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I'm hoping someone will have experience with this. I'm stumped!

I have two SharePoint 2010 (Enterprise) farms: development and production.

Each farm has 3 servers:

    SPSQL-Dev, SPSQL-Prod  (database servers)
    SPAPP-Dev, SPAPP-Prod  (central admin servers)
    SPWFE-Dev, SPWFE-Prod  (web front ends)

Each farm is configured with Claims Authentication (Claims users authenticate from a membership DB on each SQL server). I am not the one who set it up, sadly.

The production farm works fine.
The development farm allows me access to Central Admin with the SP admin account, but cannot access anything under the 443 web application with ANY account I've tried.

I thought about doing a farm backup with Central Administration on production, and restoring it to the development farm...but according to, the authentication changes in web.config won't be backed up, so it needs to be done within the OS.

I said "Ok"...but then I ran into a problem...

Here is what C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\443 looks like for each server:

**SPAPP-Prod:**                    **SPAPP-Dev**
    \_app_bin                         \_app_bin
    \_forms                           \_forms
    \_vti_pvt                         \_vti_pvt
    \App Browsers                     \App Browsers
    \App_GlobalResources              \App_GlobalResources
    \aspnet_client                    \aspnet_client   
    \bin                              \bin 
    \wpresources                      \wpresources  
    global.asax                       global.asax   
    web.config                        web.config

**SPWFE-Prod:**                    **SPWFE-Dev**
    \_forms                           \_app_bin
    \Config-Bak                       \_forms
    \wpresources                      \_vti_pvt
    \App Browsers                     \App Browsers
    \App_GlobalResources              \App_GlobalResources
    \aspnet_client                    \aspnet_client   
    \bin                              \bin 
    \wpresources                      \wpresources      
    global.asax                       global.asax   
    web.config                        web.config

There is a web.config file ABOVE the 443 folder folder on SPWFE-Prod (in C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories), but it's not under the 443 directory like on the other servers.

Each of the _formsweb config files contain the following XML:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
                    <allow users="*"/>

1) What are these _formsweb files for, and what created them?

2) Is there an easier way to copy over the Claims authentication setup from production to development?

I appreciate any advice/help that can be offered, and sincerely apologize for the extremely long text!

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

These configuration files always appear as soon as you create a Web Application using Claims Based Authentication. They are meant to give appropriate permissions to every visitor to your site to access to the pages enabling authentication (it basically says "Allow access to files in this folder to anyone". You can find more about options ).

The content inside is totally ASP.NET specific (not specific only to SharePoint).

The reason they might be missing is probably related to how you created the Extended version of your application - did you used only Windows Authentication without specifying any Forms Based (Membership and Role providers in the bottom part of the screen)?

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I've read the document that was used to create the web applications, and it has you create them as per normal (selecting to use SSL and giving the Membership/Role providers), and then a small set of Powershell is written to convert the web application from Windows to Claims authentication. As far as extending the application, they were created through the GUI and have never been extended (I'm not entirely sure what that does, since I've never done it). – SalarianEngineer May 24 '12 at 18:33

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