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Failed to provision the SharePoint Central Administration Web Application.

I have been fighting with the configuration wizard on a bunch of issues over the past couple days. I remember the 2010 experience in this regard being much more seamless. Ack.

The next error that I encountered (view the tragedy that was yesterdays error here) occurs at step seven in the SharePoint 2013 Products and Technology Configuration Wizard:

Failed to provision the SharePoint Central Administration Web Application.
An exception of type System.NullReferenceException was thrown.  Additional exception information: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPAspSiteMapFile.MergeAspSiteMapFiles(XmlDocument xmldocSiteMap, String strSrcFilePath, String strMergeFilePattern)
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPAspSiteMapFile.Copy(String strSrcDir, String strSrcDirPrevious, String strSrcLeaf, String strDestDir, Boolean bMergeMaps, Boolean bBackupExistingFile)
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebApplication.CopyAppDomainDirectories(DirectoryInfo vrPath, OverwriteSetting overwrite)
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPAdministrationWebApplication.InstallFiles(DirectoryInfo virtualDirectoryPath, String validationKey, String decryptionKey)
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebApplication.Provision()
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPAdministrationWebApplication.Provision()
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebServiceInstance.Provision()
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.CentvalAdministrationSiteTask.ProvisionAdminVs()
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.CentralAdministrationSiteTask.Run()
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.TaskThread.ExecuteTask()

at least you know really clearly, it was not able to provision the central administration web app! This line:

An exception of type System.NullReferenceException was thrown.  Additional exception information: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPAspSiteMapFile.MergeAspSiteMapFiles(XmlDocument xmldocSiteMap, String strSrcFilePath, String strMergeFilePattern)

at least gives you a little insight into what exactly is going on. The stacktrace alludes to the admin.sitemap not being in the bin directory. As you’ll notice though, it probably is there!

To resolve this issue, ensure there are no XML comments in the admin.sitemap file, then rerun the configuration wizard. I don’t know why this happens but I hate code comments so groovy :p

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