I have a client which asked us to develop a customization for them, but they cannot provide us with testing environment. So we would like to try to setup a testing environment by ourselves. My question is how should our client backup their sharepoint 2007 to enable us the fully restore it?

We have tried the following options, but not work:

  1. fully backup the database

  2. use stsadm import and export(some template can not find)

But we still can not restore the environment in our office.

What can we do?

4 Answers 4


I just went through this a few months back and this worked well for me. However, you will need to work closely with their admins in to get a lot of the information as more than simply the content databases is required.

  1. Look through their central Admin
  2. Make note of the Sharepoint edition (Wss, Standard, Enterprise) and the specific version number - you will need to be at least at this level on your new farm in order to attach the content databases
  3. Export any custom WSPs via PowerShell
  4. If their BDC is part of your requirements use a tool like SSSSPC to export all of those settings - don't forget to grab the Managed Properties as well!
  5. If Search is part of your solution, take very careful notes on Content Sources and Scopes. Supposedly SSSSPC can do this as well, but I did not use it for this.
  6. Make note of all names defined in Alternate Access Mappings for each site you are working with
  7. Make note of all features activated at the Farm and Site Collection levels
  8. Get a backup of all relevant Content databases
  9. Get a backup of the web.config for all relevant sites
  10. Build a new farm in your test environment
  11. Apply the proper patches and updates to bring your farm up to their version level
  12. Install and deploy all custom WSPs
  13. Activate the proper farm level features
  14. Create the Web Applications you will be working with
  15. Add all Alternate Access Mappings
  16. Restore the databases from the client
  17. use STSADM to detach the temporary Content databases created by Central Admin and then attach the proper content DB from the client
  18. restart IIS
  19. Activate/verify all of the required site collection features
  20. Import all BDC Settings
  21. Apply all Search Settings
  22. Compare the web.config from the client and the one on your web application. Merge in the difference appsettings and SafeControls values. Beyond Compare is an excellent tool for this.
  23. Define the names listed in Alternate Access Mappings as entries in your local hosts file pointing to your server.
  24. Disable the LoopBack check. You will need this, otherwise you probably will not be able to access the site locally. (Use Method #2)

At this point, you should be up and running on a near clone of their farm.


use something like http://www.citrix.com/english/ss/downloads/details.asp?downloadId=2306318&productId=683148 to create a virtual machine of the clients sharepoint environment, then you can do pretty much whatever you want with it.

  • I doubt this will work as they do not have same domain as their customer. May 3, 2011 at 14:31

Couple of useful points.

Points 1 and 2 are correct.

On the production box....

Did you check for custom controls and web parts exist in the 12 hive folder?

Did you take a copy of the web directory in the inetpub folder?

Have you checked the web.config file to make sure there no setting need ported accross or have you even simply copied the web.config over?

Read fantastic artcle by Sahil Malik for more details http://blah.winsmarts.com/2007-10-Backup_and_Restore_Strategies_in_MOSS_2007.aspx


If you are doing a "customization" for them I guess this includes customization of Sites, Pages, Web Parts and stuff.

In such case and IMHO you should do the following:

  1. Install SharePoint farm in your company with same feature set (WSS, Standard or Enterprise)
  2. Install 3rd party solutions they use (e.g. custom web parts, workflows etc.)
  3. Backup/Restore Content database that hosts the site you need to customize

As this is different domain you will have to use stsadm to migrate users.

If your development include some additional stuff like MySite customization or User Profile customization than maybe you should consider some alternative approaches as suggested by others.

I would also ask myself if this is really necessary, and do I really need all their content to do your job.

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