How to Upgrade from SharePoint 2003 . . . all the way to SharePoint 2010!

As most SharePoint Admins are already aware, Microsoft recently released previews of SharePoint 2013.

Well, believe it or not, there are still a large number of SharePoint 2.0 users out there. Yes, that is 2.0… as in 2003… as in 9 years old. At this point, those users are contemplating one of two things: start from scratch on 2010, or actually take the time to upgrade their current 2003 environment(s) to 2010 (or even 2013).

Needless to say, the upgrade path from 2003 to 2010 can be a bit overwhelming. Just like all previous major releases of the SharePoint product, there is no way to upgrade directly from 2003 to 2010; you must first upgrade from 2003 to the 2007 version. I know it sounds complicated, but before you decide to scrap everything and start from scratch, let’s take a closer look at what’s involved for the upgrade process. Speaking from experience, making the upgrade from 2003 to SharePoint 2010 isn’t really as tough as it sounds.

The most difficult part of the upgrade is having the required hardware and software, as well as space available to backup the environment in case any issues arise during the upgrade. *It may seem obvious to some our readers, but it’s worth noting that upgrading to SharePoint 2010 will take an entire new server utilizing 64-bit hardware.

Let’s start the process:

*This process assumes the current SharePoint 2003 2.0 environment is running on Windows Server 2003 SP2 32-bit.

1. The first thing you want to do is check the version number of your current 2.0 environment.

  • To do this, browse to Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs. Find Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. Single click to highlight the program. Select Click here for support information. This will display the version number as shown below.

Screenshot with option "Click here for support information" highlighted

*This chart indicated what each version is:

11.0.5608.0 RTM
11.0.6361.0 SP1
11.0.7969.0 SP2

  • If your current environment is not patched with Service Pack 2, you will need to apply the update before continuing. Now would be a good time to BACKUP your environment, prior to installing this patch. To download SP2, please click here.

2. Now that the environment is now Service Pack 2, and functioning properly, let’s take another BACKUP of the environment. (If you did not need to upgrade to SP2, please BACKUP now).

3. Ok, we now have a functioning site with a fresh backup. It is now time to install SharePoint 2007 SP2 (WSS or MOSS) over the top of SharePoint 2003.

  • Run Setup.exe
  • Accept the Microsoft Software License Terms
  • On the Upgrade Earlier Versions page, this option is up to the customer or client. For this example, I will choose Yes, perform an automated in-place upgrade.

SharePoint screenshot: Upgrade from earlier versions

  • Under the Server Type tab, choose Web Front End.

SharePoint screenshot: choosing Server Type - Web Front End

  • Under the Data Location, choose the appropriate path, based on your needs.
  • Click Install Now.
  • When the installation is complete UNCHECK Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard. We will run that in a later step.

4. Now that the SharePoint 2007 bits have been installed, it’s time to run the Pre Upgrade Scans.

  • To run the prescan.exe, open up a Command Prompt and point to the following location:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN.
  • Run the following command from that location:
    prescan /c preupgradescanconfig.xml /all
  • This scan will return any errors that could cause potential problems during the upgrade process to SharePoint 2007. If the scan does report errors, it will list the log file which will explain the error in more detail. Attempt to repair all errors prior to upgrading.

5. Now it’s time to perform the upgrade to SharePoint 2007 SP2.

  • Browse to Start > Administrative Tools > SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard.
  • On the Welcome to SharePoint Products and Technologies screen. Click Next. You will be greeted with a warning that lets you know services will be stopped during the process. Click Yes:

SharePoint Configuration Wizard alert prompt

  • On the following screen, select Yes, I want to connect to an existing farm.
  • Specify the appropriate database settings. Click Next:

SharePoint screenshot: "Specify Configuration Database Settings"

  • Configure the SharePoint Central Administration Web Application. Click Next.

