When restoring SharePoint 2010 databases or sites I have recently come across the following problem:

Access Denied to all Sites for all users, including Site Collection Admins.

This appears similar to old 2007 restore issues which were fixed using the STSADM MigrateUser command, however in this case it seems that the STSADM (or PowerShell move-spuser) commands doesn’t fix the issue. And I have definitely made certain to change the Site Collection admin on the restored site collections using Central Admin.

A little investigation revealed that the reason is the use of Claims (or Forms) Authentication in either the source or destination web application, so in my case where my Test environment used Claims (both NTLM and LDAP) but my Prod was only going to use NTLM authentication the restored sites were inaccessible (including PWA!).

Fortunately in my case I found a workaround; setup my new Web App to use Claims, however only enable NTLM authentication, effectively resulting in a pure NTLM setup. However that won’t always work, in fact I have another case where the source data (from an old 2007 portal) is using NTLM and I want to migrate it to 2010 using Claims, in that case another solution will be required.

I plan to investigate further using the "move-spuser" powershell command as that seems to be the solution, it just seems that something is preventing it from migrating the users as expected. I’ll update this blog with my results.

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