Today I had a lengthy conversation with Microsoft Support regarding a number of failures we have been experiencing while deleting and recreation the Root Site Collection for a particular SharePoint Online Tenancy.
I was using the following PowerShell commandlets to delete a site collection:
After running the commands (and checking that the root site collection was no longer in the Recycle Bin) I would attempt to create a new root site collection, but I would intermittently see the following error message:
The site collection already exists. Please enter a different address.
If I repeat the creation action a number of time then it usual resolved itself (e.g. within 15 minutes) and new a site collection would be created. However if process continues to fail for more than an hour then I’ve found through experience it generally would not resolve itself without help from Microsoft Support.
Apparently Microsoft Support resolves the issue by deleting the Root Site Collection from the “Farm Recycle Bin”, another level up (and out of sight of Tenant Admins)…
So what should I do?
Will I was advised (but not as Microsoft policy) to avoid using the specific PowerShell commandlets to deleting/removing a Root Site Collection, but to use the UI (User Interface) instead.
Note: Sub-Site Collections are excluded from this guidance, apparenlty the PowerShell commandlets are still a good option.
These are the steps when using the UI:
1. Select the Root Site Collection and click Delete
2. Select the “I understand that nobody can access SharePoint until I create a new site collection at http://YourTenant.sharepoint.com” and click Delete
3. Navigate to the Recycle Bin
4. And wait for the processing icon to the right of the URL to disappear
5. Navigate back the Site Collection page and select new Private Site Collection
6. Enter the details for your new Root Site Collection and click OK
7. Review the error messages and then select “Permanently delete the site collection from the recycle bin and continue.” And then click OK
8. A message may appear “Your site collection is being created. It can tale 15 minutes or longer to complete this task…”
9. And wait for the processing icon to the right of the URL to disappear
10. The New Root Site Collection has been created.
So what is happening behind the scenes?
Well unfortunate our conversation was a little broken up by a poor quality phone line but from what I can gather there the UI seems to be able to gather more information from the Server(s) then the PowerShell commandlets…