Cloning a SharePoint Farm leads to “Access Denied”

Had an interesting problem yesterday with a SharePoint Farm.  A customer of ours had cloned their prodution SharePoint farm using VMWare and then renamed the servers to avoid a naming clash.  Quite correctly they had removed their WFE from the farm and were trying to reconnect the WFE back onto the renamed Database Server.  They found several issues with this and called us in to help resolve the problem.
So the scenario was: Same Domain as original Farm, Windows 2003 R2 SP2 OS, SQL Server 2005 SP3, MOSS 2007 Standard Cal SP2.
I tried to use the SharePoint Product and Technologies Wizard and then psconfig to try to reconnect the WFE to the Database Server usign the new name of the DB Server and the original Farm Account.  What ever I used I seem to get thrown out at Step 2 with "Access Denied". I tried removing and recreating the Farm Account in SQL, and giving the account universe-wide permissions didn’t help either (yes, I reset them back to Best Practice minimum’s afterwards!).  So a quick request to some MVPs and Shane Young of SharePoint911 suggested that I take a look in the dbo.Objects table of the SharePoint_Config database as in there woudl be an entry which pointed to the original servername of the database server.
So after disabling the update trigger, changing the name to the current database server name and re-enabling the trigger, voila!  Problem solved.  Poor old Shane had to battle with this one for a week, with his help, managed to get the whole job done in half a day.
BTW, this fix is NOT supported by Microsoft as you are editing data directly in the SharePoint Database.  In our case this is not a worry as the system was purely a testing environment, if you’re thinking of doing this in a production environment, consider the implications.
Dave Mc

About davemcmahon81
Software Developer & Architect, User Group Leader, Speaker, Writer, Blogger, Occasional Guitarist, Man-made Global Warming Sceptic, Climate Change Believer, General Optimist but most of all proud Husband and Dad ...

3 Responses to Cloning a SharePoint Farm leads to “Access Denied”

  1. Sri says:


    I have multiple SharePoint Server because of the Load Balancer, I want to clone to one single development server from VMware and point to the new SQL Server. Any guidance most welcome.

    Thank you


    • I’d suggest you consider using SQL Server Aliasing on the cloned servers. You don’t need to install any SQL Server components to do this. Use cliconfg.exe from the Start->Run … menu. If that isn’t sufficient, then you can also use local hosts DNS entries as well.

      Dave Mc

  2. Sri says:

    Thank you


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