I figured I could just use the db files and the other files from confluence_home but I'm not having any succes so far. Which dirs do I need to remove to get it working?
Or perhaps is there a way to manually create a restore.xml? Or could I create a clean install and import the actual site files?
You could have lost this one. Your best bet would be your last suggestion, sort of.
I would try creating a new installation in an empty directory, of exactly the same version you have already. Go all the way through the installation to the point where it has let you log in as a user and see an off-the-shelf Confluence install. (While installing, make sure you select the HSQL option for the database)
Now, shut it down.
Then go into the "home" directory for it and find the files that make up the hsql data - these are database.script and database.properties. Move them somewhere safe, and then copy the same files from the broken installation. Make sure the permissions and ownership are correct. You also need to copy the full directory <confluence home>/attachments to the new installation although that really is a flat copy.
Now restart the new Confluence. Once it's running, log in and run a full re-index.
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