Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010
Many applications rely on data storage at the site level to implement their behaviors. A list instance is a predefined list that has a well-known identifier. A list instance can be hidden or visible to end users.
If a list instance is visible, it is possible for an end user to delete the list by mistake. If you deactivate the Feature, the deactivation will succeed even though one of its elements (a list instance), is no longer available.
Web Application: No
Site Collection: Yes
Web Site: Yes
A list instance scoped for a site collection is provisioned on the top-level Web site. Such list instances are typically used for storing site collection-wide resources such as master pages. A list instance scoped for a Web site is provisioned on the specified site or subsite.
For more information about the file format for list instances, see List Instances.