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October 6, 2009 / red1s

Restoring a SharePoint Site Collection to a new domain

I recently had to do this for a client, namely MTN in Zambia; who was having serious problems with WSS search and after a few trials and tribulations with STSADM I was able to get it up and running on my test virtual machine in a matter of minutes. Obviously my test VM isn’t on the client’s domain nor does it share and SIDs with the original hosting environment.

Here’s how I did it using help from Ulysses Ludwig’s post
Source Server

Login to the source server and run the following command:

Stsadm -o backup -url http://sharepoint -filename c:\sharepoint.bak

Destination Server

Build out the destination server and run SharePoint configuration wizard, it is ok if you’ve already created a site collection on the target server because the new site will be overwritten by the -overwrite command below.

Warning – When you build out the new server you should try to build it using the same version and install all of the same Application Templates and binaries that were on the original server.

Stsadm -o restore -url http://sharepoint -filename c:\sharepoint.bak -overwrite

If you access the site immediately after restore here’s what you’ll see (if you restored it to a new domain)


Add a user via command line because the restored site will deny all of your login attempts (unless your server is on the same domain as the original source server – *** this post describes the steps for restoring to a different domain***)

Using the central administration console, you will note that the site collection still references the original administrators which are now invalid on this new domain.

>> Central Administration >> Application Management >> Site Collection Administrators


Run the command below to change ownership:

stsadm -o siteowner -url http://sharepoint -ownerlogin sharepoint\administrator


Now if you refresh central admin console you will see the new administrator as an owner, you can change the secondary administrator at this point as well.


Run the command below to add your new administrator to the site collection with the administrator role

stsadm -o adduser -url http://localhost -userlogin administrator -useremail -role administrator -username administrator



Warning – Do not skip this step, you won’t be able to login until you run IISReset


Now you can refresh your main site and successfully login as the administrator.

Afterwards, you can optionally run this to clean up the old lingering logins explicitly

stsadm -o migrateuser -oldlogin olddomain\SPAdmin-newlogin newdomain\SPAdmin

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  11. Mohamed / Jan 19 2012 5:39 pm

    I am planning to move our internet portal (MOSS 2007) from the hosting to our internal data-center which have different domain. First I take back-up using below stsadm command:
    Stsadm.exe –o backup –url http://ourportal -filename c:\backupfile.bak

    Then create a new web application and site collection on the new environment and overwrite the database using the below stsadm command:
    Stsadm.exe –o restore –url http://newportal/ -filename c:\ backupfile.bak –overwrite

    Change site collection ownership using below command:
    stsadm -o siteowner -url http://newportal/ -ownerlogin sharepoint\administrator

    But when I’m trying to run below command to add administrator to the site collection with the administrator role I’m always get access denied error:
    stsadm -o adduser -url http://newportal/ -userlogin administrator -useremail -role administrator -username administrator

    can some body tell me what ‘s the solution to fix this.

    Hosting Environment:
    Windows server 2003 Enterprise x64 SP2
    SQL Server 2005
    MOSS version

    New environment:
    Windows server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64
    SQL Server 2008 R2 x64 SP1
    MOSS version


    • red1s / Jan 20 2012 9:19 am

      This refers to you needing to conduct the operation as Farm administrator, make sure that you have logged into the environment as the Farm administrator before running the STSADM command.

      • Mohamed / Jan 20 2012 12:26 pm

        This test environment ‘standalone’ with one account act as farm admin, site collection admin, etc.
        I think that the problem related to domain.

      • red1s / Jan 24 2012 10:01 am

        Does that mean you’re using a different domain?

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