Exporting and Importing sites between WSS 3 and SharePoint Foundation 2010.

08 Mar

Exporting and Importing sites between WSS 3 and SharePoint Foundation 2010.

I was recently tasked with moving a list from a WSS3 server to a SharePoint Foundation 2010 server. After Googling around, I tried exporting the list as a template in WSS3, then importing the template into Foundation. However, I quickly learned that SharePoint Foundation cannot import WSS3 list templates. There didn’t seem to be a way to ‘update’ the WSS3 list template to Foundation; dead-end. To get around this limitation, I backed up the entire WSS3 site and performed a ‘database attach upgrade’ to a new temporary Sharepoint Foundation server, then transferred the list as a template.

Basic Process:

  1. Backup the SP_WSS3 database
  2. Restore it to a temporary SP_2010 server (SP_2010Temp)
  3. Copy the list (as a template) from the temporary server to your production SP_Foundation server

Things to note:

  • The Two SharePoint servers we are using are Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0  and SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • For reference, here are my version numbers:
    SP_WSS3′s version is:, SP
    SP_2010’s version is: 14.0.4762.1000, SP2010 RTM
  • SP_2010Temp’s version will be the same as SP_2010

Setting up your new SP_2010Temp site:

Note: I referenced this blog for lots of this information Installing a Standalone Sharepoint Foundation 2010 Server. However, we’re not going to complete every step because we shouldn’t need SSL for this temporary SharePoint Foundation server.

The basic outline:

  1. Install SQL Server 2008 R2 Express
  2. Download SharePoint Foundation. You do not need Search server Express
  3. Follow Prepare your system
  4. Install SharePoint Prerequisites
  5. Install SharePoint Foundation 2010
  6. Follow the Intial Configuration Wizard
  7. Follow Create Site Collection
  8. Ignore everything else!

To upgrade the actual WSS 3 content to SP2010, we will use the “database attach upgrade” method. See this blog post for more info: WSS3.0 to SharePoint Foundation 2010 upgrade

Backing up the WSS 3 Content Database:

  1. On your  SP_WSS3 server, Open SQL Server Management Studio and connect.
  2. Expand Databases, than right click WSS_Content -> tasks -> Back Up…
  3. When the back up window opens, set your destination to: “disk” then click “Add”.
  4. In the next menu, Choose a location , and give the backup a name.
  5. Now on your SP_2010Temp server, open SQL Server Management Studio
  6. Expand the databases, right click on the database you want to restore to. This database will be similar to the filename that you just backed up (e.g. WSS_Content_1)
  7. Right click on the database -> tasks -> Restore -> database
  8. In this Menu, check that the Destination for restore is the database you just backed up from SP_WSS3, Under “Source for restore” choose “From device”, then click the “…” button, This will open another menu prompting for you to choose your backup file, find the backup file of the WSS_Content and click ok.
  9. After you choose the backup file, you will notice that the selected backup file is now under your “Source for restore”, make sure its checked and proceed to the next step
  10. Open options and check “Overwrite”
  11. Click ok and you should get a message saying “The Restore of <database> completed successfully.”
  12. Login to SP_2010New’s central administration website.
  13. Go to “Manage Content Databases”
  14. If there is a database there, delete it, ignore the pop up
  15. The last step: We are going to add our new database to the SP_2010New’s Farm using this command, we should be still Remote desktop to SP_2010New
    cd “<programfiles>\common files\microsoft shared\web service extensions\14\bin”
    stsadm -o addcontentdb -url <URL> -databasename <database name>
  16. This will upgrade your database to 2010 format at the same time
  17. Navigate to the Central admin site for SP_2010New, the new database should be under “Manage Content Databases”
  18. Your Done!
    The two websites should look similar becuase we havent done a visual upgrade, you can see simularities in the menus and how the is website setup.
Side Note: If you liked/disliked this blog please leave a comment! I want to know what you think!

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8 responses to “Exporting and Importing sites between WSS 3 and SharePoint Foundation 2010.

  1. Grant

    November 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

    This procedure and steps worked like a charm, well written and methodical. A major time saver!

    • win1337ist

      November 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      Thanks a bunch! It’s great that it worked out for you!

  2. HamBone

    April 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I just gave this a go and had no issues at all. Very well written and laid out. My hats off to you sir.

    • win1337ist

      April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad it worked for you.

  3. relegated

    June 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you, I ended up doing a WSS 3 to another WSS 3 after the original one freaked out and died. I was looking to upgrade to 2010 but our DB is 13GB and people need to use it so that will have to wait.

  4. george

    January 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks. Very straight forward and clean. Have tried it and worked.

  5. MNitGuy

    February 26, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you very much for this, I’m not a sharepoint expert but this helped me migrate my customers setup to their new servers we installed for them.

  6. Garrett Michael Hayes

    September 26, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks. I actually used your basic process to move a site collection from an inherited WSS 3.0 install to SP Foundation 2013. I had to deploy a temporary SPF 2010 install as a “stepping stone”, but that was the only real bugaboo. (Well, the existing sites had some non-relative links to fix, but that’s hardly SP’s fault. )


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