First please let me clarify that I am not an experienced SharePoint Administrator. I have only been working with SharePoint for six months now. I am an experienced web developer having worked with classic ASP and ASP.net for well over fifteen years now. I was placed in the role of SharePoint Administrator overseeing three SharePoint farms. Two running SharePoint 2010 and one (soon to be upgraded) SharePoint 2007 farm
I need to clone an entire web application, content and all, within the same SharePoint 2010 farm. Basically I have a site being used by one group that another group has seen and want's a copy of for their own use. They like the layout and all of the functionality. We have decided to make an exact duplicate, then change out a few images. get rid of whatever documents and user contributed things that shouldn't be there and then open it up to the new group. Seems simple enough and I find it hard to believe that this doesn't happen on a somewhat regular basis. I have spent a lot of time searching the web for a good approach to doing this but have so far come up empty. Frankly I find it had to believe that there is no "Copy Web Application" functionality in Central Admin or SharePoint Designer (perhaps there is and I have yet to find it). I have come across all sorts of ways to backup and restore on different servers and farms and using export and import to a different farm but nothing specific to making a copy of a site/web application within a farm.
Any and all ideas would be greatly appreciated.
The post that Muhammad provided the link to got me a (very) little ways towards the goal. I have been able to create the new site and get it up and running but as soon as I restore the source site to the destination(new) site I can no longer get to the new site. I get an error stating "File not found" and it gives me a Correlation ID that is a GUID. I have tried doing a backup of the source site and a restore to the new site. This resulted in me not even getting to the signon page (got the same "File not found" error as soon as I browsed to the URL) I then tried to export the source and import into the new site. I got to sign in page this time, was able to sign in but then got the same "File not found" error.
Is there some piece of configuration that I need to alter to get the new site functional after doing the restore/import?