This article is intended to briefly highlight what’s new in the upgrade/migration process with SharePoint 2013. It’s not a fully detailed migration plan.

Supported migration method

In order to upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 you have to use the database attach method or 3rd party tools. The in-place upgrade method is not supported for a version upgrade (Ex: from 2010 to 2013). The in-place upgrade method is only supported for a B2B scenario (patch, service pack).

Quick steps to use the database attach method you need to:

  • Collect information and settings about your existing environment ( or can help)
  • Create and configure a SharePoint 2013 farm and configure the new Farm
  • Backup the content database and service application databases from the SharePoint 2010 farm
  • Restore the content database and service application databases on the SharePoint 2013 farm
  • Attach and upgrade the database to a SharePoint 2013 farm
  • Upgrade the site collections
  • Verify that the upgrade process worked as expected
  • Apply customizations

Note: Claims-based authentication is now the default option for SharePoint 2013 Preview, you must use Windows PowerShell to create a web application that uses Windows Classic authentication or change the authentication method before backup/restore you database.

Not all the service application databases can be upgraded with the database attach upgrade method. For the SharePoint 2013 Preview, you can use the database attach upgrade method to upgrade the following service application databases:

  • Business Data Connectivity
  • Managed Metadata
  • PerformancePoint
  • Secure Store
  • User Profile (Profile, Social, and Sync databases)
  • Search administration

Note: Because of the changes in the SharePoint 2013 architecture, you should disable the Web Analytics (The presence of SharePoint Server 2010 Web Analytics information in your content databases could cause an error during upgrade) and PowerPoint Broadcasts sites (PowerPoint Broadcast sites cannot be upgraded to SharePoint Server 2013 Preview) before backing up your content databases.

My site upgrade

“For My Sites, make sure that you upgrade the My Site Host site collection before you allow users to upgrade their individual My Sites. This makes sure that the server software and database changes are complete so that users can start the upgrade of their individual My Sites successfully. Upgrade of a single My Site occurs the first time that a user browses to his or her individual My Site.” Source:

Deferred site collection upgrade

When you attach a SharePoint 2010 content database to a SharePoint 2013 Web Application, the database is upgraded but the site collection is not automatically updated. The site will run in SharePoint 2010 mode.

A status bar will be shown on the top of the ribbon to notify the site collection owner/administration that the site in ready to be upgraded. The site collection administrator/owner can upgrade the site now or choose to be reminded later.

With the use of PowerShell, Farm administrators can prevent the site collection administrators to start the upgrade process. The Farm administrator would then be responsible for the upgrade process and have more control.

Farm administrators can also control whether new site collection can be created only in SharePoint 15 mode (2013 for the moment), or SharePoint 2010 mode.

In SharePoint 2013 you can run site collection in SharePoint 2010 mode or in SharePoint 2013 mode on the same server. You get a true preview because the 14 and 15 hives are both installed on the server.

Upgrade evaluation site collection

In SharePoint 2010 it was possible to use the « Visual upgrade » to see what the upgraded 2007 site would look like in SharePoint 2010. The concept is similar with the “Upgrade evaluation site collection” where a site collection administrator can request a preview of the migrated site collection. After the request, a timer job is scheduled to run once a day in order to create a complete copy the requested site collection and upgrade the copy to SharePoint 2013.

Since it is a true copy, changes made to the copy do not affect the original site. The “preview site” will have its own separate url. The “preview site” has a 30 days lifetime by default. After the 30 days the “preview site” is deleted.

“Farm administrators can choose to prevent users from creating upgrade evaluation sites by setting the SPSite.AllowSelfServiceUpgradeEvaluation property for a site collection.”


Site collection health checks

Like any upgrade/migration you should make sure that your customizations can be upgraded. SharePoint 2013 includes the “site collection health check” to help you make some verification to your site prior to upgrading.

The site collection health check includes a set of rules that could be run against a site collection to verify possible issues before the migration. This can be performed by the site collection administrator from the “site settings” or by the Farm administrator with PowerShell.

You should not rely only on this check before you upgrade your site. You should always test the upgrade process in a test environment before doing your real upgrade.

Site collection health check rules

Rule name


Customized Files
This rule checks for any files that were customized (or unghosted) in the site collection or subsites. When run in repair mode, it can reset the page to the default (reghost the file).
Missing Galleries
This rule checks for all default galleries and reports if any are missing from the site collection or subsites.
Missing Site Templates
This rule checks to make sure that the template the site is based on is available and reports if any elements are missing.
Unsupported Language Pack References
This rule checks to make sure that the language packs that are used by the site collection exist and are referenced correctly by the site collection.
Unsupported MUI References
This rule checks to make sure that the multi-user interface elements that are used by the site collection exist and are referenced correctly by the site collection.


Throttles for site collection upgrade

“To make sure that site collection upgrades do not cause an outage on your farm, there are throttles built in at the web application, database, and content level. This means that even if 100 site collection owners decide to upgrade their site collections at the same time, only some are run at the same time, and the rest are put into a queue to run later.” Source:

Upgrade from 2007 to 2013

At the moment of writing this article you can do a database attach only from 2010 to 2013. This means that if you have a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 farm you would need to upgrade your databases to 2010 then attach them to a SharePoint 2013 server.

Links on upgrade to SharePoint 2013

Find below a list of links for articles that were published on the Microsoft to help you to go further in you preparation to upgrade to SharePoint 2013.

Get started with upgrades to SharePoint 2013 Preview

What’s new in SharePoint 2013 upgrade

Plan for upgrade to SharePoint 2013 Preview

Attach databases and upgrade to SharePoint 2013 Preview

Services upgrade overview for SharePoint Server 2013 Preview

Plan for site collection upgrades in SharePoint 2013 Preview

Manage site collection upgrades to SharePoint 2013 Preview

Upgrade a site collection to SharePoint 2013

Run site collection health checks in SharePoint 2013 Preview

Upgrade and migrate to SharePoint 2013 (IT pros)

Troubleshoot site collection upgrade issues in SharePoint 2013 Preview