Here’s a short post with a tip that I find very useful.

In many scenarios you have several SharePoint 2013 installations to handle – it might be different farms, production environments, testing, staging, development etc. Do you know which Central Administration you’re working in at the moment? They all look the same, SharePoint Blue, the regular Status Bar warning that you’re running out of disk space etc. Unless countermeasures are taken you don’t know what environment you’re in unless you take a look at the URL – which in many cases is just another server name and port. It’s very easy to make a mistake and make a change in the production environment instead of in the test or dev environments.

So, how do we keep track of what Central Administration site we’re actually working on at the moment? One way could be to change the theme of the Central Admin site. But, was the production CA red or was it the one with the dog in the background? I’ve got a better tip for you!

Here’s how I’ve done to keep track of the Central Administration sites. I take advantage of the Suite Link Bar in the upper left corner. By default it says just “SharePoint” – yes we know it’s SharePoint.

Standard Suite Bar

By modifying the Web Application property that controls this text we can easily change it to something more friendly and appropriate for the specific farm, like below.

Cool Suite Bar

It’s a very simple PowerShell operation to accomplish this. You just retrieve the Central Administration Web Application object, then update the SuiteBarBrandingElementHtml property and set it’s value to something that tells you which Central Administration site this is:

asnp microsoft.sharepoint.powershell
$ca = Get-SPWebApplication -IncludeCentralAdministration | `
    ?{$_.IsAdministrationWebApplication -eq $true}
$ca.SuiteBarBrandingElementHtml = "<div class='ms-core-brandingText'>Central Admin: FarmA Production</div>"

You should leave the div element with the ms-core-brandingText class, to get decent formatting of the text, but inside it you can add whatever HTML you like (I’m thinking the marquee or blink tag…)..

That’s it. I hope I saved a few kittens from being slaughtered…