I have some SharePoint experience as an Accidental Admin but I'm not sure about how this will work.

We had a ransomware attack and servers got encrypted. IT did an excellent job of recovering them but it's been decided that all VMs will be replaced or restored. No SP database data has been lost. We are discussing doing an image restore of the Web server VMs that will roll them back about 3 or 4 weeks. As I said, the databases will retain up-to-date data.

What might be lost with the webserver-only restore? I don't think that anyone is doing much with SP Designer but there are likely to be new views and perhaps new forms. I think that the restore is the only way to go, given our instructions, but what should I tell users to look for afterwards?


2 Answers 2


Snapshotting VMs running SharePoint farms is not supported outside of first shutting down all VMs.

I would look at standing up a new VM and attaching it to the existing configuration database. This will require you to know the farm passphrase which was first entered upon farm creation.

If you have to restore, only restore a single server and clear the configuration cache and reset the search index. For the other VMs, remove them from Central Administration -> Manage Servers in Farm, then build new SharePoint VMs and start the appropriate Service Instances on them as applicable.

No content is kept on the SharePoint servers themselves, the content is in the SQL databases.

  • Not sure if I should accept your answer or not. I did find it very helpful but we are now investigating just migrating to O365 instead of restoring anything. We are engaging the MS Fast Track team to determine how fast they really are. If we change our minds again then I will definitely be using these recommendations. Thank you Trevor.
    – Jim
    Apr 17, 2020 at 13:39

SharePoint main content like list library data sits on the content database and SharePoint server like front end and application provide service as middle ware for content database except some exceptional cases like custom development, custom page, custom workflow etc.... so if you are ready to comprise these things, you may restore the server images back up from last certain day.

However, before doing this exercise in the production server, first do in the test server, if you find everything fine there, then only you can go ahead in production. Otherwise, create a new vm or server and mount the content database - it needs lot of efforts, need to build the things from the scratch.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.