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i ran a upate-spsolution to update a site defintion and now any existing sites created from that site definition throws back a 404 error. Strangely any new sites i create using the site definition are just fine. The site definition contains a reference to a custom master page. Any ideas?

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as far as I knew, you can't update site definitions however you can save a site created by a site definition as a template after making changes, correct me if am wrong – Muhammad Raja Feb 21 '13 at 19:38
Updating Site Definitions is unsupported. With that said, could you provide some more information about the changes you have done to the Site Definition? – Waldek Mastykarz - MVP Feb 21 '13 at 20:58

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