Challenges in Archiving SharePoint documents to your file system

White Paper Published By : Vyapin Software Systems Published On: 2014


SharePoint is fast becoming the all-in-one repository for all organizational content, classified and organized in a multitude of ways for users to access them.This results in an automatic need to export / archive SharePoint content for several reasons, some of them being:
  • Backup or export sites, lists, and document libraries in order to reduce data losses that might occur from hardware failures, power outages, or other problems such as temporary breakdown of access to SharePoint servers.
  • Export lists & document libraries for offline collaboration. Offline collaboration is a common need in large organizations sharing content externally with partners, suppliers, consultants etc.
  • Search, retrieval and export of documents. Documents in SharePoint could run into several hundreds of thousands and you need to be able to search on keywords within a document (and not just based on metadata) to extract documents related to your search and then export them selectively for your internal needs.
  • Archive list contents to comply with retention policies. Old unwanted content needs to be archived in order to conserve valuable SharePoint server resources.
  • Archive old document versions & their metadata for regulatory compliance. Policies and regulations require content to be archived for compliance and legal needs.
  • Backup SharePoint contents regularly for disaster recovery & restore procedures. While there are systems and tools to perform full back up SharePoint servers, individual site / content owners will always have a need to take local backups of their content.
  • Migration of documents and metadata to other DMS / ECM applications. External consumption of SharePoint content is inevitable in almost all organizations due to applications and tools from multiple vendors needing access to SharePoint content.
  • Perform in-depth analysis of metadata in MS-Excel. Export of metadata to study, analyze and make changes to how content is classified and organized, so that search, retrieval and consumption of content become easier.


There are several challenges that you will need to address while exporting content from SharePoint for any of the above mentioned reasons:
  • Archive list items / documents / pictures based on user-defined data filters (constructed based on SharePoint columns), especially contents that are no longer required or actively accessed by users. SharePoint content being voluminous and structured, it is important that you extract only the desired content based on various filter criteria (e.g., modified date, created by, stale libraries / lists etc.)
  • Synchronize contents in SharePoint libraries and file servers. You must be able to export SharePoint contents that have recently changed or have been modified, since the previous export / archive session, in order to avoid exporting full contents over and over again.
  • Export / archive content along with metadata for ready consumption by third-party applications. You need a solution that allows you to export folders / documents along with their associated metadata from SharePoint document libraries. The exported metadata and the content must be easy to manage after export, preferably in human readable file format / structure. In short, the exported content and metadata must be ready for automation using other tools / applications without the need for manual intervention, such as modifying or cleansing the metadata and/or the content.
  • Archive contents from multiple SharePoint libraries / lists to file server / network shares / local computer and maintain folder hierarchy along with the original version stack. You need to export to various types of file systems as per the original hierarchy and document classification so that it mimics the original SharePoint content as much as possible. Maintain source folder structure and version history when exporting data from the SharePoint list / document library. This is especially important if you need to manage older versions for archival purposes.
  • Propagate or retain original Created Date & Last Modified Date in SharePoint to the Windows File System (NTFS) fields for each folder / document. Retaining the exported content’s original dates of creation and last modification can help maintain file integrity, as file systems tend to create documents with the current file system date and time.
  • Backup SharePoint contents in file shares or file servers and migrate contents back to new SharePoint libraries / lists in a new server after de-duplication and metadata cleansing. Duplicate documents are likely to be uploaded to SharePoint over time, despite clean processes being in place. It is an administrative nightmare for content owners to maintain the document repositories up-to-date with the required contents in the respective places.
Vyapin’s SharePoint content archive & export solution SPListX addresses all the above challenges by providing a powerful, metadata-centric, condition-based export of SharePoint documents and other list items. SPListX when used in combination with Dockit (our content migration solution from file shares to SharePoint) can prove useful to site and content owners to manage their document repositories in SharePoint effectively & efficiently.

About Vyapin

Vyapin develops Management, Migration, Reporting, Auditing, Configuration, Administration & Reporting solutions for Microsoft products. Our solutions help reduce man-hours spent on time-consuming and resource-heavy activities that burden IT administrators and managers.Our products are designed and built to:
  • Deliver substantial savings in the time and cost incurred on various projects.
  • Improve IT infrastructure and systems utilization in companies big or small.
  • Provide better value for money and a substantial return on investment.
  • 2A, "K. G. Sunshine", No. 48, 12th Avenue

  • Ashok Nagar, Chennai - 600083, India


Vyapin makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the entire content of this document. Vyapin reserves the right to make changes to the specifications and product descriptions at any time without notice. Vyapin does not make any commitment to update the information contained in this document.Vyapin assumes no liability whatsoever and disclaims any express, implied or statutory warranty relating to its products including, but not limited to, the implied warranty of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. Under no circumstances shall Vyapin be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, punitive, special or incidental damages (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption or loss of information) arising out of the use or inability to use this document, even if Vyapin has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

The information in this document is provided in connection with Vyapin’s products. This document contains proprietary information protected by copyright. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording for any purpose without the written permission of Vyapin Software Systems (P) Limited.

Copyright © Vyapin Software Systems (P) Ltd. All rights reserved