Dealing with orphaned user solutions

I’m surprised this problem isn’t more common. It seems easy enough to trigger by accident, and fixing it was a puzzle.

No doubt most of us have at some point in using SharePoint 2010 created a site template, and then after gazing upon it in the Solution Gallery, determined that we’ve named it wrong, need to change one small thing, or any number of different issues. Normally, the correct thing to do in this circumstance is to deactivate and then delete the solution.

What if you don’t deactivate it?

Create a site.
Save it as a template to the Solution Gallery.
Download the WSP to your desktop.
Delete the solution from the Solution Gallery *without* deactivating it. To do this, click the Edit button and then click Delete from there.
Upload the WSP back to the Solution Gallery.

You’ll find that you’re not able to activate the WSP you just uploaded, or deactivate it. And now you’re just kinda stuck with a site template that’s visible when you try to create a new site, but nothing that can be done about it!

So, first off, user solution WSPs still contain features. We *can* deactivate the feature that installs this site template (via PowerShell).

$site = Get-SPSite
$site.Features | Where-Object {$_.FeatureDefinitionScope -eq "Site"}
Disable-SPFeature $feature -url

But that’s only hiding the problem, it’s not actually fixing it. So, we should try to identify the user solution and remove it instead.

Uninstall-SPUserSolution -Identity "BasicProjectSite.wsp" -Site

But this tells me that there is no solution with that name. But when I list $site.Solutions, it’s there. Even running Get-SPUserSolution lists 0 solutions. What to do? Wait, does the object model still work?

Name                           SolutionId                           Status
----                           ----------                           ------
BasicProjectSite.wsp           af9fc924-26b1-4c4f-9250-57b26c81316f Activated
$solution = $site.Solutions[[guid]"af9fc924-26b1-4c4f-9250-57b26c81316f"]

And it’s finally gone!


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