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  Question Asked By: Lacy Barker   on Jan 26 In MOSS Category.

Question Answered By: Arlene Hodge   on Jan 26

The builtin default.master is originally stored in the
global directory of the 12 hive. When you provision a site it is copied
(ghosted) to the master  pages gallery of the site. (ghosted means it
isn't physically copied, but a pointer is created in the content
database that points at the one in the 12 hive.) when he edits the
default.master in the master page gallery using SPD he severs the
connection with the copy in the 12 hive and stores a full copy in the
master page gallery. Changes made to the original in the 12 hive will
no longer have an effect. The customized one in the 12 hive can be used
for the entire site collection IF Publishing Infrastructure Feature is
turned on for the Site Collection and the edited copy is in the top
level site site collection.

The issue is scope. This master page will only be used for a single
site or site collection. Since you say this is a unique site collection
then it makes sense to directly edit this master page. That's what
others meant by "One Off'.

Hope that explains it.

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