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One of my customers has outsourced their Sharepoint and Exchange services to a hosted services provider. I believe it is a Sharepoint 2007 service. It is a shared hosting solution, so we do not have any kind of access to the server itself; we only have user-level and sharepoint-administrator-level access to the Sharepoint application.

They have come to the point where they would like to have a copy of everything that is on the Sharepoint server.

I have downloaded the Office Sharepoint Designer 2007, and it features three (!) ways to backup a Sharepoint server, none (!) of which work for me:

  • File->Export->Personal Web Package: When selecting everything, it calculates a negative size. Barfs with No "content-type" in CGI environment error.
  • File->Export->Sharepoint Template: barfs with a A World Wide Web browser, such as Windows Internet Explorer, is required to use this feature error.
  • Site->Administration->Backup Web Site: wants to create the backup .cmp file on the sharepoint server itself. I don't have access to any servers on the same network so I can't redirect it to any form of the suggested \\server\place. Barfs with a The Web application at $URL could not be found. [...] error. Possibly moot because Google tells me that bad things happen using OSD to back up sites larger than 24MB (which this site is most definitely).

So I called the helpdesk of the outsource provider, and got told that they recommend using OSD, but no they don't actually provide any application support for OSD (not that I blame them for that), but they could do a stsadm.exe backup and provide us with that, and OSD should be able to read the resulting cmp file. Then for authorization reasons they had my customer call them directly (since I can't authorize such an operation), and they told him that he didn't want a stsadm.exe backup, he wanted to get into an 'explorer view' and deal with things that way (they were vague). Google hasn't been much help in figuring out what an 'explorer view' is, let alone how I bring one up.

The end goal of this operation is to have a backup of the site as it exists (hopefully today, but shortly anyways) in such a format that we don't need another sharepoint server to restore it to. Ie we'd like to be able to pick individual content directly out of this backup. We are not excessively concerned with things like formatting. We just want the documents.

This is a fairly complex site with multiple subsites and multiple folders per subsite, so sitting there and manually downloading each file isn't really going to happen if there is a better easier way.

So, my questions:

  • Is the stsadm.exe backup what I want? If not, what do I want?
  • If I manage to convince them that I do want the stsadm.exe backup, can I pick files out of the resulting backup file with OSD?
  • If OSD isn't going to let me extract individual files, is there a tool I can use that can?
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

A semi hacky-solution which will get the documents backed up:

Connect to the Sharepoint server using WebDAV. A sitewide read-only account would be ideal to prevent accidents. You may need to ask your provider to enable WebDAV; also, think about the security implications. Once connected, mount as a local drive in Windows (Tools --> Map Network Drive). Then use whatever synchronization tool is handy to back up the drive (Robocopy, rsync, etc.).

This will save documents but not any previous versions, or any metadata associated with the documents. You will be able to get to documents but migrating to another provider will be a pain as you will have to recreate the document libraries individually and then re-migrate docs back into them.

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Upon reading your question again, WebDAV probably is what the vendor meant by "explorer view". – hurfdurf Mar 3 '10 at 1:44
Semi-hacky is better than totally nonexistant. This got enough of the job done. – David Mackintosh May 6 '10 at 2:56

The only method I know is with stsadm.exe This create a bak file which can be loaded on your new host. I do think it can only be used on the hosting provider side.

Command Example :
stsadm.exe -o backup -url -filename c:\path_to_file\filename.bak

I work for a Sharepoint provider, I will ask around and update my answer if there is another method that can be used.

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If the current provider won't help you back the site up properly cut losses before the site grows bigger and take your business some place that takes the job seriously.

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