary WFE took back hosting duties and encountered the login warning the application pool identity attempted to write out to our custom event log source.  Our application pool identity doesn’t have local admin permissions on that server so it failed to created the event log source.  Consequently that failed attempt at event log source creation throws an exception that wasn’t properly handled (can’t write out the exception leading to a chicken and egg scenario) so it bubbled up to the user.

     Long story short, I wrote a very simplistic console app to run on any WFE that may be affected by this situation in the future.  Below is a bare bones version of the method but you’ll get the idea.  We are looking into a more permanent solution on how to avoid this situation in the future, but the need to be run as a local admin account adds some extra kinks.  For now this console app will get us through.

static public void MyEventLogInstaller(string EventSourceName)

{

    if (!EventLog.SourceExists(EventSourceName))

    {

        Console.WriteLine("Source doesn't exist, attempting create");

 

        try

        {

            EventLog.CreateEventSource(EventSourceName, "Application");

        }

        catch (Exception ex)

        {

            Console.WriteLine("Error creating event log source: " + ex.Message);

        }

    }

    else

    {

        Console.WriteLine("Source already exists, not performing any actions");

    }

}

     Hopefully this post sheds some light into the partially cryptic error message I saw and saves you from wasting time looking into registry permissions as I did at first.  Enjoy.

 

    -Frog Out

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