A device attached to the system is not functioning

As you’ve read before, I’ve had a variety of battles with the Hosted Messaging and Collaboration framework from Microsoft.

Today was another day for battle. And an interesting battle it was.

So here is the situation that I was running into. Within my code in the customer portal, I have a notification that is sent out that has a full back trace of what happened on the system, what was inputted and what was the error message that was returned. I of coarse try to give the user a friendly version of the error message to the screen before sending off this plethora of valuable detail. Out of this pile of data, I find the following error message has been returned:

“A device attached to the system is not functioning”

Really? Let’s look at that again. Because surely no one in their right mind would return such a generic error!

“A device attached to the system is not functioning”

Hmm, my clue-by-four hasn’t been brought out recently and plane tickets to Redmond aren’t that expensive right now. I guess I could go out there and start handing out clues. But why would I need to. This error message is clear and concise. A device attached to the system is not functioning. What more could I possibly need from this error message. It gives me everything I want! There’s a device, its one of 30 or so devices in the system, that is not functioning.


So we check out the domain controllers, the MPS servers, the web servers, OCS pools, exchange queues, look at SCOM alerts. Nothing pops out at us. Then I take a look a bit further at the error message. here is the full error message that I get back:

Server was unable to process request. ---> Unable to create 'cn=user@domain.com'./A device attached to the system is not functioning. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007001F)/Create Object -- > procedure="CreateSamObject_"/>

The CreateSamObject_ raised a red flag to two. If you search Google long enough you’ll eventually find something from MSDN stating the following:

From MSDN:

User account names are limited to 20 characters and group names are limited to 256 characters. In addition, account names cannot be terminated by a period and they cannot include commas or any of the following printable characters: “, /, \, [, ], :, |, <, >, +, =, ;, ?, *. Names also cannot include characters in the range 1-31, which are nonprintable

Eureka! We have found the issue!!!

The sAMAccountName for our system is pretty generic. Cut down the upn to 16 characters. Add a period and a unique key that we keep for each of our domain names. This way, the chances of you duplicating names both inside and outside of your OU is pretty limited. However, in this case there was an error with retrieving the unique 3 letter key for the end of the name so the sAMAccountName that we were attempting to set looked something like this:


This was an easy fix once we found the issue. But man, could there be a crappier error message from HMC? I mean seriously, how do you get from unable to create the sAMAccountName to a device attached to the system is not functioning?!?!?

Anyway, I figured that I would type this up, let the search engines find it and hopefully someone else can benefit from our digging through the depths of HMC.

Matt Patterson avatar
About Matt Patterson
Husband, Father of 3, Programmer at heart, spends his days running ridiculously large data centers in the midwest.