Use a trial upgrade to find potential issues (Windows SharePoint Services)

Applies To: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0


Topic Last Modified: 2009-01-21

Before you begin the upgrade process, you'll want to know approximately how long it will take, how many customizations will have to be done again or reapplied, and which sites may not upgrade as expected. The following method will help you determine what issues you may run into during the upgrade process, so you can address them before or after upgrade as appropriate.

  1. Run the pre-upgrade scan tool to find any custom sites or unghosted pages (required).


    You must run the pre-upgrade scan tool before starting the upgrade process. This tool steps through each site collection and generates a report about the state of each site. It also saves list definition information for each list. You can review the reports to find issues and address them before you start the upgrade process. This scan must be run before you can upgrade; the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard will not run if this scan has not been performed. For more information about this tool and steps for running the scan, see Run the pre-upgrade scan tool (Windows SharePoint Services).

  2. Review common issues to see which issues may apply to your environment.

    This list gives you a quick look at some common issues you may run across, and how to address them either before or after performing the upgrade.

  3. Perform a trial upgrade by using a backup or mirrored (read-only) site (recommended, but optional).

    This is the best method for discovering issues. You can preview the entire upgrade process and find any issues and address them before you start (or at least know what to expect). This method does require extra time and hardware; however, if you do invest in a trial run, you'll have a much easier time during the real upgrade process.

  4. Test custom Web Parts. You can test your Web Parts based on Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 to see if they'll keep working when you upgrade.

Review common issues

When you run the pre-upgrade scan tool or a test upgrade pass, you may notice one or more of the following common issues in your sites. If you have several sites with these issues, it is recommended that you perform a gradual upgrade. With a gradual upgrade, you have both the old version and the new version of any affected sites available, and you can revert to the old sites or make updates to the new sites before making the new versions live. If you must run upgrade in place, be sure to take a backup of your sites before running the upgrade.

Issue Explanation and what to do

I do not know what has been customized.

The most time-consuming step in the upgrade process may be to identify existing customizations and then decide which customizations to upgrade, migrate, and discard; and then map those customizations to Office SharePoint Server 2007. Use WinDiff, a tool that is provided with most Microsoft operating systems, to compare the original (default) site definition files to current (custom) site definition files to identify customizations.

For more information, see Areas, Bucketwebs, Upgrade and Redirects (

The local server and server farm administrators cannot browse to the sites.

In the new release, local server and server farm administrators are not automatically granted access to site content. If you want these users to have access to all site content, you can use the Web application policy to grant these users access to all sites. For more information about policy, see "Policy for Web applications" in the Logical architecture components (Windows SharePoint Services) article.

My branding customizations are lost during upgrade.

The methods to use for branding your site have changed in the new version. For example, you can now use Master Pages to control the layout and structure of your pages. Reapply branding by using the new methods.

My themes are lost during upgrade.

Themes have been reworked and redesigned for the new version. Apply a new theme.

Customizations done in a Web page editor compatible with Windows SharePoint Services such as Microsoft® Office FrontPage® 2003, are retained (my pages are still unghosted), but new functionality does not appear in the site.

Revert the pages to template to get the latest functionality, then reapply customizations in a Web page editor compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

Hard-coded URLs in Web Parts and pages that pointed to specific places in my sites no longer work.

The URLs for certain pages may have changed during upgrade (for example, if you had some areas with the /C2/ or /C16/ paths, then those paths may have been updated to /sites/ instead). Navigate to the appropriate location, and then recreate the URLs to point to the new location.

My sites are based on a heavily customized site definition.

Before upgrading your sites, create a new site definition, and then create an upgrade definition file so the upgrade process can map your old site definition elements to the new site definition.

I had extended form libraries and they no longer work.

Support for forms has been changed from form libraries to document libraries. Redeploy and reapply the forms to new document libraries.

We started the gradual upgrade process, and now my forms do not work.

