Nick Grattan's Blog

About Microsoft SharePoint, .NET, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning

DISCO Error creating SharePoint Web Service Reference

with 27 comments

In Visual Studio 2005 you’ll need to create a web reference before you can start programming SharePoint Web Services. You will typically use a URL like the following:


However, when creating the web reference you may see the following an error reporting that the DISCO document is missing a root element:


The entire error text is:

The document at the url http://moss2007:2500/sites/DevSite/ _vti_bin/lists.asmx was not recognized as a known document type.
The error message from each known type may help you fix the problem:
– Report from ‘DISCO Document’ is ‘Root element is missing.’.
– Report from ‘http://moss2007:2500/sites/DevSite/_vti_bin/lists.asmx’ is ‘The document format is not recognized (the content type is ‘text/html; charset=utf-8′).’.
– Report from ‘WSDL Document’ is ‘The document format is not recognized (the content type is ‘text/html; charset=utf-8′).’.
– Report from ‘XML Schema’ is ‘The document format is not recognized (the content type is ‘text/html; charset=utf-8′).’.

To circumvent this problem click “Service Description” in the browser view in the “Add Web Reference” dialog. This shows the WSDL for the web service and allows you to enter a Web reference name. This is equivalent to entering the following URL with the parameter “?WSDL”.

Written by Nick Grattan

July 27, 2007 at 11:24 am

27 Responses

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  1. happens when url has spaces

    hotfix from MS


    September 12, 2007 at 7:30 pm

  2. Thanks, explains the problem. Nick


    September 12, 2007 at 9:18 pm

  3. FYI, you also get the exact same problem if the url for the webservice is wrong.

    For instance if http://moss2007:2500/sites/DevSite/_vti_bin/lists.asmx is the *actual* url for the web service but you try to reference http://moss2007:2500/DevSite/_vti_bin/lists.asmx (removed the folder sites) it will still generate the asmx page but it will not generate the disco or the wsdl. You would expect that if typed an worng url for a web service you get a 404 or something to that effect but with sharepoint it seems that this is not the case!

    shane dixon

    December 13, 2007 at 12:06 am

  4. Thanks for the additional information! Nick


    December 13, 2007 at 4:54 pm

  5. I am getting the same error even when all the above conditions are met. not sure if we are not able to add reference through wizard.

    any further suggestions, welcome.

    thanks in advance.


    April 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    You would not believe how much this has helped me. I have been stuck on this for almost a week and couldn’t find any help anywhere.

    AHHHH!!! The Relief!!!

    Thanks again!


    July 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

  7. Thanks it really helped me too…


    July 25, 2008 at 2:15 pm

  8. The url should point the the Central Admin site and not to a site collection you created

    this solved it


    August 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    • Thank you for this information. IT helped me a log


      March 4, 2010 at 8:55 am

  9. Hi Folks,
    This error is the simple case of sharepoint is not able to map the content.

    To solve this issue please have the root Site (/) collection in your Web Site.
    that’s all.

    Hope this solves the problem.


    October 10, 2008 at 4:01 am

    • This is the correct solution if using Project Server 2007. Good work Samar 🙂

      Asad Abbas

      May 19, 2011 at 7:45 am

  10. Hi…..

    i have tried this but it doesn’t work for me….

    it gives an error …..
    The document at the url http://serverName:port/sitecollectionName/_vti_bin/list.asmx was not recognized as a known document type.
    The error message from each known type may help you fix the problem:
    – Report from ‘DISCO Document’ is ‘Root element is missing.’.
    – Report from ‘WSDL Document’ is ‘The document format


    November 14, 2008 at 12:15 pm

  11. This has something to do with authentication. SP needs to authenticate with the client.


    June 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm

  12. This helped us a lot, we were stuck with this issue for almost 2 days and we had a delivery also which would have got impacted because of this.


    July 28, 2009 at 8:49 am

  13. La solución es mas sencilla de lo que creen. No es necesario instalar ninguna actualización.


    December 20, 2009 at 6:57 am

    • Ahá que útil tu info.

      Lo del post de abajo me sirvió


      July 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm

  14. I know that is later for the response but I think it valid(sorry my English). Try changing the url for this one:


    look that you will be referencing to listwsdl.aspx file. This one contain the web services too. I solved the problem using it.


    March 17, 2010 at 3:32 am

    • Hi, Daniel, Thanks
      Its working for me. I am creating the webpart for search. I ws facing error since 4 days. thanks again.


      June 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    • I made use of this info. Thanks 🙂


      July 14, 2011 at 7:35 am

    • Thank you very much for this, Daniel. It’s the only solution that I’ve tried that works with SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio 2013. But you need to use the “Add Service Reference -> Advanced -> Add Web Reference” method. Other methods of adding the service reference don’t seem for me.


      August 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

      • Well seems like now it works adding it directly to the Service Reference section without having to go into “Web References”. Beats me how…..


        August 3, 2015 at 10:09 am

  15. Thanks Nick !! It works for me !! Saved a hell lot of time 🙂


    January 17, 2011 at 7:17 am

  16. sema

    You’ve saved my life…tnx man


    June 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

  17. […] Thanks and credits go to Nick Grattan, who bloged about this error on SP2007 […]

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