Error message “Unable to display this web part” when restoring a backup via SharePoint Designer

Restore (SPD) operations from a backup file made after you converted a webpart to a XSLT dataview using SharePoint Designer, didn’t update the GUID Lists and shows a error message “Unable to display this web part” when you browse the restored Web page. This problem will also happen with STP (site template) files.

In Web browser you get the below error Message:

“Unable to display this Web Part”

To troubleshoot the problem, open this Web page in a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible HTML editor such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer. If the problem persists, contact your Web server administrator.

In SharePoint Designer, you get the following error message:

“The server returned a non-specific error when trying to get data from the data source. Check the format and content of your query and try again. If the problem persists, contact the server administrator.”

When you convert a webpart to an XSLT dataview with SharePoint Designer it creates a datasource which points to the list used. The reference to the datasource is given using the ‘GUID’ of the list. So, when we do a backup/restore (SPD) or export/import (stsadm), the new list created will have a GUID different from that of the original list. However, the restore does not update the original links with the new GUID. So, the View is unable to fetch data from the datasource and can’t show the list. The backup doesn’t retain all GUID’s from a Webpart converted to a XSLT Dataview. This issue is by design.

Workaround for this issue is avoid export/import of sites where this has happened, or change all the XSLT dataviews GUIDs references manually to all the affected objects before export/import. Use stsadm backup\restore for backup and restoration of site collection.

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