Home > Articles > Data > SQL Server

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

After Installation—Tuning and Reconfiguring

After you've completed the Setup wizard, you might find it necessary to go back and change some of the settings. One approach you might consider is to uninstall and reinstall Reporting Services to make some of these changes. However, we don't encourage that as there are a number of splinters left behind that make this problematic. See the section later in this chapter on uninstalling before taking that route. You can change the configuration files as described here—if you're careful.

In any case, if you're using SSL security as we suggested, we recommend that you change both the RSReportServer.config and RSWebApplication.config files to include the correct URL and SecureConnectionLevel settings. These changes are described in detail below.

The Reporting Services Configuration Files


We've already talked quite a bit about the configuration items in the RSReportServer.config file—its default location is \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL\Reporting Services\ReportServer. We should mention a few more elements before discussing the other configuration files.

You can control which instance of SQL Server the Report Server web and Windows services uses through the <InstanceId>MSSQL.1</InstanceId> element—MSSQL.1 is, of course, the default instance. When the Report Services file is created, a GUID <InstallationID> is created to uniquely identify an instance of the installation. This same GUID is used to index the encryption keys table we spoke of earlier. You may need to adjust other entries in the RSReportServer.config file—for example, when you want to create custom extension assemblies. However, we'll cover those elsewhere in the book.

SSL Configuration After Install

Ah! So you didn't listen to us about how to install SSL, or you installed oblivious to the importance of SSL and now want to be able to reconfigure to use SSL without having to take the pain of uninstall followed by reinstall. Well, you are in luck because this is controlled in the RSReportServer.config file by the entry: <Add Key="SecureConnectionLevel" Value="3"/> where the Value can be set as follows:

  • 3 is the most secure— use SSL for absolutely everything

  • 2, secure— use SSL for rendering but don't insist on it for all SOAP calls

  • 1, basic security— accept HTTP but reject any calls that might be involved in the passing of credentials

  • 0, the least secure— don't use SSL at all

The Report Server redirects the browser to HTTPS as needed, depending on the value of SecureConnectionLevel.


The Report Manager's main configuration file is RSWebApplication.config. By default, you'll find this file in the \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL_\Reporting Services\ReportManager folder. The most important thing this file contains is the URL configuration used by the Report Manager to contact the Report Server. If you change the address name of the Report Server, you'll have to come here to hook up the Report Manager. The entry you'll be looking for is


(Replace rs1.boost.net with your own server name!)

Reporting Services BOL [16] version 1 tells you not to modify this setting.

Another entry in this file determines the maximum number of requests that can come from each user at a given point in time. With the <MaxActiveReqForOneUser> element the default is 20 concurrent requests per user. There is a similar entry in the RSReportServer.config file too.

When the Report Manager encounters an error, it can display an error message with a link off to the Microsoft website for further updated information. You can control whether your users are presented with the link to this Microsoft site by adjusting the <DisplayErrorLink> element. The default is "true."


The Report Designer also has a configuration file: RSReportDesigner.config. This is located in the \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Report Designer folder. For the most part, this file lists the custom data, designer, and render extensions. The entries that it contains are generally related to any custom extensions that you would like to run.

The Policy Configuration Files

In the Report Manager, Report Server, and Report Designer main configuration files, we studiously avoided mentioning the "policy level" keys so that we could deal with them here. There are three XML-like policy files: rspreviewpolicy.config for the Designer, rsmgr policy.config for the Report Manager, and rssrvpolicy.config for the Report Server. These configuration files determine how Reporting Services manages Code Access Security (CAS). For the most part, this is how Reporting Services implements security and trust in the CLR code assemblies that it's prepared to load and execute. We'll provide more detail on CAS when we deal with writing a custom extension and how you can declare what permission features your assembly needs—such as registry access, file system access, or network access. CAS also determines how someone installing your assembly can determine how much trust they want to give your assembly, and prevent it from doing unapproved things. This is all governed by the contents of the aforementioned policy files.

Policy Files Are Not XML Files

Policy files might look like hierarchical XML files, but they don't contain XML headers and, indeed, they certainly don't support XML comments <!- - - ->

If when you end up editing them (as we will) you enter comments or (heaven forbid) change the case on something like "Url="$CodeGen$/*"" to "Url="$CODEGEN$/*"" you can expect trouble. The problem is that when things come tumbling down, you can get messages telling you that there are fatal errors in Machine.config, which you probably haven't touched. So if you get there, you won't have to suffer the pain we did, and boy did it hurt—two days of ripping ASP.NET to bits with Machine.config, and all because of a measly XML comment we'd put in a policy file to remind us what the previous value was.

The Reporting Services Command-Line Utilities

In some cases, you might need to tune or reconfigure the Reporting Services installation using one of the command-line tools. Each of these are provided to address one or more issues that can crop up in "off-the-beaten-path" (non-typical) installations.

Activation. . rsactivate.exe

No, this is not some new-fangled license-related activation spy-ware scheme; it is a clever way to protect credentials. You don't normally need to be concerned about activation unless you are manually configuring a web farm, but you might need it to complete a problematic installation if you're using a non-default IIS configuration or if other required components are configured in a way that Setup does not expect. (This is a known issue with the first release and is high on the agenda to be addressed in future releases.) In most single-system installations, the installer takes care of activation for you, but we're still going to tell you what it is all about here so that you'll be aware of what goes on.

