SharePoint Designer 2010 error – List and Libraries “No items to display”

You have a SharePoint 2010 site that was migrated by the database upgrade method from MOSS 2007. The site has several lists and libraries. You open the site in SharePoint Designer 2010, click on List and Libraries in the left navigation, and instead of seeing all of your list and libraries, you get a message saying “No items to display”. When opening the Lists and Libraries of sites created in SharePoint 2010 you do not receive this message.


Most answers that I found online to this problem indicated a hotfix was needed for the server. This may be true if you are getting the “No items to display” message on all of your sites, regardless of whether they were upgraded or created in SharePoint 2010. My servers already had the hotfix and I was only getting the message on one upgraded site. Other site’s Lists and Libraries opened fine in SharePoint Designer 2010.


I consulted my friend Woody Windischman (co-author of Beginning SharePoint Designer 2010) and he suggested checking the Site Collection Administrators on the upgraded site collection since it was upgraded from MOSS 2007. I checked and the Site Collection Admins were different than the empty top level site and other sites that I was not having problems with. I changed the Site Collection Admin to the SP2010 accounts and still got the error when trying to access Lists and Libraries in SPD2010.


Woody also suggested that the original root collection of the site might by blocked by the default one in the new web application, so I tried deleting and recreating the top level root site – everything started working!


Thanks for all your help Woody! Woody has a lot of great info on his SharePoint blog, The Sanity Point. You can also follow him on Twitter, @woodywindy, and on FaceBook, for lots of helpful SharePoint info.



8 Responses

  1. What do you mean by “deleting and recreating the tope level root site”? Other sites within this site collection, created after migration, dont have this problem with the missing List and Libraries in designer.

    • Microsoft recommends leaving the root site collection empty. This would be the site located at Your site collections with data would be at or If you have no data in the top level, you can delete it and recreate it without effecting the other site collections. Doing this resolved the problem I was having with the upgraded lists and libraries.

      I was not having this issue with lists andl libraries created in SharePoint 2010. It was only happneing in one the site collections in one web application that was upgraded via the database attach method. All lists and libraries created in SharePoint 2010 were working as expected.

  2. how do you delete and recreate site when it is full of data?

  3. Microsoft recommends leaving the root site collection empty. This would be the site located at Your site collections with data would be at or If you have no data in the top level, you can delete it and recreate it without effecting the other site collections.

    The issue I was having was only on sites in a web app that had been upgraded by the database attach method. When trying to access in SharePoint Designer I got an error saying “No items to display” even though the upgraded site had items in the list and libraries.

    The site collection admins were different in the upgraded sites than in the top level site created for the 2010 web app. I changed the site collection admins of the top level site but still got the error. Woody Windischman suggested that the top level site that was upgraded might be blocked by the default one created for the 2010 web app. The upgraded top level site should have overwritten the default top level site.SInce there was not content in the site ( I was able to delete and recreate it. After that the site collection admins were the same as the migrated sites and the lists and libraries were available in SharePoint Designer.

  4. Hi, In my case it wasn’t a solution. My site root was full of data and I couldn’t delete it. So, I made a backup of the site collection before try anything. After a lot of time and different problems I figured out that some lists were causing the missreading. I tried one more time to get the lists in SharePoint Designer 2010 just to cause some entries in the log. After that I opened the log file and looked for something like: “Failed to determine the setup path of the list schema for feature {GUID}, list template XXX.”. With the GUID I looked for a match here.
    With the feature name I use this blog:
    With the feature re-installed I went to SPD and it worked like a charm.

    I hope it helps someone else.

    • Yes Mr. Arley…thanks for your comments. I had a similar problem due to a list that was dependent on a feature that was uninstalled. I was able to follow your steps to identify which list this was and delete the list (it was a vendor created list which I didn’t need)

  5. Thanks !!!

  6. Hi

    i was have the same problem and the solution is there is list is broken but unfortunately you can detect this list so following the steps

    1- backup your site with power shell or stsadm command

    2- try to delete list by list and after delete one test the SPD it will find the that broken

    3- restore the site and delete just the broken list

    4- don’t be afraid when you delete lists take your backup first and the restore is very easy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: