"Object reference not set to an instance of an object." when running stsadm backup or enumsites

I ran across this strange error while trying to backup a site collection

I noticed that while running automated SharePoint backups that a certain site collection was not being backed up.  This was a site collection one level down from the root site collection.  For example, if the root site was http://mySharePoint, this was a sub-site collection (sub-SC): http://mySharePoint/sites/subSiteCollection (this was running MOSS 2007 Enterprise).

 

I logged on to the machine and ran the script in a command prompt and it worked fine, it just skipped over the sub-SC.  This got me thinking as to why this was happening, as the script is supposed to enumerate down through all site collections.  First I tried to run a manual backup by running:

 

stsadm -o backup -url http://mySharePoint/sites/subSiteCollection -filename \\backups\subSC.bak

 

And it gave me the error:

 

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

 

I then tried to enumerate through the sites:

 

stsadm -o enumsites -url http://mySharePoint

 

And all of the other sub site collections showed up fine, but I got this error:

 

<Sites Count="2">

  <Site Url="http://mySharePoint" Owner="DOMAIN\naspinski" SecondaryOwner="DOMAIN\stan" ContentDatabase="WSS_Content_Root" StorageUsedMB="500" StorageWarningMB="0" StorageMaxMB="0" />

  <Site Error="Object reference not set to an instance of an object." />

 

As you can see, the first site shows up, but it is followed by the vague error message where the second site report should be.  This is an incredibly non-descript SharePoint error that leaves you scratching your head.  I knew the site collection was there; I could navigate to it, I could find it in my Central Administration and everything worked fine.  I was able to back up other site collections and everything, just not this one.

 

Turns out after scouring the internet and checking every setting I could find without any help at all, I fell back on one of my List of 5 Simple SharePoint 2007 Fixes (which I should have done first) and number two on the list fixed it.  I ran SharePoint Technologies and Configuration Wizard and magically the problem had stopped.  Once again, not sure exactly why SharePoint did what it did, but this seemed to work out.

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