Migrating a WSS 3.0 Site to SBS 2008

Ok, so I’ll give Nicky kudos for beating me to the punch on this topic.  But, I’m also going to provide a better way to accomplish this task  smile_regular

So let’s consider this scenario.  You have an SBS 2003 box, and at some point in time you completed a side-by-side installation of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and you have been using your WSS 3 site instead of the default WSS 2 companyweb site on SBS 2003.  Now you have this shiny new SBS 2008 box that is running WSS 3.0 already.

Nick’s article gives you an option to move your WSS 3.0 site from your SBS 2003 box to the companyweb site on your SBS 2008 box.  But there’s one downfall – by using the backup & restore functionality in SharePoint’s stsadm utility, you’re effectively deleting the stock SBS 2008 companyweb site, and putting your existing WSS 3.0 site in its place.  Not that may not be a huge deal, but what if you want to use the SBS fax service and have faxes routed to your companyweb?  Well the fax library doesn’t exist (unless you’ve manually created it exactly like the SBS team had it).  Not to mention, your WSS 3.0 site that you restored most likely isn’t set up with the same security that the stock SBS 2008 companyweb used – meaning new users won’t automatically have access to the site unless you tweak the permissions.

Instead of yanking out the stock SBS 2008 companyweb and replacing it with your existing WSS 3.0 site, the better solution is to integrate your existing site into the SBS 2008 companyweb.  And believe it or not – it is entirely possible (and even pretty simple) to do so  smile_regular

First and foremost – in order for this to succeed, you need to be running the same version of WSS 3.0 on both your SBS 2003 and SBS 2008.  On both servers, open SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration, navigate to the Operations tab, then click on the Servers in Farm link.  This will show your server along with its WSS version (e.g.  12.0.0.6303).  Install any missing Service Packs / Updates so both servers are at the same version.  Penny has a great post here on identifying what updates correspond to what SharePoint version.

On your SBS 2003 box, open a command prompt and navigate to  C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\bin   and enter the following command:

stsadm –o export –url http://[sitename] –filename [output path] –overwrite –includeusersecurity –versions 4

Where  [sitename] = the name of your existing WSS 3 site and [output path] is the path to the directory where you want to store the export (e.g.  D:\WSSExport\sitename.dat ).  If the path includes long file/folder names, enclose the entire path in double quotes (e.g.  “D:\WSS Export\sitename.dat” 

This command exports the contents of the specified site.  The –overwrite flag tells stsadm to replace the output file if it already exists.  The –includeusersecurity flag does just that – tells stsadm to include user security settings for all entities in the site.  Finally, the –versions 4 flag tells stsadm to export all versions of list items and documents. 

By default, stsadm will create a new file when the output file reaches 25MB in size.  So if your resulting export is 90 MB, you will have four files – the first three being 25 MB each, and the last being 15 MB.

Once the export completes, copy your export file(s) to your SBS 2008 box.  Then, on your SBS 2008 server, open a command prompt with administrator privileges.  Navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\bin and enter the following command:

stsadm –o import –url http://companyweb –filename [input path] –includeusersecurity

Obviously, [input path] is the path to the location of the export files you copied to your SBS 2008 box.  Again, if there is a long file / folder name, enclose the entire path in double quotes.  If the output produced more than one file, you should specify the first file in this command  e.g.  “D:\WSS Import\sitename.dat”

When the command completes, you can navigate to http://companyweb.   Your first impression will be that you are looking at your original WSS 3.0 site – because the companyweb will be using the theme, Quick Launch & Top Link bars from the imported site.  However, the two sites have actually been merged in to one. 

  • Every list, library, and sub-site from your previous site that did not already exist in the SBS 2008 companyweb was created with the previous security settings and all content (including versions) restored.
  • Every list, library, and sub-site that exists in both sites have been merged, so that content from the export has been added to the corresponding entity in the SBS 2008 companyweb.  (For example – if your original WSS 3.0 site included an Announcements list, you will see that both your previous announcements and the SBS 2008 companyweb announcements exist in the same announcements list).
  • SBS 2008 companyweb entities are still present – including the Fax Center document library and the Archived E-Mails sub-site.
  • Security for the two sites have been merged.  The default groups used by SBS 2008 are still present and granted access.  Additionally, user permissions from your original site have been merged in to the site as well.

At this point, you just have some basic tweaking to do – including adding the Fax Center library and/or Archived E-Mails sub-site to the Quick Launch, etc. 

For simplified administration moving forward, I recommend reviewing permissions throughout the site and replacing permissions on the old site with the groups used by SBS 2008.  The fewer groups that are used, and the fewer explicit permissions granted to specific users, the easier your SharePoint security administration will be moving forward.  Note that you can add Active Directory Security Groups as members to SharePoint groups.  This way you can use SharePoint groups to control access to libraries, lists, & sub-sites in SharePoint.  Additionally, you can then create new User Roles in your SBS 2008 Console that include membership to necessary AD Security Groups.  This way, when you create a new user via the SBS 2008 console, you can select the correct User Role, and the resulting new user will automatically have access to the right areas in your companyweb.

One thought on “Migrating a WSS 3.0 Site to SBS 2008”

  1. Hey…. who said I knew anything about Sharepoint anyway ;)

    Prefer your method, obviously…. just didn’t know it was possible so thanks again Chad for offloading your Guru-ness to us all ;)

    Nick (drop the Y, it makes me sound like a girl)

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