Lost site definitions in Adobe Dreamweaver CS6

The problem of Dreamweaver losing some or all of your site definitions is troublesome enough that references to it appear everywhere on the internet. Sadly a solution to the problem appears nowhere. Like the US government shutting down: it happens, but no one seems to know why.  The problem, it seems, stems from a mangled tangle of entries in one section of the Windows registry.

This is a very techie post unrelated to photography but valuable if you run your own website. If you’re not into that, skip this post. This solution applies to Windows 7 specifically. Other windows systems and other versions of Dreamweaver should be similar.

This is not for the faint-hearted as you will be doing Windows registry editing, not actually editing per se, just some deleting. For safety’s sake you’ll be opening and closing Dreamweaver and Regedit.exe several times at first, just to make sure it’s working. This process is much easier if you have previously exported the site definitions from Dreamweaver (Site, Manage Sites, then the little folder with the right facing arrow). If you haven’t, recreating each site is about the only other option. In my case I was lucky enough to have duplicates of each site definition on my laptop. I exported the .ste files from there. Site directeories and such were incorrect and had to be changed once in Dreamweaver in my desktop PC, but this was certainly easier than creating them from scratch. I have it on good authority that it’s a bad idea to try and copy registry entries directly from one PC to another.

Here’s the fix. First, start Dreamweaver. Click site, Manage Sites, and then the minus sign. Do this to delete every site reference that may still exist in Dreamweaver. Close Dreamweaver. Click Start, Run, then type regedit.exe. That’s the registry editor. The keys we’re looking for are under HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Adobe, Common, 12.0, Sites. The 12.0 is specific for CS6. Numbers go backwards for previous version of Dreamweaver and Dreamweaver CC corresponds to 13.0. There should be a list of Sites numbered 1 through whatever. If there are sites listed here after you’ve deleted them in Dreamweaver site manager that is the indicator that this is the source of your trouble. Click on each site number one at a time and delete them all. Leave the Sites directory but it should be empty when you are done. Close regedit. Start Dreamweaver. Click Sites, Manage Sites. There should be no defined sites in Dreamweaver’s list. If you have a previous backup .ste file of a defined site import it now, otherwise recreate the site from scratch (a pain). Save it. Close Site manager. Close Dreamweaver. Click Start, Run, regedit.exe. Go to the same HKEY_CURRENT_USER key listed above. Under Sites you should see Site 0, the site you just created. If so, Hooray!  Close regedit. Start Dreamweaver. Click Sites, Manage Sites. The site you just created should still be there. Now you need to either import all your site .ste files or recreate each site one at a time. I imported each .ste file one at a time.  Save them as you go. I popped in and out of Dreamweaver and regedit several times to make sure it was working. Since I also have Dreamweaver CC installed I also deleted all site definitions from it as well, just to be sure something there wasn’t misdirecting things.

For the record, before deleting the registry site definitions I spent some time examining the contents. I’m not a programmer but I did notice some peculiarities in many of the entries such as directory paths for some sites that actually belonged to other sites. Haven’t a clue why these entries got turned to gibberish BUT trying to make Dreamweaver remember sites without first deleting the trash was getting me nowhere.

Hope this is helpful to someone.




4 thoughts on “Lost site definitions in Adobe Dreamweaver CS6”

  1. Just wanted to say thanks for helping me fix my problem. I have Dreamweaver CC, and after running jv16 Power Tools registry cleaner, DW CC lost my site definitions. I imported from a backup, added ones I created since the backup. Thought everything was fine. Next time I started DW CC, they were all gone, except for a few that seemed to ‘stick around.’ Imported again. Next time I closed & re-opened. All were gone. I took your suggestion of deleting all the definitions in the registry (and deleted the DW CS6 defs as well. Restarted DW CC, imported, closed, re-opened, and they are still there.

    jv16 also seems to have messed up my MS Natural Ergonomic 4000 software. My favorites no longer work. If I run the software, I get a message that MS is searching for a fix for the problem. That goes away with no fix offered. The favorites are THERE, they just don’t work when I press the keys. Again, I think that jv16 messed up a registry key/entry and reinstalling the keyboard s/w is not fixing it. Just as reinstalling DW CC didn’t fix my unsaved definitions problem.

    Anyway, thanks for the tip. I had been searching the web for some answers and couldn’t find anything recent and nothing related to jv16.

    1. I’m really glad that helped. Like you I looked high and low for a solution to this problem until I went digging in the registry. Don’t know about the other problem mentioned in your post as I don’t use that software. Like you I have JV16 but use it infrequently. Incidentally I think I read somewhere that JV16 was going to be released to public domain. Not sure what the implications are of that or even if it’s true.
      Regards, PP

    1. It’s interesting that JV16 seems to be the common thread in the mangled site definitions in Dreamweaver. I stopped using JV16 a year or so ago and have not experienced the lost site definitions since then. I’m also a bit more focused in doing site definition backups from within Dreamweaver as well.
      Regards PP

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