Error during SharePoint 2010 Upgrade “Minimal master page failed to provision: could not find master page gallery”

During a recent SharePoint upgrade using the database attach method, I saw the following recorded in the upgrade error log:

[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: SPSite Url=http://intranet.domain.com
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [WARNING] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Minimal master page failed to provision: could not find master page gallery.
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: SPSite Url=http://intranet.domain.com
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [WARNING] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: V4 master page failed to provision: could not find master page gallery.
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: SPSite Url=http://intranet.domain.com

Further information was provided in the upgrade log that accompanies the error log:

[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Setting UIVersion metadata on existing default master page
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Provisioning minimal master page in site: Site1
Site Url: http://intranet.domain.com/Site1
[Powershell] [PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [WARNING] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Minimal master page failed to provision: could not find master page gallery.
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Provisioning V4 master page in site: Site1
Site Url: http://intranet.domain.com/Site1
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [WARNING] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: V4 master page failed to provision: could not find master page gallery.
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [INFO] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Setting UIVersion metadata on existing default master page
[PerWebUpgradeAction (4.0.10.0)] [WARNING] [13/04/2011 15:55:48]: Could not find master page gallery. Metadata on default.master not set.

The farm in question was originally a SharePoint 2003 farm that had been in-place upgraded to SharePoint 2007. The site recorded in the upgrade error log had been created in SharePoint 2003, but had not had its template selected at the time of original creation, allowing the first site user to pick the template to use. Critically however, this had never been done.

Once the database upgrade had been completed, navigating to the site gave me the expected screen to allow me to select the site template to use. Picking a template and clicking OK however produced a ‘file not found’ error.

The moral of the story seems to be ensure that any sites created without selecting a site template should either be completed, or deleted before the upgrade process starts. Note that you can still delete a site that has been upgraded to 2010 in the above state using PowerShell. Detection of sites such as these in SharePoint 2007 is straightforward using stsadm –o enumallwebs – any site that doesn’t have a template shown against it is in this state.

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