Understand Visual Upgrade in SharePoint 2010

The new user interface in SharePoint 2010 has been rebuilt from the ground up. Therefore, it uses new master pages and new .css files that were not included with SharePoint 2007. Furthermore, SP2010 deploys several files that have the same names as they do in SharePoint 2007, such as default.master, application.master, and core.css.

To differentiate between the older files Microsoft created a simple versioning scheme. The user interface of SharePoint 2007 is named version 3 and SharePoint 2010 is named version 4.

SharePoint 2010 provisions two additional master pages named v4.master and minimal.master. v4.master is the primary master page that is used to construct the new SharePoint 2010 user interface. For example, v4.master is what gives team sites in SharePoint 2010 a common page layout across all the pages in a site, including familiar elements such as the Site Actions menu, the breadcrumb trail, the ribbon, the Welcome menu, the Site Icon, the TopNav bar, and the QuickLaunch.

When we recompile our SharePoint 2007 solution on VS2010 and deploy to SharePoint 2010, the master page may not work properly since SharePoint 2010 uses UI version 4. We can simply run couple lines of PowerShell command to switch the UI version for the site.

Here is the code:

Add-PSSnapin “Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell”

$site = Get-SPWeb “http://intranet.wingtip.com”

$site.UIVersion = 3

$site.UIVersionConfigurationEnabled = false


For more details, please refer to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg454789.aspx#odcsp14ta_UnderstandingVisualUpgradeSharePoint2010_How

Name / default file name Description Uses on a SharePoint site
Primary master pagev4.master Used for content and administration pages. Provides the interface and layout for SharePoint 2010. Team Site home page, list and library pages, and site settings page.
Minimal master pageminimal.master Contains minimal SharePoint content, used for full-screen functionality or embedded applications. The home and search results pages on a Search Center, pages that host Word or Excel web applications.
Publishing master pagenightandday.master Used for pages on a SharePoint Server publishing-enabled site. The home page, about us, or press release page on a publishing intranet, extranet, or Internet-facing site.
2007 default master pagedefault.master Used to support legacy SharePoint sites, which haven’t been visually upgraded to SharePoint 2010. Home page, site pages, and list pages on a SharePoint 2007 site before visual upgrade.

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