SSL Portlets can’t be accessed in WebCenter Interaction

If you had asked me last month if you should install Windows Updates, I’d have said, “without hesitation, it’s a Best Practice to install Windows Updates as soon as possible; I’ve never seen one break portal functionality – whether it was in the Plumtree days, ALUI days, or lately with WebCenter”. 

This month, the answer is: “without hesitation, it’s a Best Practice to install Windows Updates as soon as possible, but make sure to keep track of those updates and keep an eye out for problems when you’re done”.  Generally, I still think they’re safe and don’t warrant a full regression test once you’re done, but for the first time, I’ve come across a Windows Update that breaks a piece of the WCI portal – specifically, portlet requests to SSL-protected Remote Servers.

Fortunately, Oracle’s support center came through on this one, and clearly documents the problem in KB article 1131443.1: “SSL Portlet Communication Fails After Installing Microsoft Recommended Security Update KB968389 [ID 1131443.1]“.  In summary, there are a certain combination of hotfixes that cause SSL connections from the portal to the remote tier, as documented in the KB article and reproduced after the break.

The thing is, the KB article talks about one “real” Microsoft hotfix [KB968389] interacting with two other “unsupported” hotfixes [KB973667 and KB942636].  It talks about removing the two unsupported fixes, but on the system I was experiencing the problems on, those two weren’t actually installed.  But I did see the one hotfix in there, and once I uninstalled that one (and rebooted), the problem went away.

My best guess at this point is that those two hotfixes from Microsoft (unsupported ones that “are intended to be installed only for customers experiencing this problem”) eventually got rolled into an official, supported hotfix with a different number since the Oracle article was published in June 2010.  And Oracle will eventually update the above KB article listing that “official” hotfix number as well.

KB968389 [ID 1131443.1]

Applies to:

Oracle WebCenter Interaction – Version: 6.0.0 and later   [Release: and later ]
Microsoft Windows (32-bit)


After installing Microsoft recommended security update KB968389, SSL portlet communication between WCI and remote portlets fails. A PTSpy log taken while reproducing the issue will show the following warning message:

Warning OpenKernel.OpenHttp.Core .NET #598 com.plumtree.openkernel.impl.openhttp.core.PTRequest OnResolve() - Failed to resolve hostname []. Cancelling request.
com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.XPException: Pointer startIndex and length do not refer to a valid string.
Parameter name: ptr

Non-SSL HTTP communication between WCI and remote portlets is unaffected.


Windows updates may have been installed recently. You may have previously installed Microsoft hotfixes KB973667 or KB942636.


Microsoft hotfixes KB973667 and KB942636 are fixes for a specific domain controller problem (unrelated to WCI) and are intended to be installed only for customers experiencing this problem. The associated KB article notes that these fixes have not been fully tested and Microsoft recommends waiting for the next available service pack or security roll-up patch that contains the fix if possible. Microsoft update KB968389 is a recommended security update that is available through the Windows Update utility.

There appears to be a problem that occurs in cases where hotfixes KB973667 or KB942636 are installed alongside the installation of  Microsoft update KB968389 that causes SSL communication between WCI and remote portlets to fail.


You can work around this problem by uninstalling Microsoft fixes KB973667 or KB942636 and leaving in place only the more recent Microsoft update KB968389.

To do this –

– Open the ‘Add/Remove Programs’ utility.
– Select the check box to ‘Show Updates’.
– Verify that both Microsoft update KB968389 and hotfixes KB973667 or KB942636 are installed.
– Uninstall hotfixes KB973667 and/or KB942636.

If you absolutely need to have both Microsoft update KB968389 and hotfixes KB973667 or KB942636 installed on your system, please open a ticket with Microsoft support to determine the best way to avoid this problem.

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