For those not familiar with what Sitecore Instance Manager (SIM) is, it’s a handy tool for backing up and restoring your local Sitecore instances. You can also download the Sitecore version install .zip files and install a new instance via SIM, but as I learned the hard way, it doesn’t do things the same way as the .exe installers do.
When we were working with Sitecore 7.5, we were seeing weird behavior: some of our team had installed Sitecore with the .exe installer, and a few others (me included) used the downloaded .zip and SIM. What we noticed were some inconsistencies with things like database names in SQL Server, files missing, etc.
I filed a support ticket on this issue, and to sum it up with a quote from Sitecore Support: “Sitecore Instance Manager was designed only for development and testing purposes. It was never outlined that it behaves exactly the same as EXE installer. It was designed to behave as fast as possible and therefore it omits several useless files.” Here is the excerpt they referenced from the release notes of the SIM version we were using at the time:
After this response, I henceforth only use SIM for making backups of my “full” .exe installs. If I’m doing destructive work, it has been a good workflow for me to create a backup, and simply restore the instance to a working condition if something goes bad. In general I will create a backup periodically just to have some fallbacks. just. in. case.
Download Sitecore Instance Manager: