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I have a very large site collection with 10,000s of documents. I want to create a copy of the site collection but not necessarily all of the content. Is there a good way to make a cop of a site collection but not include the content?

I attempted making a site template through the UI but it kept processing for hours the two times I did it and nothing came of it.

Is there a better way?

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On SharePoint 2007, it was possible before creating a template to exclude content

Site Settings page > Look and Feel section > Save site as template > Include Content section, uncheck the Include Content check box) guess it should be similar for SP2010 / 2013. (edit : indeed, it's like that in SP2010 as well)

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An easy way would be to

  • create a full backup of the site (stsadm -o backup -url {your-site-collection-url} -filename "c:\temp.bak")
  • empty all non required content from that site collection
  • create a backup / template (or export the cleaned site)
  • restore the temporary full backup (stsadm -o restore-url {your-site-collection-url} -filename "c:\temp.bak" -overwrite)

Third solution, I would investiguate into the trusty tool made by Chris O Brien which might help to get your expected requirement. The tool is open source, I guess it shouldn't be too hard to identify the component responsible for persisting the content and bypassing-it to get only the structure. Would love to have feedback from the master (or check the discussion on codeplex, someone might have thought of this before me !)

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(1) I attempted to do this through the web UI but it kept on spinning with no results. I attempted to do this through SPD but the option was grayed out. (2) I thought about the command line option but there is about 300GB of data / 100+ libraries / 80,000+ documents. I was looking for a way to not duplicate that much content. – RWL01 Nov 28 '12 at 19:26
The UI will struggle for sure with 300gb, it's already dead on environment with 4/5gb :( If it's a virtual environment, wouldn't it be faster to ask for a separate copy and do the processing on that snapshot environment (obviously outside of the current network to avoid conflicts). Good luck. – Francois Verbeeck Nov 29 '12 at 9:31
I agree it would but the goal was to bypass processing the 300GB all together. I can't mark it as an answer because of this but I appreciate your input. – RWL01 Nov 29 '12 at 19:43
You could reverse engineer the site template creation to check how they are querying the content of a specific spweb / spsite (all libraries, lists, fields, content types, webs, etc,) and extracting all the meta information to get the structure. Finally I would also investigate into the content deployment API, they might have a way to get what you're expecting. – Francois Verbeeck Nov 30 '12 at 13:42
edited the reply to also include the tool from Chris O Brien. (mandatory in all SP IT / Dev blackbelt !) – Francois Verbeeck Nov 30 '12 at 13:46

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