I am using SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. And I am using publishing portal template. And I am using command,

stsadm -o restore -url http://machinename:8090/siteabc -filename c:\backup\siteabc.bak

But met with the following error -- there is a web site already exist on "/siteabc". Please specify a new URL or using -overwrite.

How to check whether there is a web site called "/siteabc" already exists? Not sure whether tools like SharePoint Manager could detect this?

3 Answers 3


SharePoint Manager would indeed show you if this site already exists. Another way is to go into 'Central Administration', click on the 'Application Management' tab and select Site Collection List (Under 'SharePoint Site Management'). Make sure you change the web application in the top right hand corner to the correct one and you should see the site listed.

Im pretty sure that the site would exist and you could then delete it or use -overwrite to restore your backup over the top.

Hope this helps,


  • 1. "SharePoint Manager would indeed show you if this site already exists." -- appreciate if you could let me know under which node should I find the info. Too much information in SharePoint Manager, and it is new to me. 2. Is it possible that this site is created by other applications (not SharePoint)? If yes, how to check? 3. I am interested in your solution of using Site Collection List. Suppose on the machine there are several web applications created, how to find all the sites created? Appreciate if you could share more details.
    – George2
    Jan 14, 2010 at 16:45
  • 1
    @George2: 1. SharePoint Manager (SPM) can be daunting at first but it's a good idea to look through each node and understand what's given there. It's often invaluable for troubleshooting. 2. I don't believe SPM will show you sites created by other applications. You can look in IIS Manager under the "Web Sites" node. 3. You should look further at SharePoint Central Administration. Under "Application Management" you'll find "Web application list" and "Site collection list" which give you all of this information.
    – Alex Angas
    Jan 14, 2010 at 22:40
  • Question answered!
    – George2
    Jan 16, 2010 at 11:43

I think this was fixed in SP2, but in SP1 I noticed that when I restored a site, if I didn't have the url correct, it would think i'm talking about the root site instead of the one I was referring to.


stsadm -o restore -url http://machinename/sites/siteabc -filename c:\backup\siteabc.bak

would work, but

stsadm -o restore -url http://machinename/site/siteabc -filename c:\backup\siteabc.bak

wouldn't and would actually think i'm trying to restore to http://machinename/. I made the mistake of doing the -overwrite switch and restored the site right over top of my root site collection.

Also, when doing this, make sure your managed paths are setup to allow site collections at the url you are specifing.

This KB article also explains the issue I was seeing (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/968474)

  • Is it possible that this site is created by other applications (not SharePoint)? If yes, how to check?
    – George2
    Jan 14, 2010 at 16:44
  • I read the KB document, but I think it is not exactly my case. The KB document is about 404 error, but I met with site already exist error. Are they the same thing?
    – George2
    Jan 14, 2010 at 16:49
  • 1
    If you type in the url wrong or have the managed paths wrong, then according to the kb article it will find your root site instead of the url you typed in. So then it will respond with site already exists. Jan 14, 2010 at 17:04
  • 1
    I would check by trying to browse to the url you are trying to restore to. What happens? 404? Jan 14, 2010 at 17:05

You could also try navigating to http://machinename:8090/siteabc/_layouts/settings.aspx. I have provisioned a few sites where I hosed the masterpage during provisioning. When I went to http://machinename:8090/siteabc I would get a 404, but I knew the site was still there. Since the application pages used a different masterpage, I could still get to the site via the settings page and delete the site.

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