Roland Serman’s Blog

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DR Backup/Restore of SharePoint Farm

Farm Preparation

Before you can successfully backup and restore via the catastrophic backup/restore method you must ensure that your Alternate Access Mapping for the Default is set to the http://url:randomport, as seen below.


Note: This is required if you have multiple Web App’s utilizing SSL, but seems to work fine without doing this if you only have a single Web App.

Backup the IIS Metabase

Logon to the each of the WFE’s as the Farm Admin/Setup User account and run the following command to backup the IIS metabase:

iisback.vbs /backup /e <PASSWORD>

Catastrophic Farm Backup

Now we’re ready to perform the catastrophic farm backup. You can do this one of two ways, either via STSADM as so: stsadm.exe –o backup –directory <UNC Path> -backup full (example stsadm.exe –o backup –directory \\ServerName\ShareName -backupmethod full)

Or you can perform the backup via Central Admin’s Operations tab as shown below:


Insure to check ‘Farm’ which should highlight and check everything, and then click ‘Continue to Backup Options’.


Select ‘Full’, and then enter the UNC path of your backup location and click ‘OK’.

Remove SharePoint Servers from the Farm

Once the backup is completed, you are ready to remove all the servers from the farm, remove each server one at a time, removing the server that hosts Central Admin last via the ‘SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration’ wizard.

Create a New SharePoint Farm

1. Starting with whatever server will host Central Admin, create a new farm using the ‘SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration’ wizard. During the setup make sure you name the SharePoint Config database something different, because when you attempt to restore the entire farm, it will not allow you to overwrite and existing database. Also, choose the same port for Central Admin as you used previously for http access.

2. Add all remaining servers to the farm one at a time.

Now that all servers are in the farm, there are few steps you must complete prior to restoring the farm backup. The following services must be started on the appropriate servers, Excel Calculations Services, Office SharePoint Server Search, and Windows SharePoint Services Search.

1. Start Excel Calculations Services.

2. Start Office SharePoint Server Search, like so:


3. Now you need to start the Windows SharePoint Services Search like so:

Note: You need to use a different name for the Search Database than what was used previously.


4. You may now start any other services on which ever servers you would like, but it is not needed at this point. These three must be completed in order run the restore.

Restore From Farm Backup

You can either restore via stsadm with the following command:

stsadm.exe –o restore –directory <UNC Path> -restoremethod new

Ex: stsadm.exe –o restore –directory \\ServerName\ShareName -restoremethod new

Or if you’re restoring to a new database server/instance:

Stsadm –o restore –directory <UNC Path> -restoremethod new –newdatabaseserver <servername>

Ex: stsadm.exe –o restore –directory \\ServerName\ShareName -restoremethod new -newdatabaseserver

You can also use Central Admin, which I highly recommend if you’re restoring to a new database server/instance, simply because you can verify every setting before continuing, as you’ll see below.

1. From the Operations tab of Central Admin, select ‘Restore from Backup’.

2. Enter the UNC path to the backup, and click ‘OK’.


3. Select the backup that you’d like to use, and then click ‘Continue Restore Process’.


4. Check ‘Farm’, which should check and highlight everything, and then click ‘Continue Restore Process’.


5. From this screen, you define the Login name and passwords for all of the Application Pools, as well as Web App URL’s, Database Server, database name, and db directory. There are three sections to this screen.

a. The fist, make sure that ‘Farm’ is selected, and that ‘New Configuration’ is selected.


b. The next section can be quite long depending on how many application pools you have. Here you need to verify the username and password for each application pool, like so.


c. Finally, you need to verify all URL’s, database server names, database names, and database file locations, and make any necessary changes.


6. Once you’re comfortable that all the information is correct click ‘OK’, and wait for the restore to complete.

Once the restore completes successfully there are a couple additional tasks you have to complete manually before your SharePoint farm will be ready for user access.

1. Set all of your Alternate Access Mappings. The restore only restores the Default mapping, so if you had any additional mappings you will have to manually add them like so:


2. Now you need to configure which IP address each IIS vserver will listen on, as well as add the necessary Cert if the site will use SSL.

3. Finally, for all sites that use SSL you will have to run the following command:

adsutil.vbs set /w3svc/[identifier]/SecureBindings “[IP Address]:443:[host header name]”

example: adsutil.vbs set /w3svc/1234567890/SecureBindings “”

At this point your farm should be completely functional.


9 responses to “DR Backup/Restore of SharePoint Farm

  1. Pratik October 28, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    its really cool stuff,
    I was trying to restore the farm backup lots of time and each time facing aan error.
    Even i gave permission from the wrong menu to the folder.
    After getting this blog its very easy for me to undersatnd how to restore the farm backup
    Thanks for the blog

  2. Mat Symes February 17, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Hi There,

    Could you tell me if this method is applicable to restoring onto different hardware?
    context: I am in the middle of a call to MS and I am required to backup our live environment and restore it to different hardware.

    • rolandserman February 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm

      Yes, you should be able to do a catastrophic backup of your existing farm, and then use that backup to restore it to new hardware, to include a new SQL database server if needed.

  3. Alan Nguyen September 9, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I have the production environment that has a single IP address and two host header


    They are both pointing to the same IP address.

    When I ran the Farm backup in production everything works great without any error.

    I took this into my development environment and restore it using the central administration backup / restore screen.

    Everything work great except for the fact that the job error out when it tried to restore the http://solutions because http://mysite already took port 80.

    My guess is that when the restore job run it can’t associate the host header?

    Please let me know how I can overcome this issue?


    • rolandserman September 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      You have to back the sites up using http://solutions: http://mysite:. Then restore them, and correct your alternate access mappings.

      For our farm, I’ve scripted the backup, and prior to doing the backup I set the default alternate access mappings to :, for example:

      stsadm -o addzoneurl -resourcename “Solutions” -urlzone default -zonemappedurl http://solutions:5000
      stsadm -o addzoneurl -resourcename “Solutions” -urlzone intranet -zonemappedurl http://solutions

      Then after the DR backup completes I revert them back:

      stsadm -o addzoneurl -resourcename “Solutions” -urlzone default -zonemappedurl http://solutions
      stsadm -o addzoneurl -resourcename “Solutions” -urlzone intranet -zonemappedurl http://solutions:5000

      Just make sure each Web Application has a unique port, and that the port is configured in both your alternate access mappings, and in your IIS bindings.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Kirk March 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    The restore steps were very helpful, I had to re-install MOSS because I didn’t use the same Central Admin port and also had a SQL access issue. The restore has completed and I can see all site content, but the default.aspx page for every site in the collection is posting a file not found. I can see the default.aspx in the Pages library so I know it exists. Any ideas?

  5. Pat June 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Just read through this and find it remarkably easy to understand. Will these directions work if I an trying to create a duplicate farm to use for development and skip the step of removing the existing sharepoint servers from the farm? I have a seperare MOSS server and seperate SQL server available for the development farm and want it to look exactly like my production farm.

  6. getursrikanth December 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    What about the IIS metadata that we took backup iisback.vbs /backup /e ? What to do with that?

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