I've inherited a SharePoint site as sql .bak file. I took the following steps to create the site:

  1. Create a Web Application
  2. Create a root site (no template)
  3. Delete the default database: Remove-SPContentDatabase -Identity "WSS_Content"
  4. In SQL Server Management Studio, restore the .bak file to a db named "WSS_Content"
  5. Associate restored db with application: Mount-SPContentDatabase "WSS_Content" -DatabaseServer "\SharePoint" -WebApplication http:// my-root-site

I also have a Managed Metadata sql db .bak file and a sql .bak file for a 3rd party user management tool (Extranet Collaboration Manager). I have not restored these to the new site. I thought I'd focus on the content first. Noting it here in case it sheds light on the problem.

Problem 1: I am unable to select my root site in Central Administration. For example, if I navigate to Application Management > View all site collections selecting the root site does not display any information on the right hand side.

Problem 2: I am unable to change the site administrator, it claims the user does not exist.

I've searched the powershell commands and forums to figure out what else I should be doing, but am too new to SharePoint to understand my problem fully. Have I followed the correct steps to create a site from a SQL .bak file?

Per Russell's suggestions below I have:

  • Confirmed the new database is listed in central administration.
  • Confirmed the number of sites I would expect, in this case 1.
  • Content DB Version had a status of Database is in compatibility range and upgrade is recommended. I ran Upgrade-SPContentDatabase -id "WSS_Content" and now the status is No Action required

3 Answers 3


This is a bit of hack, but it got it up and running. Keep in mind this is on my dev vm, not production.

Problem 1: I was creating the Web Application with the Predefined security account. Once I changed it to Configurable and used my local user, I was able to select the root site.

Problem 2: The site I inherited was pointing to an active directory hierarchy in a disconnected domain. I went into the content database and nulled the following field of the appropriate row: AllSites.UserAccountDirectoryPath. (reminder: dev environment!)

  • I can confirm that an invalid "UserAccountDirectoryPath" can lead to the behaviour that the site cannot be selected in central administration. You can set it to $null (with PowerShell) and the site should become selectable.
    – Shihan
    Sep 5, 2017 at 15:28

When you mount the content DB, the Url resolves the web application for the content database to be associated with.

In central administration, under application management, select content databases and select your web application. Confirm you can see the new content database. You can also add/remove content databases from this page.

If that is OK, confirm the number of sites is what you would expect, there may be no root site collection in the content database.

You can find the list of site collections by looking in site collections under application management.

Also confirm the version of the content DB matches the version of your farm.

  • I confirmed all of these things. I had to run Upgrade-SPContentDatabase on the content database to confirm the versions match, but I am still unable to select the site.
    – rboone
    Jan 13, 2012 at 17:56

I would recommend you double checking few things:

It is suggested to run the same service pack level on both source and destination SharePoint if possible.

Therefore, different account must be used for different purpose in SharePoint Farm - Read More Here

For example, the application pool account for a web application must not have the access to SharePoint configuration database. In other words, application pool account of content Web applications does not need to have write permissions to the SharePoint configuration database - only read is suffice. Because, it will increase the attack surface in your farm by an order of magnitude. For example, the application pool account of web application can't be the member of Farm administrator's group etc.

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