Protecting and recovering data stored in InfoPath form templates (Office Forms Server)


Updated: May 21, 2009

Applies To: Office Forms Server 2007


Topic Last Modified: 2009-05-11

In this article:

This topic provides recommendations for protecting and recovering data stored in InfoPath form templates.

A system-wide strategy for data protection and recovery should encompass the plans you have created for the sites and Web applications in your farm and address the specific scenarios you support.

Steps in the planning process include:

  • Analyze and summarize the data protection and recovery needs of the sites that support your business scenarios.

  • Select tools that enable you to simplify maintenance and administration.

  • Decide whether you will perform farm-level backups. Many administrators will perform farm-level backups, but your farm might be too large to back up in your maintenance window. Moreover, there might be portions of the farm that aren't important to your business. Therefore, you might plan to reassemble your farm from lower-level backups.

  • Determine whether your availability infrastructure provides enough protection to reduce the quantity of or the levels of backups. Some administrators choose to protect their data with only availability tools.

  • Content versioning   Recommended. Be sure to provide site owners with a clear understanding of the amount of space available relative to the number of versions, and work with site owners to ensure that versioned sites are actively monitored and managed.

    If you upgrade a form template, and then open a previously-created XML file in a library, the previous version can only be opened using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007, rather than a Web browser.
  • Database snapshot   Not recommended. Database snapshots are recommended only for environments in which you want to protect the look and feel of a site as versions change over time.

  • Recycle Bin   Recommended. Users can recover filled-in forms and user-deployed form templates from the recycle bin

  • Site capture   Recommended. Protecting collaboration sites against accidental deletion is strongly recommended.

Protecting and recovering data stored in Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 form templates requires planning protections beyond those provided by the backup and recovery functionality provided by Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007, because some Office InfoPath 2007 form template data is stored in the configuration database, and because your form templates can store and retrieve data from external sources.

The configuration database and the Central Administration content database contain computer-specific information. Therefore, you can restore them only to an environment that you configure to be precisely the same, including all software updates, server names, and numbers of servers.

In many circumstances, you might be able to restore the configuration database and the Central Administration content database. However, we recommend that you always assume that you will not be able to restore the configuration database and the Central Administration content database. For more information about protecting the configuration database, see Choose what to protect (Office Forms Server).

Office InfoPath Forms Services stores the following information in the configuration database:

  • Administrator-approved form templates, such as workflow templates.

  • Administrator-approved data connections.

    Form templates and data connections deployed by end-users are stored in the content database, and are backed up and recovered by using the built-in backup and recovery tools.
  • Farm-level settings for Office InfoPath Forms Services, such as exempt user agents.

We recommend that administrators save a copy of every administrator-deployed form template and data connection file for backup and recovery purposes. We also recommend that you document the settings for Office InfoPath Forms Services.

Use the following Stsadm command-line operations to determine which Office InfoPath Forms Services content is stored in the configuration database.


Object Stsadm operation

Form templates

stsadm -o enumformtemplates. For more information, see Enumformtemplates: Stsadm operation (Office SharePoint Server).

Data connections

stsadm -o enumdataconnectionfiles. For more information, see Enumdataconnectionfiles: Stsadm operation (Office SharePoint Server).

Exempt user agents

stsadm -o enumexemptuseragents. For more information, see Enumexemptuseragents: Stsadm operation (Office SharePoint Server).

Any time you retrieve data that is stored externally to Office Forms Server 2007, or save InfoPath forms data to an external database, be sure to include that data in your backup and recovery planning. The built-in backup and recovery tools provided with Office Forms Server 2007 will not protect the data.

If you have created form templates that store data in a database, include the database in your backup and recovery strategy.

To recover a server running Office InfoPath Forms Server, plan to perform the following process:

  1. Reinstall Office Forms Server 2007 on the front-end Web server.

  2. Restore the content database backups.

    If you need to restore your data to another URL, you must run the downloadable Server Upgrade and Migration Tool for Microsoft Office InfoPath. For more information, see InfoPath 2007 Tool: Server Upgrade and Migration Tool for Microsoft Office InfoPath (
  3. Re-apply the farm-level settings for Office InfoPath Forms Services. For more information, see Configure InfoPath Forms Services (Office Forms Server).

  4. Re-deploy your data connection files and your administrator-deployed form templates. For more information, see Deploy administrator-approved form templates (Office Forms Server).

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