If I delete a SharePoint site collection, the entries for its documents are not deleted from the alldocs, alldocstreams and alldocversions table of content database.

I thought, when a site collection is deleted, all its data is permanently deleted from the database. Is there anything that I am missing about it?

  • 1
    What version of SharePoint? SP2010 SP1 has a 'Site Collection Recycle Bin' feature accessible via PowerShell.
    – James Love
    Oct 12, 2011 at 11:30
  • It can be even accessed through GUI, for site collection administrators.
    – Strider
    Oct 12, 2011 at 12:04
  • 2
    Big sites are not deleted at once, search for "Gradual Site Delete" Oct 12, 2011 at 12:19
  • True, I've seen the main DB and IIS sites go when asked, but there always seem to be remnants hanging around
    – MichaelF
    Oct 12, 2011 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


When you delete a site collection the pointer in dbo.SiteMap in the config database is deleted, and the entry in dbo.Sites is deleted from the content database. The site collection is now gone from the user's perspective, although if you go into the databases (which is discouraged) the content is still there - for the time being.

The Gradual Site Delete timer job runs daily (by default) and will gradually delete all the data for the site collection in small batches to avoid lock escalation. If you must poke around, it will be queued in dbo.SiteDeletion.

  • 3
    If you have SP1, the site collection may be in the Site Collection Recycle Bin. You must remove it from there before it will be gradually deleted. See here: wellytonian.com/2011/07/…
    – Brian
    Feb 6, 2013 at 15:10

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