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Is it possible to perform a backup (either SharePoint backup or sql backup) without any items that are in man-made lists and libraries?

I saw a feature in Metalogix tools where you can copy a site collection without items (howerver lists and libraries will be copied so site structure in good shape).

Can someone please suggest a powershell or codeplex tool or their own custom tool that they created?

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Have a look at the SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard, it has some options to exclude content.

Or possibly you could copy the site collection with contents, and then clean it up?

If none of those work you'll have to look into a third party or some custom development.

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Not sure what the purpose is, but you could always create a template of lists, libraries, and sites that includes all of the settings and things, but no content. This should serve your purpose without any 3rd party tools.

  • Good Idea. I may have to repeat this for 70 times in dev since there are 70 site collections. Thanks Lori. – Maria Jones Feb 21 '12 at 20:19
  • Save as Template for publishing site is disabled in SPD and not supported by Microsoft. – Maria Jones Feb 21 '12 at 20:55
  • I guess I can manually type /_layouts/savetmpl.aspx at the end of the site I am trying to save template as. – Maria Jones Feb 21 '12 at 20:57

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