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Missing Attachments After Upgrading to VB 4.2.3 Fix
by BirdOPrey5
18 Apr 2016 01:12

2 Attachment(s)
NOTE: If you have downloaded vBulletin 4.2.3 files on or after July 5, 2016 you are not at risk of losing attachments as described below.


It has come to my attention that a bug fixed in VB 4.2.3 will in some cases cause the loss of some attachments on forums, particularly it seems older forums. The issue happens because the software deletes attachments it believes are no longer in use.

Anyone upgrading directly to 4.2.4 Beta 1 or above will not be affected.

Unfortunately many admins don't notice this right away, it might be weeks or months and by that time restoring to a pre-upgrade backup is not possible.

This fix requires a pre-upgrade backup of the database AND attachments (if saved in the file system) are available. Without the backup of both the database and attachments files there is no way to get back the deleted attachments.

There may well be better ways of doing this, I'm not claiming it is the best way, but I successfully used this to restore one site's attachments so I know it works.

Note: The database commands listed later assume no table prefix is in use. If you use a table prefix you will need to make appropriate changes to the code to account for the table prefixes.

Before starting make sure you take a fresh backup of your current database and files in case something goes wrong. This code is not officially supported, it is use at your own risk. There is no supported way to restore your old attachments.

From this point "old" refers to the old pre-4.2.3 backup. "New" refers to your live site.

1) Copy over the old attachment files over the new ones. Attachments shouldn't ever change so you'll overwrite a number of files but the deleted ones will return to their original locations. The new ones won't be affected. (If attachments are stored in the database skip this step.)

2) From your old backup export the following tables to individual .SQL files
  • attachment
  • attachmentcategoryuser
  • filedata

3) Edit each SQL file in a text editor. At the top of each file is a "CREATE TABLE" block of code, delete the entire block. Will look something like-

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

But varies for each file.

Next Do a find / replace for the entire file.


Then save the .SQL file. (Again you need to do this for all 3 files)

4) Now go to your live database and IMPORT each of the 3 files into your live database.

The "INSERT IGNORE INTO" commands will just discard any duplicate (existing) entries without error. All the deleted records will be restored.

5) RUN that MySQL command to fix the bug:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

6) Now go to the old database, go to the post table. Run the command:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

Export the results of this command as a CSV File.

7) Open the CSV file in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel. In the speadsheet add a column before the attach list, add a column between attach and postid.

In the first column add the text:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

And copy it to boxes in the column, as far down as there is data.

In the middle column (between attach and postid) add the text:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

Then copy this text to all rows like above.

Finally in a column to the right of the postid column add the text:

Block Disabled:      (Update License Status)  
Suspended or Unlicensed Members Cannot View Code.

And again, copy this text to all columns.

When finished it will look something like this:
Attachment 154706

8) Export or Save the document again as a CSV file.

9) Open the new CSV file in a text editor. You're going to need to use find/replace to remove the commas and double quotes (if they exist) replace them all with spaces.

It's going to look something like this:
Attachment 154705

Save this now as a .SQL file.

10) Import the file to the live database. This should update any old posts that used to have attachments recorded that don't anymore. Nothing else will change in the post but the # of attachments. If the post has at least one attachment already it won't be touched.

That should do it.

One more step- to see the changes immediately the post cache must be cleared so EMPTY the postparsed table in the database. That will clear the the post cache so changes to cached posts are visible.

In the Admin CP -> Maintenance, run the Clear System Cache option as well.

Also in Maintenance, go to General Update Tools, and Rebuild Thread Information, followed by Rebuild Forum Information.

SilverBoy 28 Jun 2016 23:38

Thank you BirdOPrey5

By luck I see your article, after that I checked my forum and found that there are about 40000 attachments deleted !!

Fortunately I get a copy of my DB before 7 days from the day I made the upgrade in it, and go throw your steps and get my attachments back.

Thank you.

BirdOPrey5 06 Jul 2016 18:03

I see that the VB 4.2.3 files have been updated to prevent this issue. As long as you download the 4.2.3 files from this point onwards you will not have to worry about this issue. :up:

dwwright 08 Sep 2016 19:53

Thanks for posting this. I did download the 4.2.3 just last week and still had this issue, so not sure that the fix is in the current upgrade files to prevent it.

Paul M 09 Sep 2016 13:07

I'm quite sure it is - in class_upgrade_423.php

dfe 09 Sep 2016 18:57

I did the 4.2.3 install, upgrading from 3.8.9 and lost all the attachments, I did details on the vbulletin.com forum the process I used to recover, but key to my recover was the fact that I had a backup I made directly after the upgrade.

The issue was not with the upgrade, but rather with one of the maintenance scripts that ran a few hours after the upgrade.

(Edit: I downloaded the upgrade, and did the upgrade 30 May....)

Paul M 09 Sep 2016 20:14


Edit: I downloaded the upgrade, and did the upgrade 30 May....
Which is a few weeks before the fix was applied to the 423 upgrade code. (It was originally only in 424)

dwwright 10 Sep 2016 00:28

Well, doesn't matter, but the instructions above worked great, everything is restored and working...Thanks.

webspider 28 Feb 2020 18:14

I have a similar but different issue. I have an old board v2/3 that has been updated continuously to 4.25. All my attachments are there but I can't move on to a newer board. as 3/4 of the attachments (265K import does about 40k) show as not there. I'm not sure this is what I'm looking for but might it fix my problem?

Mattwhf 04 Mar 2020 01:37

I faced this issue in the past, I lost attachments and I must reupload some. Luckily, my forum has less attachments so the work is not more.

Thanks for your mod!

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