FAQ: Why is my Self-Service Portal/Service Catalog Blank?

Does your portal look like this?


Here’s why:

The Self-service portal is a SharePoint web site.  That much is fairly obvious since you had to install SharePoint as a prerequisite.  The menu options on the left take you to different pages on the SharePoint site.  Each of those pages has nothing but a single web part in it out of the box.  You can add more if you want but it looks like this if you choose to edit the page:



Notice how the Home page has just the one web part – ServiceCatalogWebPart.

This is a map of the Pages – Web Parts:

Home – ServiceCatalogWebPart

Help Articles – Knowledge Article WebPart

My Requests – My Requests WebPart

My Activities – My Activities WebPart


Those web parts correspond to a set of Silverlight .xap files.

Home – ServiceCatalogWebPart – ServiceCatalogSilverlightModule.xap, ServiceOfferingSilverlightModule.xap, RequestOfferingSilverlightModule.xap

Help Articles – Knowledge Article WebPart – KnowledgeArticleSilverlightModule.xap

My Requests – My Requests WebPart – MyActivitiesSilverlightModule.xap

My Activities – My Activities WebPart – MyRequestsSilverlightModule.xap


These web parts are hosted on the Web Content Server in the folder (by default):

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\System Center Service Manager Portal\ContentHost\ClientBin

There is also a Settings.xml file that is hosted there which contains settings for controlling the layout and format of the Silverlight web parts.


There are also some .resx files which contain localized text strings and some .zip files which contain other things the Silverlight web parts need.

All of these files need to be downloaded to the client browser in order to display the Silverlight web parts.  That’s why this web site is called the *Content* server.

The SCSMWebContentServer is configured to be rooted at C:\inetpub\wwwroot\System Center Server Manager Portal



First of all – you need Silverlight installed!

Secondly – you need to make sure that the Web Content Server URL is configured correctly in the settings of the SharePoint web site.  To do that go to IIS Manager on the SharePoint site web server.

Select Service Manager Portal in the tree.

Double click the Application Settings icon.



Double click the SMPortal_WebContentServer_URL to configure it:


Make sure the name is SMPortal_WebContentServer_URL.

Then make sure that the following is true about the URL:

1) If you are using HTTPS to access the SharePoint site then the value for the Web Content Server URL must also be HTTPS.  If you are using HTTP for SharePoint then the Web Content Server URL should be HTTP.

2) If you are using the NetBIOS name of the computer to access SharePoint then you should have the NetBIOS name of the Web Content Server in the URL.  If you are using FQDN to access SharePoint then configure the Web Content Server URL to use FQDN,

3) Make sure the port is right.  It is configurable during setup.  It should be set to the value that you see when you right click on the SCSMWebContentServer web site and choose Edit Bindings…


If you have the site configured for both HTTP and HTTPS then make sure you configure the URL with the port that corresponds to the protocol.


Then – test the Web Content Server URL first to make sure it is right before you save it.  Just open a browser and paste it in followed by ‘Settings.xml’ e.g. http://SP:85/ContentHost/ClientBin/Settings.xml.  That should resolve to something that looks like this:



If you are using a load balancer for your Web Content Server make sure you are using the cluster name to connect to not one of the individual node names.  See this blog post for more information on How to Configure the Self-Service Portal SharePoint Site or the Web Content Server for Load Balancing.

Hope that helps!