Move a SharePoint Content Database

11 Feb

Sometimes it’s the easy things that are hard to track down concrete instructions for!  Here are step by step instructions for moving your MOSS content database to a new server, followed by the things to watch out for.

You have two initial options, doing a backup and restore within MOSS to move the data, or doing it at the SQL/STSADM level.  I prefer the latter, as it isn’t nearly as inclined to fail and leaves you with more flexibility.

1) Find the content Database

These are listed under Central Admin->Application Management->Site Collection List

2) Backup the content database

You could alternatively detach it, and copy it.  Just doing a backup in SQL Server 2005 Management studio is easier.

3) Restore content database to new server

Copy the BAK file to new server.  Create an empty DB in Management Studio, restore from backup, you may need to change an option in the "options" tab of the restore dialog to get it to work.  (Overwrite db). 

4) Create Web App on new Server

Central Admin->Application Management->Create or extend Web App->Create New Web App.

5) Associate restored DB with new Web App

Central Admin->Application Management->

SharePoint Web Application Management->Content Databases->

Remove Content Database from your new web app.

Now use STSADM to add restored DB to this web app

c:program filescommon filesmicrosoft sharedweb server extentions12bin on new server is where you can find the STSADM.

run this command from there.

stsadm -o addcontentdb -url http://yourwebapp:port -databasename yourcontentdb -databaseserver yoursqlserver

6) Run ISSRESET from command prompt.



  • Make sure your running the same service pack level on both source and destination sharepoint if possible.
  • Make sure you install all webparts, solutions, features, etc on new server before you restore the content database, so that it can find all the features it’s looking for.
  • Make sure you copy any files that may be living in the file system that you need, sometimes people have css/javascript here.  (This refers to files in the hive)
  • Leave your old site and contentDB intact until you get the backup running on the new server, this way your ok if there is a problem.
  • DON’T try this with your config database! It won’t work!

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