STSADM Error: Object not set set to an instance of an object

I’d built a .wsp (Web Solutions Package) for a customer, containing the branding I’ve been working on. However, when they tried the command:

stsadm -o addsolution -filename branding.wsp

they got the error:

Object reference not set to an instance of an object. c:branding.wsp: The Solution installation failed.

Interesting – works on my machine. They were running the command as the ‘Administrator’ user on the SharePoint system. A bit of digging, though, showed that the problem was due to either:

  • Not running under a Farm Admin account (which I understand the ‘Administrator’ user was)
  • Not having rights to the Central Admin Content Database on SQL server.

Well, we tried running the STSADM command as the service account, and that appeared to work. ‘Course, this is all over the phone so I’m not certain what permissions that account has, but it appeared to run.

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STSADM Error: Object not set set to an instance of an object

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