Cognos tools fail to start up

Note: This is a googlefood post: It is of no interest to casual readers. Also please note that I am in NO WAY a Cognos or Windows expert – This was simply a problem that I had for which I was unable to find a good solution on the web.

I eventually discovered I had to swing the dead raccoon with my right hand while chanting in Lower Slobenian… To save you that trouble, here’s how I fixed my issue…


  1. You have an existing Cognos system that worked until recently.
  2. When attempting to log into Cognos Data Manager, it prompts for a serial number, where it never has before.
  3. When attempting to log into Cognos Connection, it complains that you have already logged into all available domains.
  4. You see one or more of the following error messages:
    1. CM-SYS-5104 Unconfigured security namespace
    2. CAM-CRP-1009 Unable to find an appropriate common symmetric key
    3. CM-SYS-5095 Content Manager could not determine where this request was signed

Possible Contributing Factors:

  1. Your Cognos server is running Windows
  2. You are using a Windows NTLM Domain Server

The cause as I understand it…
At some point, someone set up the system and configured authentication via an external server, and since then, everyone has used local user ID names (admin, Administrator, joelab, etc.) to log in.

Cognos at the time of configuration stored some magic key pair to allow it to talk to the authentication server (NT, NTLM, LDAP, whatever) without requiring users to re-authenticate to it. These keys then expired; It seems this happens once per year or so.

To fix this, you have to re-generate the keys.

Testing if this is the real problem

  1. Open Cognos Configuration
  2. Under Security -> Authentication, Right-Click on each of the authentication realms, and select Test.
  3. If the test fails and the Details window shows one of the error codes listed above, than this could be the problem.
  4. Note that if All The Tests Succeed, then you have some other problem. Good luck with it.

How to fix it

  1. You need to log into the server with a UserID and Password which authenticates to the Authentication Domain that is failing – In other words, your network password.
  2. Open Cognos Configuration
  3. Click on the domain that is causing problems to pull up the properties.
  4. Write down all the properties (Name, NamespaceID, etc.)
  5. Right Click on the domain and select Delete.
  6. Right Click on Authentication above where you deleted the domain, and select New Resource -> Namespace…
  7. Re-create the domain exactly as you have written down from the previous one.
  8. On the new domain you just created, Right Click and select Test. Hopefully it works.
  9. Select File -> Save to save the configuration. Do NOT restart the services.
  10. Log out of this user.
  11. Log in as a local user with Administrative privledges.
  12. Open Cognos Configuration
  13. Click Stop and then Start. Get coffee while you wait.
  14. Try to log in with your tools.
    1. If you can now log in, YAY!
    2. If you still can’t log in, then sorry, I can’t help you. Good luck.

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