Andrew Connell

FP2003 ~CAN~ hurt you if you don't know what it does under the covers...

We’ve learned the hard way that FrontPage 2003 CAN hurt you if you don’t know what it does under the covers. The biggest thing, is if you open a page and click save, the page is now unghosted and saved in the DB. This makes future UI changes very hard (for more info on ghosting/unghosting as well as information about why FP2003 can hurt you, see article #1 in the reference links below).

Dustin Miller then blogged about his objections to the article (see article #2 below). I had to take exception Dustin’s comments in a comment to his post , which turned into a big back-and-forth.

So… how do you fix a unghosted site? Here’s what we did…

We had a site which we modified the UI via FrontPage 2003. This made the site unghosted, which caused big problems. We backed up the unghosted site from production and restored it to a developer VirtualPC image. Then, I installed the GhostHunter webppart (see #3 below) which I used to reghost the unghosted pages. Once the site was ghosted again, we added the necessary images to the wpresources directory and created a new CSS file that modified the UI of the site. After making sure everything was in good shape, we did it again just to be safe (backup->restore->reghost->apply file changes) to make sure it would work in production. And sure enough it did, production is now 100% ghosted and has it’s own UI.


  1. What you don’t know about Front Page 2003 can hurt you (site registration required, but it’s free)
  2. Dustin Miller’s response: “In response to “Barry Kouda” and his MSD2D tip…”
  3. GhostHunter ; part of the Web Part Toolkit

**Update 9/21 8:55a:**Just finished reading (and commenting) on Maurice’s (yes, the same one of GhostHunter… [insert additional golf clap]) post addressing my comments here. A good read… yet someone else who really gets it.

» BlueDogLimited: Don’t Kill The Messenger » BlueDogLimited: Ghosted & Unghosted Pages Fantastic explanation of the two here.

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to delivering industry-leading on-demand video training to professional developers. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.