Reusing an existing content directory

When you install Portal for ArcGIS, you're prompted to specify the portal's content directory. The content directory stores content installed with the portal as well as user-generated content. The content directory remains on the machine after you uninstall Portal for ArcGIS. If you want to reuse an existing content directory, the behavior varies if the content is in a local directory or on a shared network directory.


To reuse content directories from versions earlier than 10.2, contact Esri Professional Services.

Reusing existing content in a local directory

If you're reinstalling, the setup will detect the existing content directory and give you an option to reuse it. Select the directory in the setup by following the steps in Installing Portal for ArcGIS.

If you're upgrading an existing installation, you will not be presented with an option to specify the directory. The setup will automatically detect the existing content and upgrade it to the new version.

Reusing existing content in a shared network directory

If the existing content directory is in a shared network directory, you will not be able to specify it when reinstalling or upgrading. This is because the Portal for ArcGIS service is configured to run under Windows' native Local System account by default. The Local System account cannot access network locations.

Instead, you can configure your portal to use the existing content directory after the installation has completed. To do so, follow the steps below.


In 10.2, you were required to edit a properties file on disk to change the portal content directory. This is no longer required at 10.2.1 and later versions. The following instructions only apply to 10.2.1 and later versions. For help with these instructions at 10.2, see the 10.2 documentation.

  1. Install Portal for ArcGIS 10.2.2 or upgrade your previous version of Portal for ArcGIS to 10.2.2 by running the setup. If you're upgrading, there is no need for you to uninstall and reinstall.
  2. When the portal installation completes, the portal website will automatically open in a browser window. Clear the browser's cache (including cookies) and then close the browser.
  3. In Windows, go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools and open Services.
  4. In the services list, right-click Portal for ArcGIS and select Properties.
  5. On the General tab, click Stop.
  6. Click the Log On tab and select This account: from the log on as options.
  7. Enter the account name and password that you want to use. In most cases, this is the account you specified when changing the content directory in the previous installation. You can click Browse to specify the account that you want to use from the Select User dialog box. The account you select must have Full control permissions to the shared network directory where the existing content is stored. Once you have specified the account name and password, click Apply.
  8. Grant the account Full control permissions to the portal's installation directory. The default location is C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Portal.
  9. In the Windows Services console, click the General tab and start the Portal for ArcGIS service.
  10. Open the portal website and click Sign In. The URL to the website is formatted
  11. Specify the user name, password, email, and identity question and answer of the initial administrator account and click Create. Depending on the number of users and volume of content in your portal, it will take some time for the account to be created. Do not interrupt the account creation process.
  12. Open the ArcGIS Portal Directory and log in with an account that has administrator privileges. The URL is formatted
  13. Click System > Directories > content and verify that the correct file path to the content directory is listed.
  14. Click System > Indexer > Reindex.
  15. Click the Mode drop down list and select Full.
  16. Click Reindex. Depending on the number of users and volume of content in your portal, it will take some time for the reindex to complete. Do not interrupt the reindex process. You can monitor the indexing status by navigating to System > Indexer > Get Index Status and refreshing the page. When the Store and Index values are equal, reindexing is complete.

Your portal is now using the existing content in the shared network directory. If you haven't done so already, it is recommended that you install and configure the ArcGIS Web Adaptor with your portal. For full instructions, see the installation topic for IIS, Java (Windows), Java (Linux).