I have a sharepoint application which consists of 5 content dbs.

There are 18,000 site collections. In one of the site collections an invoice list, was deleted its contents.

Probably by someone fired.(an admin)

Contents are gone from recycle bin too.

What are my options to recover the data? If restore the content DB (yes the dbas make a backup every 15min), I will also go back in time 15 min in the other site collections.

Is there a way to recover only that list, or only that site collection?

  • The tricky question is when the invoice list was deleted. If you are going to restore your SQL content database you need to know the exact time where the list was still alive. If you can solve this question - then using granular restore from an unattached database is the way to go Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


I think the best option is to use granular backup/restore.

  1. Restore your content database with a different name so that you don't overwrite your existing one.

  2. In central administration go to Backup and Restore --> Recover data from an unattached content database --> Under 'Database Name' use your newly restored database name. Under 'Operation' to perform choose 'Export site or list'.

  3. Choose the site and list you want to export. Choose the export file destination.
  4. After Export Timer job is finished, in SharePoint Management Shell:

Import-SPWeb YoursiteUrl -Path C:\Storage\invoice_list.cmp -UpdateVersions Overwrite

This PowerShell script will only create your invoice list without completely overwriting the entire web or site collection. So you don't have to worry here.

Unattached DB

Unattached DB

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