Reporting Services encrypts (both Windows and SQL) credentials that it uses in Reports and Data Sources. The technique is a reversible encryption using a symmetric key. Yes, it needs to be reversible—because how else is it going to be able to use those credentials if it can't work out what they are? During the installation, the Reporting Services Windows service co-operates with the Reporting Services web service and generates the symmetric keys, which can be inspected in the Report Server Database Keys table. You should be able to see at least two entries there; one for the web service and one for the Windows service. If you create a web farm, you'll see further entries in the Keys table for each Windows service and web service in the farm. Until the web service and Windows service have been activated, neither can make use of content that has encrypted credentials. Reporting Services activates (which means that it shares between all the web and Windows services involved in the web farm the symmetric key) on first use of the web service. That said, sometimes things don't quite work out for some reason, and you may have to do surgery with the Reporting Services command-line tool rsactivate.

Key Management. . rskeymgmt.exe

Microsoft provides an administrator's command-line utility, rskeymgmt.exe, to manage the symmetric key. For example, it's possible to use the rskeymgmt tool to back up the symmetric key to an encrypted file. To achieve this, rskeymgmt enlists the help of the Windows Reporting Service—so you have to make sure that the service and the SQL Server are both running. You can store the 52-byte backup key file on floppy or other removable media. Don't forget to ensure you also securely retain the password you use to encrypt the file—otherwise it's all a bit pointless.

You can also use rskeymgmt.exe to rip out all encrypted content from the Report Server by calling rskeymgmt.exe –d. Just before you do, be aware that this not only removes each encrypted copy of the symmetric key from the Keys table, but it also removes all encrypted credentials that shared Data Sources and reports use, and you are going to have to put them all back in. Note that subscriptions retain a pointer to encrypted credentials specified for the managed report's Data Source. After you run –d (and respecify your stored credentials), you have to manually open each subscription and resave it.

To "restore" a symmetric key using rskeymgmt.exe, you call it with the "apply" parameter, -a, and supply the backup file and password you used. If you removed encrypted content using rskeymgmt.exe –d, reapplying the symmetric key from a backup will restore only the key—it can't restore the deleted credentials; they're gone forever. However, if it is your desire to only temporarily remove access to encrypted credentials, you could directly delete all rows in the SQL Server Keys table where the Client column is greater than or equal to 0. This will effectively remove the key, and as such the encrypted credentials will not be able to be unencrypted until you reapply the backup copy of the key.

Tips for rskeymgmt.exe and rsactivate.exe

We experimented quite extensively with the Reporting Service command-line utilities. One thing we found helpful (when things were a little more challenging than usual) was to restart IIS (which can be done with the command-line IISRESET) and also to restart the Report Server Windows service.

What Is rsconfig.exe?

Well, we know that the Report Server web and Windows services must access the Report Server database, and to do that these services must use some form of Windows or SQL Login credentials. Those credentials are stored in an encrypted format in an XML-like configuration file called RSReportServer.config, which you'll find in the \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL\ReportingServices\ReportServer folder.

The rsconfig.exe command-line tool provides a one-way mechanism to encrypt and store any updated credentials in the configuration file. It's also used to specify credentials used for unattended processing for reports that do not use credentials. As you know, you can choose "No credentials" for a report definition or managed report's Data Source. This creates a security hole because the Report Server had to log on to the remote database server using its own credentials. This has been fixed by the introduction of a requirement for credential information—users must now run rsconfig with the –e option to specify a –u user name and –p password that the Report Server uses to log on to a remote data server.

Report Server Windows Service Polling

Scheduled Jobs, be they subscriptions or snapshots, are managed by the SQL Server Agent. However, it's the Report Server Windows service that processes these reports. On the off chance that there is some processing to do, the Report Server Windows service polls the database every 10 seconds (by default). Okay, so you might think that the Microsoft development team has taken a shortcut here, as polling instinctively feels like the wrong approach. You could be forgiven for thinking that all the Microsoft developers needed to do was to put the Windows service to sleep and wake it up with a signal. For example, by creating a signaling procedure with the COM invoking the sp_OACreate stored procedure, or with an extended procedure. That might seem simple enough, but what if the Report Server's web components are on a server that does not host the Reporting Services database? In this case, you not only have to cross process boundaries, you've got to get onto another machine. Ah, DCOM? .NET Remoting? A bespoke IP message? (What about firewalls?) Notification Services? Or MSMQ? This is more apparent if you consider the web farm scenario, in which none of the machines know about other machines in the farm. Any machine in the farm can pull an event from the database queue. Who decides which machine gets the event? What if a machine goes down? Does the controller ping them to see if they want the event? So this seemingly simple situation becomes more complicated to program and more complicated to install and troubleshoot, and the polling solution that we have for now is probably the best compromise. We agree that a pull model works best in this scenario.

However, if you don't like the idea of polling every 10 seconds, then there is something you can do about it. In the RSReportServer.config file, you can change the polling element by editing <Polling-Interval>10</PollingInterval>.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020