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"Cannot find c:\...\exportsettings.xml" error when restoring with SharePoint Designer

When making a SharePoint Designer backup of a certain Windows SharePoint Services site it's creating it normally. But when you try to restore the same backup you receive the cannot find ... exportsettings.xml error. After digging a lot around I've discovered that this is actually a SharePoint Designer Bug.

This error occurs if your backup has more than 25 MB. So to move larger sites we're in trouble and we should wait for SharePoint Designer team to fix the bug? Yes. Meanwhile there is a workaround that worked for me. Suppose we want to copy the SharePoint site to

We need the following:

1. Access to the server where the SharePoint mysite1 is hosted
2. SharePoint designer (you don't need it installed on the server)
3. Administrative rights to

And the process is as follows:

1. On the server where you have the locate the file stsadm.exe (usually in the folder C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN). Copy the stsadm.exe to a location where you'll run it or make %path% to it or go to that folder in the command prompt.

2. Open the command prompt with the location of the file and type the following command (let's say we'll backup to c:\.

stsadm -o export -url -filename c:\mysite1.cmp -cabsize 1024 -includeusersecurity

This is the EXPORT backup of the site with some additional parameters:
-cabsize 1024 makes the backup file size 1024 megabytes instead of standard 25 (which is the error limit in SPD)
- includeusersecurity remembers the security settings of the sites

3. Copy the c:\mysite1.cmp file to your local computer or where you have the SharePoint Designer installed.

4. You have to have the site collection (or subsite) with deployed Blank site template on address Open the site with SharePoint Designer and make a SharePoint Designer restore (how? Read more here)

That should have it working.

Backup, restore and migration of sites on SharePoint 3 pt. 3/3

stsadm -o export and stsadm -o import

To backup:
1. Locate stsadm.exe
2. in Command prompt type stsadm -o export -url http://[url-of-the-web-site-or-subsite] -filename [path and name of the file.dat]

To restore:
1. Create a web application and a site collection using sharepoint central administration. Or you can create a subweb in an existing site collection. In both cases you should use a "Blank site" template.
2. Locate stsadm.exe
3. In Command prompt type stsadm -o import -url http://[url-of-the-web-site-or-subsite] -filename [path and name of the file.dat]

You've probably noticed a difference from a method described n previous post is small (only export and import instead of backup and restore). Also we can see that the order of parameters and their values isn't important.

1. You can export (migrate) a subsite
2. If you include parameter -includeusersecurity it keeps the security settings and owner information
3. It doesn't keep the list and sites GUIDs so you can use it to copy a site collection inside of the same content database.

1. You need access to the server to run the stsadm.exe
2. It doesn't keep the SharePoint Designer's Data-View-Webparts (again you have to fix them manually - read more about it here.)
3. You loose the meta data (created and modified dates and who created it) by default.


Backup, restore and migration of sites on SharePoint 3 pt. 2/3

stsadm -o backup and stsadm -o restore

To backup:
  1. On the server locate the file stsadm.exe (if you have sharepoint 2 and sharepoint 3 locate the one in the "12" folder.
  2. Open command prompt and type [path to stsadm.exe\]stsadm -o backup -url http://[url-of-the-web-site] -filename [path and name of the file.dat]

To restore: 
  1. Create a web application (but don't create a site collection)
  2. On the server locate stsadm.exe
  3. Open command prompt and type [path to stsadm.exe\]stsadm -o restore -filename [path and name of the file.dat] -url http://[url-of-the-web-site]


It migrates the whole site collection perfectly! All data-view-webparts are preserved, all user rights, meta data, etc. are preserved).

1, It keeps the same GUIDS of lists and sites, so you can't use it to create a copy of the site in the same content database. (Example: You have 1 web application and you want to create a copy of the site in the same site collection in the same web application)
2. You can't backup specific subsites - only entire site collection
3. You need to have access to the server to run stsadm.exe

Backup, restore and migration of sites on SharePoint 3 pt. 1/3

SharePoint Designer Backup and Restore

To backup:
  1. Open the site with SharePoint Designer
  2. Select Menu "Site" --> "Administration" --> Backup web site
  3. You can select to backup also the subsites
  4. Select where to save the backup file and write file name

To restore:
  1. You have to have the created blank site (in the same language)
  2. Open the blank site with SharePoint Designer
  3. Select Menu "Site" --> "Administration" --> "Restore web site"
  4. Browse the file from your local computer
  5. After backup is made you can delete SharePoint's temp file on site

1. Easy backup, keeps meta data (like "Created" and "Modified" dates, "Created by" and "Modified by") - Even if restoring to different sites. Can migrate between different sub-versions of same WSS 3.
2. You don't need access to the server, just administrative rights on the site.

1. A BIG con is that you can make a backup of the sites that have under 25 MB. Looks like this is a bug in SharePoint designer and I hope it will be fixed soon. If you are backing up a site with over 25 MB you will encounter a problem "Cannot find ..... exportsettings.xml". There is a workaround to this (I'll post that in one of my later posts).
2. It doesn't keep any custom data-views created with SharePoint Designer. After you restore and if you have any data-view-web-parts that you've created with SPD and are not working - you have to fix them. Read how to fix them here.