Force Enabling Publishing Features in SharePoint 2013

In SharePoint 2013 sometimes you just have to rely on old techniques to get things done.  Take activating the publishing features for example.  Often times I’ve had trouble activating these features using the GUI in 2013, and no mystical combination of turning on the site feature followed by the web feature seemed to make a difference.  What about PowerShell you ask – the answer to everything 2013 – well, that doesn’t help much either, basically failing in the same bitter way as the GUI. 

Introducing STSADM, a wonderful new tool from 13 years ago.  Detect the sarcasm?  Anyways, sometimes dirty old tricks are still the best tricks.

The simple way to force activation using STSADM is described below, and I’ve included a graphic below showing the results.

    [code language=”powershell”]
    stsadm –o activatefeature –name publishingsite –url -force

    stsadm –o activatefeature –name publishingweb –url -force

In the graphic below, you can see initially activating the site feature without using the force parameter (that failed), followed by activating the site feature using force, as well as the web feature using force.


Hopefully this helps anyone seeking a way to get publishing actually activated in 2013.