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Single Server SQL sharepoint 2010 accessing prior content and admin DB from defunct single server farm

History -:

Functional Sharepoint 2010 installation became inaccessible after attempts to migrate SQL to a higher capacity version.  This failed due to pre requisite issues and incompatibilities.

Sharepoint became inaccesible, and indeed so did SQL express management studio.

I decided to copy out the sharepoint related SQL MDF and LDF files from the SQL DATA folder.  Remove SQL and sharepoint entirely, and reinstall back as vanilla SQL express, with a view to EITHER starting from scratch and building the site again, and copying content and hopefully config data from the original MDFs,  
OR
After Reinstalling SQL2008Express and Sharepoint 2010 and within Sharepoint Central Admin open the original Content database and previously used sites.


I can almost see some of your heads shaking now.   !  The outcome, has naturally been a frustrating trail of Microsoft error messages and google searches that lead to yet more error messages.


Current state of Play.

I have access to Central Administration of the Vanilla new installation of Sharepoint and SQLExpress.
Within SQL management studio, I can see the"new" empty Sharepoint Databases.
Within SQL Express, i have ATTACHED the previous Admin and Content databases which i intended to simply point Sharepoint Central Admin to, and hey presto.  Not!.


At this stage being the Sharepoint installation is basically clean,  i ask what next.  I have tried numerous things to mount the old Databases, but all resulted in failure mostly to do with Privaledges,  so rather than pick through the error messages that maybe due to my incorrect approach to this issue, i ask whether there is be a defacto way of getting back to some resemblance of functionality and data availability.

Alternatively, i would hope to be able to establish some method to browse the old MDF's and extract docs and so on.

We do have backups of course, but part of this excercise is to wash out some of the remaining "glitches" caused by failed attempts to update to SQL 2012, and newer releases of Sharepoint.
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davesheppard
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davesheppard
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davesheppardAuthor Commented:
Self answered.

I was able to resolve the issue, by Attaching the old SharePoint Content database to SQL, then using the restore from unattached database option in Central Admin Backup and Restore.

This allowed to Export the Site within the Original SQL content DB.

After Exporting, I then used the import-spsite powershell command and restored it the to a site by the name of the original, so users can use the original URL they always used to.

The only downside to the process, was that every file is now dated todays date.  All Versions were included with the export which was a selectable option in the export process.

I would say documentation is quite weak in this area and there isn't a lot of "overview" description of the various authentication and connections between SP, SQL and IIS. making the Faulted scenario quite daunting.

Suffice to say that as long as you havea copy of the MDF/LDF file combo, you CAN get the data out, and back in!.

The end result is we have the site back up with the original url, and the original content, just file dates are changed.

W00p.
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davesheppardAuthor Commented:
Self answered.
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