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Sharepoint Backup and Restore individual files

Posted on 2016-08-08
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Last Modified: 2016-09-21
We have a Sharepoint 2013 installation with SQL on the same server (we are a small facility and only have 20-25 people that will access this install throughout the day). We have been running backups using our Unitrends backup appliance however recently I discovered after someone had deleted a PDF file on our content management system site that simply restoring an individual PDF file using the Unitrends appliance is not possible.

I am wondering if I should just resort to using the backup and restore that is built-in to Sharepoint to a location on our network and then have that backed up on our Unitrends appliance? or if there is a better way to be doing this. I know information is stored on the SQL server for Sharepoint but I don't understand how best to be able to recover something (besides using the built-in "Recycle Bin")
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Question by:jb61264
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SneekCo earned 500 total points
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There is really no good way to restore single items out of the box with SharePoint. You have a few options though, just not perfect ones...

Using the built-in SharePoint backup and restore, you schedule backups of sites and other objects. In order to restore a single item from one of those backups, you can restore the backed up site to a different location, and grab the item from there. The backups files can be backup using your unitrends appliance, but it does not add any functionality by doing that, it just makes sure you have a copy of the backup file.

You can also back up the SharePoint database(s). The restore would involve using the backup file created by SQL in a different SharePoint farm, or at least a different SharePoint web application. The commands would be somewhat different, but you can restore the data in the restore farm, and find the file you need to recover.

Important - If you try and restore in the same farm or web app, you have a high risk of overwriting the current production information, so restore activities should always occur in a different farm or web app, just a best practice.

Hope that helps...
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by:SneekCo
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Any luck?
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by:jb61264
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SneekCo...thank you for the reply, just yesterday I was finally able to run the built-in Sharepoint backup. I was having issues running this to a new SAN network share I created for it and finally resolved that issue. I first ran a full farm backup and then separately ran a "site collection backup" of the three site collections we have.

1. We have a Project Web Access site
2. We have a basic intranet site
3. We have a content management site

So I have a full farm backup and also three site collection backups.

I haven't tried what you are suggesting and not completely sure I understand how to do it...are you saying I would create a new site collection and then restore my backup from the content management site to that new site collection to retrieve the file(s)?
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Thanks...

It is important to make sure that production data is not overwritten or lost during a restore procedure. So yes, one way to be careful is to create a site collection and restore that that new site collection, then navigate through the new collection to find the data you need. In another scenario you could actually restore to a different farm, a test farm for example, and get to the data that way.

Of course if you restore to a test farm, be very careful about and keep the data protected. If it is highly sensitive data, you don't want to restore to a location that everyone has access to.

Also, be very careful when restoring from a script or command line, if the source and destination values are switched or wrong, data could be lost or overwritten. Not that I have ever done that. :-)

Hope that helps...
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