Some InfoPath forms contain hard-coded links to a data location (such as a specific SharePoint list, Web service, or XML file). Because the link is hard-coded, it cannot be fixed automatically to point to the temporary URL that is used for sites that have not yet been upgraded during gradual upgrade. To fix the forms, you can immediately upgrade the sites that contain forms with broken links (thus restoring the original URL). If you cannot upgrade the sites immediately (for example, if there are other issues with the site that you need to investigate before upgrading), you can republish the forms and point to the temporary URL domain. Note that, if you choose to republish the forms, you'll have to republish the forms again after you upgrade the sites to point to the original URL, so use this option sparingly. For more information about the temporary URLs used during gradual upgrade, see How the upgrade process works (Windows SharePoint Services).

I had custom message text for Alerts and it is no longer displayed.

The custom messages are preserved, but you must manually transfer the message file to the new path.

I had custom event handlers configured for my environment.

You may need to reapply the event handlers, or use new features to perform the tasks instead.

Some controls that I rely on have been deprecated.

Remove the references to the controls from your new site definition. For more information about deprecated controls and which controls or features to use instead, see the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Software Development Kit (SDK).

My Web Parts were obfuscated in the old version, and now they do not work in the new version.

You may need to rebuild the Web Parts with ASP.NET 2.0.

My custom Web services relied on hard-coded URLs or functionality that has changed.

You may need to rework the Web services to use the new URL schemes and new functionality. For more information, see the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Software Development Kit (SDK).

Some files (with extensions .asmx, .rem, .resx, .soap, or .ashx) are no longer visible or cannot be opened after upgrade.

These file extensions have been added to the list of blocked file extensions for the new version. If you need to allow users to upload or download files with these extensions, you can remove the entries for these extensions from the list. For more information about managing blocked file extensions, see the topic Manage blocked file types in the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Central Administration Help system.

I don't see a Link to Outlook button on View pages anymore.

You must revert the page to the template version to get the new user interface controls on the View pages, such as this control.

I can't revert a custom page to template.

If you added a completely custom page to your site (for example, if you replaced default.aspx with a completely different file rather than making changes to the existing default.aspx file), that page has no association with the site definition and so cannot revert to template. If you want your custom page to have the same look and feel as the other pages in your site, consider creating a new page based on the site definition and transferring your customizations to that new page.

Perform a trial upgrade

If you have the resources available, it is recommended that you perform a trial upgrade to discover any issues before you perform the actual upgrade. You can perform this trial upgrade on either a backup or a mirrored version of your site.

To perform a trial upgrade on a backup version of your environment:

  1. Take a full backup of your server or server farm.

  2. Restore the backup on separate hardware, and configure that environment so it is identical to your product environment (for example, install any custom Web Parts, custom binaries, site definitions, and so on).

  3. Perform the pre-upgrade, upgrade, and post-upgrade steps for the upgrade path you will use in your live environment.

  4. Review the results and look for issues that you can address before performing the upgrade in your live environment.

To perform a trial upgrade on a mirrored (read-only) version of your environment:

  1. In the mirrored environment, perform the pre-upgrade, upgrade, and post-upgrade steps for the upgrade path you will use in your live environment.

  2. Review the results and look for issues that you can address before performing the upgrade in your live environment.

Test custom Web Parts

Because Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, Service Pack 2 (SP2), supports running ASP.NET 2.0 on the same Internet Information System (IIS) Web site (also known as virtual server or Web application in the new terminology), you can install and enable ASP.NET 2.0 on your virtual servers running Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 and verify that your Web Parts are going to work in the new environment.

To test your Web Parts, do either of the following:

  • Download and install ASP.NET 2.0 and .NET Framework 2.0 to a front-end Web server in your farm or to your stand-alone server. Then, in IIS, enable ASP.NET 2.0 for any IIS Web sites that are hosting SharePoint sites and review the Web Parts in your sites.

  • In a development environment, download, install, and enable ASP.NET 2.0 and .NET Framework 2.0; copy your Web Parts over; and review them to see if they still work.

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable books for Windows SharePoint Services.