Screenshot: "Configure SharePoint Central Administration Web Application"

  • Verify settings on the next page. Click Next to start the upgrade process.
  • When the upgrade is complete. Click Finish. This will open the SharePoint 2007 Central Administration.

6. At this time, you need to verify the site functionality on the new version. If all is well, now is a great time for another BACKUP of the environment.

7. Now that we have everything functioning on SharePoint 2007 SP2, let’s prepare for the upgrade of SharePoint 2010.

  • Open a command prompt and point to the following location:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN.
  • Run the Pre Upgrade Check via the following command:
    Stsadm -o preupgradecheck
  • When the Pre Upgrade Check is complete, it may find errors that could cause potential problems when upgrading to SharePoint 2010.
  • Any errors will need to be resolved before continuing.

8. SharePoint 2007 is now ready to be upgraded to SharePoint 2010. Since we will now be going from 32-bit hardware to 64-hardware, we’ve always found it more successful to perform a stsadm backup of the site, move it to the new 64-bit environment (currently running SharePoint 2007) and perform an stsadm restore on the new server.

  • On the source server, browse to a command prompt and point to the following location:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN.
  • Run the following command to backup the site:
    Stsadm -o backup -url <URL Name>-Filename <file name>

9. Move the backup file to the new server.

*Again, this is assuming the new server is currently running Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008, and SharePoint 2007 (with a web application to restore to).

10. Once the file is moved to a location that is accessible from the new server, we perform a stsadm restore.

  • On the source server, browse to a command prompt and point to the following location:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN.
  • Run the following command to back up the site:
    Stsadm -o restore -url <URL Name> -filename <file name> -overwrite

*The previous two steps have moved the site from a 32-bit environment to a 64-bit environment (a requirement of SharePoint 2010).

11. Test the site functionality on the new server. If all is well, take another BACKUP.

12. Now, the moment we have all be waiting for – Installing SharePoint 2010. Since we have a successful backup and/or snapshot, we will perform an in-place upgrade.

  • Run the SharePoint 2010 setup.
  • Select the appropriate upgrade method as we did when installing 2007.
  • Select Server Farm and Complete installation types.
  • Select all other defaults.
  • Unlike the 2007 install, DO run the Configuration Wizard after installation.

i. The Configuration Wizard will start the upgrade process to SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint Configuration Wizard screenshot: upgrade SharePoint products

ii. The upgrade process can be tracked by browsing to Central Administration > Upgrade and Migration > Check Upgrade Status

SharePoint 2010 Central Administration screenshot: upgrade status successful

iii. When the upgrade status show Successful, you are finished! Congratulations!

As you can see, the process is very intuitive, but many users assume it takes much more work. And upgrading now to SharePoint 2010 will more than prepare you for the eventual move to 2013.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, or would like to upgrade to SharePoint 2010, please contact today.

2012-08-21T10:55:27+00:00 August 21st, 2012|


  1. Dimitar November 27, 2012 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you ! It works 🙂

  2. Tim January 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    This is USELESS! Give *EXAMPLES* please! People keep showing this stsadm syntax with “-url” – WHICH url? Give an example!!!

  3. Nik July 9, 2013 at 3:37 am - Reply

    I am trying to move data from SharePoint 2010 into SharePoint 2003 does anyone know a simple way of doing it. I know it seems crazy but my customer wants to do it… So please can anyone help….

  4. […] our last post, hosting engineer Joe Beyer offered tips on How to Upgrade from SharePoint 2003 . . . all the way to SharePoint 2010. But where does the roadmap extend past the 2010 version? In this post, we’ll take a closer […]

  5. aby October 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    What would be the best approach to upgrade 10,000 site sites from SP 2003 to SP 2013.

  6. Des Finkenzeller October 26, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

    You can migrate from SP2003 to 2007/2010/2013 in a single step using a 3rd party tool like Metalogix Content Matrix or something from AvePoint. It’s not always straightforward, but it can save time.

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