Project Server 2007: Moving a copy of Production to Test – Part 1

***Update - for a detailed step by step document for moving from one domain to another take a look at *** 

This is a request I have had a few times, most recently from Dan, and I have decided to do this in two parts.  The first here, is a high level view, and I will follow this, hopefully within a week or so, with a more detailed description of the steps involved.  Ever system has its own idiosyncrasies and customizations so no guarantee that these steps will get you exactly where you need to be, but it should get you pretty close.

I will present a couple of options, the first based on the SharePoint full farm backup and restore – then the second based on taking the 4 project databases and the content database containing the project workspaces and provisioning a new site against the project databases and linking to the sites in the content database.

The key to both is having an image (Hyper-V would be ideal) ready to accept the restore method which works best for you, then always return to this image when you want the next transfer of production to test.  Obviously the image needs to be kept up to date with patches etc. to at least match the production system.

Full Farm Backup and Restore

This really offers the best option to get almost all of your farm across in a way that matches your production system.  Any basic customizations will come across with the backup – such as tailored menus, change of theme etc.  Problems will be encountered if you use host headers.  In this case you receiving image should just have Project Server installed and the SharePoint configuration wizard completed to the point that Central Administration is available – from here you just do you restore, and substitute the URLs and database server names for your test system.  This assumes the same user names will be accessible from your test environment – if not see Part 2 for some workarounds we use when recovering customers’ systems for testing.

I have never seen partial farm restores work for me – so when you next want a snapshot of production do the whole thing again – starting with a saved image ready with Central Administration ready to go!

Database Copying and Re-Provisioning

If you can live without the project workspace functionality (Issues, risks, documents and deliverables) then this is really easy.  Just restore your 4 project databases to the test system then provision a new site and point the provision job at the 4 databases you have restored.  The user you name will get created, so no issue with different domains – then with this user you can update any others you want to test with.

If you do need workspaces then this fits into the “I wouldn’t start from here” type of directions.  The default location of workspaces will mean they are created in the same content database as the PWA site itself.  So if you copy the content db from production to test you have all workspaces readily available – but of course PWA will not work as the site is not plumbed into all the right places until you provision a site.  The action of provisioning the site needs /PWA to be removed first – so goodbye to all the workspaces if they happen to be under /PWA (which by default we lead you into this bad situation).  Options here are to provision the site somewhere else – but then it doesn’t match production so isn’t a good test platform.  So better to start from the right place – on the production server have the workspaces in a different content DB from the site itself – then both the workspaces and the /PWA are independent and can be brought together in test without breaking anything. 

With this type of restore and re-provision you will not maintain any WSS customizations on themes etc. but Project customizations will be kept (menu changes etc.)


Some things don’t come across with either of these approaches and will have to be handled manually.  A couple of examples are server side events, which will need to be re-installed in the test environment, and  any custom web parts will also need to be re-installed.

I will get into more detail with Part 2 – but hopefully this has given you some ideas of the best approach – and both are approaches we do on a daily basis for those cases where we need to reproduce customer’s problems with the customer’s actual databases – either full farm or limited set of databases.

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Comments (9)

  1. Gaurav says:


    I do have all the instructions in my blog with Screen shots.



  2. Excellent – thanks for your contribution Gaurav.

  3. Rohit Rajdev says:


    The instructions you have on your blog with screen shots would not work if one was migrating project server from one machine to another. It would work if it was on the same machine. I believe Brian has the right approach here when it comes to migrating the project data from one machine to another.

    Just my 2 cents.


  4. nrazaq says:

    Moving Project server to other machine is done, but i want to move it to new Domain. like we are change our windows doamin from domain A to Domain B, but user names will remain same, what i need to do in project server, after migration to new domain, old data is not visiable to all users.

    Naveed Razaq

  5. Hi Naveed,

    If you go into each user and update their domain credentials (DomainAUser1 to DomainBUser1) then this should re-sync their permissions on WSS sites.

    Best regards,


  6. Ali says:


    The My Tasks link displays a blank page. We experience this issue immediatly after installing SP2 for MS Office Servers 2007.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.



  7. Izzy says:

    I moved the 4 Project Server Databases along with the ContentDB that holds the PWA provision and the workspaces. I restored those databases over to test network and relinked the workspaces. Everything was fine until I checked and saw that the PWA site was missing Document libraries and other libraries and lists. How can I get those back.

  8. Alon says:

    Hi Brian

    Every 6 month my company needs to clone Prod into test environment

    Every works fine only one problem raise every time I do the clone procedure.

    When I’m provisioning the site after restoring the 4 database

    I’m getting error that i can’t use the same name of the db name

    ‘ProjectServer_Published’ because it is being used

    (actually it’s not but the server think it is while iv already deleted

    the PWA site as  part of the procedure)

    To resolve that I’m renaming it to ProjectServer_Published1..2..3…4

    and so on every 6 month I’m jumping one digit

    Is there a way to disable this behavior ???

    Because of this behavior in need to change all of my reports

    To use the new name of the dbs's and I have allot of reports



  9. Hi Alan, how are you deleting the old PWA instance? If you are using just the Manage Service Applications and the Project Server service application then this should be all you need to do (Sorry, just realised you are talking 2007 – so just the Manage PWA part of the Shared Service Provider – but behind the scenes it is the same in 2007 and 2010).  If however you are also doing some other deletions yourself (Site Collection etc.) then you could be breaking the clean up that will be happening asynchronously and you are getting left with orphaned records in the configuration database.  Or perhaps you are just trying too quickly after you delete the old instance and clean up hasn't completed.  If you aren't doing anything abnormal then let me know and I'll test this out too – but I am frequently re-provisioning instances as part of regular support tsting so I think I would have seen this issue.

    Best regards,


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