Change your PassPhrase using PowerShell

Changing the Farm’s PassPhrase, is it difficult and something that canb possible screw Everything up? Or is it an easy and pretty trival task?

I’d say the latter, changing it is easy, what is important and hard, is to make sure that dokumentation and possibly secure stores and such are updated to reflect the change. Remember, as long as you have at least one SharePoint server still connected/joined to the farm, you can Always reset the PassPhrase again. It’s when you have a single Config Database without a single server that you really really want to have the PassPhrase documented and in order.

So, how to do it practically? There is really only one way, and that is using PowerShell:

Open a PowerShell Prompt as Administrator.
Load the SharePoint Module:

Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell

Enter this at the PowerShell prompt:

$passphrase = ConvertTo-SecureString -asPlainText -Force

Input the new passphrase and hit Enter

Enter this at the PowerShell prompt:

Set-SPPassPhrase -PassPhrase $passphrase -Confirm

You will be asked to confirm the passphrase by re-entering it in cleartext
Re-enter the passphrase and hit Enter
You will be asked if you are sure that you want to perform this action, type Y (for Yes) and hit Enter

Your farm passphrase has now been reset!

Next time, use the new PassPhrase when joining the farm.

!! And remember to update any documentation !!

Why I had to do this now? Well, this is, I’m currently helping a customer setting up Resporting Services for SharePoint, that requires an extra server joined to the farm with SSRS and SP installed on them. I installed the server and added all the SP’s and LP’s and CU’s and soon, until we were good to go to join it into the farm. Now, I got prompted for the PassPhrase…hmm. This farm was setup some time ago by a different firm and they are not around anymore…
My customer sent me the documentation on the farm setup but no luck. The PassPhrase was forgotten and gone…
So, instead of panicking and screaming for a complete reinstall, I started to look for the way to retrieve it or reset it. Turns out, you can reset it but never retrieve it. You must have one server still in the farm to be able to reset it, this server is wehere you run the Powershell commands from.

So, now my PassPhrase is reset, I quickly added it to textfile on the server and also emailed it to my customer. Later, I will also add it to the Farm documentation for future reference.




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