„The site collection could not be restored”

Hi there,

Recently while performing standard site collection backup from production environment and restoring it onto test environment (MOSS 2007), we ran across a following problem. The stsadm restore command failed after several minutes with the message:

„The site collection could not be restored. Please make sure the content databases are available and have sufficient free space”

Ok, so the first suspect has to be disk space. According to the MS knowledgebase article, one should ensure that the DB has not any maximum size set and that the drive where WSS works has enough space. After freeing up some additional space both on WSS drive as well as on the DB drive, the amount of free space in each location was almost 3 times bigger than the size of the backup file we wanted to restore. But the error message appeared again.

Further attempts based on some other blog posts (like restarting the sharepoint timer service or doing an iisreset) did not work in our case. Comparing the exact versions of WSS and system patches of both environments brought the same results on both sides, so incompatibility was not the issue.

What actually did work in the end was removing content database and adding a new one in Central Administration:

1. Application Management > Content databases > click the existing one, then check the option „remove content database” and confirm.
2. Add a new content database > settings can stay as they were with the old one, just choose different name from the previous one.
3. Run once again stsadm -o restore…. operation successful!

Interestingly, we didn’t physically delete the old DB’s data files until the restore succeeded. Thus, while executing the command, the system had even less space than before, but made it anyway.

Hope this helps,