Using a Site Template (.stp) from another server results in a File Not Found error

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Blog

If you find yourself facing a “File Not Found” error after creating a new web from a custom .stp template file, you might be having master page errors.

You created and customized a publishing web on Server1. After customization completed, you created a .stp template file through Site Actions/Site Settings/Save Site as Template. After uploading the .stp file to Server2’s Site Template Gallery, you create a new site from the site directory, selecting the custom .stp template, but upon completion of site creation, you receive only a “Page Not Found” error such as this:


The problem could be that the master page did not map properly. To check and correct the problem, you have to “cheat” by directing your browser to the new site’s master page settings page. That is done by replacing “default.aspx” in the current URL with “_Layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx” e.g. http://site/web/default.aspxbecomes http://site/web/_Layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx.
After the page loads, you should see two error messages noting problems with both the site and system master pages.

*NOTE: If you do not see the same error, you do NOT have the same problem and resetting your master page will probably not solve your problem.


In the Site Master Page section, ensure that the “Specify as master page to be used by this site and all sites that inherit from it” radio button option is selected. In the drop down below it, ensure that the “default.master” is selected.

Scroll down to the System Master Page section.


Ensure that the “Select a system master page for this site and it’s subsites to inherit” option is selected and once again set the dropdown below to “default.master”.

Scroll down to locate the “OK” button and click it to reset the site master pages and fix the site.



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Cornelius J. van Dyk

Born and raised in South Africa during the 70's I got my start in computers when a game on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum crashed, revealing it's BASIC source code. The ZX had a whopping 48K of memory which was considered to be a lot in the Commodore Vic20 era, but more importantly, it had BASIC built into the soft touch keyboard. Teaching myself to program, I coded my first commercial program at age 15.

After graduating high school at 17, I joined the South African Air Force, graduating the Academy and becoming a Pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant by age 20. After serving my country for six years, I made my way back into computer software.

Continuing my education, I graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Computer Training Institute before joining First National Bank where my work won the Smithsonian Award for Technological Innovation in the field of Banking and Insurance. Soon I met Will Coleman from Amdahl SA, who introduced me to a little known programming language named Huron/ObjectStar. As fate would have it, this unknown language and Y2K brought me to the USA in 1998.

I got involved with SharePoint after playing around with the Beta for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Leaving my career at Rexnord to become a consultant in 2004, I was first awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for SharePoint in 2005, becoming only the 9th MVP for WSS at the time. I fulfilled a life long dream by pledging allegiance to the Flag as a US citizen in 2006. I met the love of my life and became a private consultant in 2008. I was honored to receive my ninth MVP award for SharePoint Server in 2013.

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