Recover Data From Crashed SharePoint Server

November 1st, 2012 by Erin Scott

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to recover a corrupted SharePoint server fear not!  What used to be a manual and very tedious process is now quite manageable with a little bit of code and basic knowledge of SharePoint server.

The reason that this process can be so tricky is because SharePoint stores all it’s files in a SQL database and while that provides much more functionality than a straight file server it also increases the complexity of backing up and recovering files located within it.

Luckily, there is a small script that can be run on the server that exports all data within a SharePoint database.  The following are the steps you can use to recover your documents from a crashed SharePoint server.


Here are the basic steps to getting your docs.

  1. Backup your database(s)
  2. Create a temp database in your default SQL containter
  3. Download and customize this code
  4. Compile the code
  5. Run the program


Step 1:  

The first thing you’ll need to do is open up your SQL Manager and create a backup of the DB you’re wanting to save.  Normally you need to connect to \\.\pipe\MSSQL$Microsoft##ssee\sql\query and then you’ll see the correct SharePoint databases.  In this example, the database is called STS_SERVER_1 but yours will likely be different.  Right click this database and back it up to a single file.  Telling it to go to 2 backup files can cause problems.


Step 2:  

Close and reopen the SQL Manager but this time connect to the default server.  In my case it is “Server\SQLEXPRESS”  Once inside here navigate to databases, right click and then hit restore.  I named my database “TEMP_DB” but feel free to name it whatever you like.  Select the backup file you just created and start the restore.


Step 3:  

Download this code to your desktop and save it as spdbex.cs.  You’ll need to change 2 variables inside the code.  Look for this part near the top of the code.

string DBConnString = 
“Server=ServerName\\SQLEXPRESS;” +

Yours may look like this:

string DBConnString = 
“Server=YourServer\\SQLEXPRESS;” +

Step 4:

To compile the code, run this command in a command prompt.  It’s assumed that the spdbex.cs is in the current folder.

%WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\csc /target:exe /out:spdbex.exe spdbex.cs

Step 5:

Assuming everything went ok you should be able to just type in the program name and then you’ll be good to go.  This will put all files that were stored in your SharePoint database into the current folder and sub folder.

Note: Meta data and file versions are not preserved during this restore.

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