Is it possible to restore a Document Library or List with unique permissions from an unattached content database with the unique permissions still intact?

Normally the steps to restore a Document Library or List from an unattached content database are:


  1. Go to central administration > Backup and Restore > Recover data from an unattached content database;
  2. select the desired Document Library or List;>
  3. Specify a filename ending in ".cmp" and select export Full Security;
  4. Export;


  1. Open PowerShell and perform the following script:

    Import-SPWeb -identity htttp://site/sitecollection -path D:\documentlibrary.cmp -includeUserSecurity

After having performed these steps the Document Library / List is restored, but the unique permissions are not restored!

It appears that the parameter IncludeUserSecurity does not restore the permissions of the Files / Document Library / List when it has unique permissions (no permission inheritance).

The TechNet article seems to confirm my that the Parameter IncludeUserSecurity is not capable of restoring permissions when unique permissions are used:

IncludeUserSecurity: Preserves the user security settings except for SPLists that have broken inheritance and item level permissions set.

How to restore the unique permissions aswell?

1 Answer 1


When you Export and Import the List /Library with the IncludeUserSecurity, Normal assumption is that any permissions on the list would be preserved. In other words, if my source list was not inheriting permissions on the list itself, a folder, or an individual item, then those custom permissions should carry over when I import the list to a new web. Unfortunately this is not the case - includeusersecurity only copies over the users and groups, not the permissions (at least when importing a list).

If you want to copy the list permission then use the Gary Lapoint's command which will copy the list permission.


or use the 3d party tool i.e ShareGate or Metalogix etc.

  • In other words, out of the box it is not possible to perform a restore of a document library with unique permissions (let's say when it was deleted). The only way to restore the permissions is by using a third party tool or by restoring the entire site or site collection?
    – TempaC
    Oct 14, 2014 at 16:12
  • 1
    Yes, this is true for Import & export process...But if you do the backup & restore then answer will be different but you cant perform backup of list/Library.
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Oct 14, 2014 at 16:21

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