STSADM Import and Object reference not set to an instance of an object
If you ever try to import a site using STSADM –o import within SharePoint and you receive the following error message it could be caused by permissions. However, I have come across this issue when thicket files/folders are involved.
FatalError: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment.FolderSerializer.SetObjectData(Object obj, SerializationInfo info, StreamingContext context, ISurrogateSelector selector)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment.XmlFormatter.ParseObject(Type objectType, Boolean isChildObject)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment.XmlFormatter.DeserializeObject(Type objectType, Boolean isChildObject, DeploymentObject envelope)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment.XmlFormatter.Deserialize(Stream serializationStream)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment.ObjectSerializer.Deserialize(Stream serializationStream)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment.ImportObjectManager.ProcessObject(XmlReader xmlReader)
A thicket file/folder structure is generally created if you save an Office document or Outlook MSG as a HTML file. When these are saved to SharePoint it can be very misleading because you will not see the thicket folder structure from within SharePoint as shown below:
If you have thicket files and experience this problem then I recommend converting the file to another format such as PDF. Once you do this the export/import will complete successfully.
SharePoint does not handle thicket files very well and it would be my advice to try avoid storing them in SharePoint at all.