Repairing sites with "stsadm -o export"

We had a rather awful public relations fiasco with a Sharepoint site over the past three weeks. Users replying to existing posts in discussion board web parts always receive “User not found” errors (their replies get posted, but they get no notification of this). I was almost incapable of getting help from Microsoft on this (after burining many hours trying to resolve the issue on my own).

Ultimately, the support engineers concluded that the site had experienced some corruption of security profiles. They were hesitant to use their internal tool for purging security profiles from the site for fear that this would create other problems. Ultimately, they recommended using stsadm -o export with the -includeusersecurity flag to create a backup of the site. (“Export” is different from “Backup” in that it does not create a full backup of the site… it just backs up the content.) We then use “import” to restore the backup file to a new, blank site. Using this process, new security profiles are created but site content stays the same.

Here is the full procedure for rebuilding a site using stsadm:

  • change the site owner to match the login ID of a user with sharepoint infrastructure admin rights.
  • stsadm -o export -url http://sharepoint.uvm.edu/sites/[sitename] -filename [backupfilename] -includeusersecurity
  • verify that the export file appears to contain all of the site data. It may be a good idea to use stsadm -o backup to create a secondary backup as well.
  • stsadm -o deletesite -url http://sharepoint.uvm.edu/sites/[sitename]
  • stsadm -o createsite -url http://sharepoint.uvm.edu/sites/[sitename] -ownerlogin [loginID] -owneremail [email address]
  • stsadm -o import -url http://sharepoint.uvm.edu/sites/[sitename] -filename [backupfile] -includeusersecurity
  • Login to the site, verify content. You may want to revert the site owner to the original user ID at this time.

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