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Migrating SharePoint 2003 without SPSBackup

November 1, 2007

The title of this post may not be totally accurate.  It could also be:

  • Migrating SharePoint 2003 from a Single to Farm environment.
  • Migrating SharePoint 2003 by Restoring the Portal
  • Migrating SharePoint 2003 through SQL Server.

or, my favorite:

  • Migrating SharePoint 2003 when the SharePoint Gods are angry with you.

There are numerous factors that come into play when trying to migrate SharePoint 2003.

  • Versions and subversions of SharePoint,
  • Versions and subversions of Windows Server,
  • Versions and subversions of SQL Server 2005,
  • Deployment hierarchy
  • and number of “Unexpected errors” that can occur for no real reason.

After a few days of battling topologies, obscure messages in SPSBackup, and service packs, I finally just installed clean copies of SharePoint 2003 on each of the servers; upgraded to the latest service packs, and tried a different approach—using SQL Server backups.

Backing Up

  1. Backup the “to be” migrated SharePoint databases (I had a SITE, PROF, and SERV database) to three separate .BAK files.
  2. Copy those files to your new SQL Server and restore them as SITE_Old, etc.
  3. The ConfigDb database is unnecessary.

Restoring the Portal

  1. When you’re first presented with the SharePoint Central Administrator, complete the service account information, server topology, etc.  This will recreate the ConfigDb for your new portal server.
  2. When creating a portal, change the radio button from ‘Create a portal’ to ‘Restore a portal’.
  3. You’ll be prompted for three database names: your site, user profile, and services.  Enter the names you gave them (SITE_Old, etc) from “Backing Up” Step #2.
  4. Specify your Portal’s URL and click OK.

That’s it; it’ll churn for a few minutes and recreate the portal.  If you are in a farm with multiple web servers, make sure you’ve recreated all necessary files, web parts, etc. on each server.


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  1. November 6, 2007 at 7:36 am
  2. February 5, 2008 at 4:14 am
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