I'm a beginner in SharePoint so forgive me if the question is too simple.

I've been given a task to revamp an existing SharePoint portal. I will basically focus on the visual branding and also on improving some of the services. The problem is the existing code is a big mess and it was handled by two or three companies before and no documentation whatsoever. Moreover, the upgrade process from SP2007 to SP2010 was not properly done.

Personally, I don't want to waste time figuring out errors in undocumented code. So I advised the client to start with a clean install and build the complete layout from scratch. They insisted that they want to keep their existing data ( structure + content ) and web parts. Plus we have some time limitations.

Based on your experiences, could you please suggest an approach that might help in a similar situation? Is there a way to start clean portal with new layout but at the same time keep the data?

I appreciate your help.

  • 1
    Please clarify, "the upgrade process from SP2007 to SP2010 was not properly done. Whether code is not working or the visual part is incorrect?
    – AlexSSE
    Aug 17, 2011 at 12:35
  • I mean the layouts were not correctly upgraded to SP2010, there are still some bugs. For example, the Ribbon is not shown. This may only need to run Visual Upgrade command but this is just one problem of many. Aug 17, 2011 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


This will really depend on the level of customization implemented. If it was just re-branded master pages you can assign default OOTB pages to the sites, or if you have "corrected" versions you can assign those by looping thru your sites and specifying the master pages to use.

Todd Klindt posted the Powershell for setting master pages http://www.toddklindt.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=226

If you are looking for more information on branding SharePoint there is a ton of information available via Google or Bing.

MSDN Getting Started http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg430141.aspx

Randy Drisgill MVP http://blog.drisgill.com/

  • There's a good amount of customization. The site uses several custom web parts and custom content types. Most of these web parts just access document libraries or pages but few of them access external data sources. The re-branding itself would've not been a big issue, but with the current mess I will be kind of walking on a minefield of bugs which I will spend significant amount of time to troubleshoot. So my question is there a better clean approach or should I just use whatever I got right now. Aug 17, 2011 at 13:18
  • That depends on your requirements. If you don't have time to make changes, your decision is made for you. If you drop the customized items you will lose that functionality until you can restore it. Perhaps you can take a tiered approach? deploy as is and start making incremental improvements. There is no "quick" fix. Aug 17, 2011 at 13:25

I suppose I am a believer in "Clean Slate" Branding. I use Randy Drisgill's Starts Pages to start me off. you can find it here: http://startermasterpages.codeplex.com/ -> once you got your base layout complete, import your web parts and such. And you can do this on an a;ready established portal.

Branding SharePoint is like branding any web site, you need to have a plan, a design and a way forward. Depending on the intensity of the Branding (colour changes, Theme changes, Full Master page?) If it is just a colour change, keeping the base layout (Vanilla SharePoint) you can use Microsoft Theme Builder. This is also a great way to start off and a time saver :)

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