The Case of the Failed Search Index

So last night I setup our archive logs scripts for my PC and Nicky’s laptop because since my Vista rebuild I’ve never reconfigured it.

This morning, Nicky’s laptop ran it’s first log export and I was reviewing the logs to see how things where looking based on the BSOD’s she been getting recently, and I was shocked by the number of red crosses in the log all from the Windows Search Service regarding failed search indexing.

I popped open Control Panel and headed for the Index Options to see that indexing was currently in maintenance mode which didn’t sound good. After a quick Live Search I was still left slightly slightly at a loss due to the lack of results in the search. Even TechNet at Microsoft didn’t really have much in the way of help for this problem.

After a further dig, I discovered that the Indexer stores the catalog in a file – Time to hit the delete key. On her laptop I stopped the Windows Search service and headed for C:ProgramDataMicrosoftSearchDataApplicationsWindows and deleted the Windows.edb file which is a Windows database format file.

After deleting the file I was confused that the file reappeared but instead of being 65,000KB it was 1000KB. When I went back to the services console, the Search service had automatically restarted – How clever.

At the moment the indexes are being rebuilt which will probably take a few hours or so, but so far no errors in the event log and all working ok. Problem solved.


Richard works as a Cloud Consultant for Fordway Solution where his primary focus is to help customers understand, adopt and develop with Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and System Center. Richard Green is an IT Pro with over 15 years' of experience in all things Microsoft including System Center and Office 365. He has previously worked as a System Center consultant and as an internal solutions architect across many verticals. Outside of work, he loves motorbikes and is part of the orange army, marshaling for NGRRC, British Superbikes and MotoGP. He is also an Assistant Cub Scout Leader.