Troubleshooting SQL Server Full-Text Search Problems

Should you have problems with the SQL Server full-text search, review this troubleshooting checklist to help find potential solutions.

1. Check the hardware requirements

For SQL Server 7.0, you should have:

Alpha AXP, Intel or compatible platform
Pentium 166 MHz or higher
64MB RAM or more (recommended)
180MB hard disk space
For SQL Server 2000, you should have:

Intel or compatible platform
Pentium 166 MHz or higher
64MB RAM or more (recommended)
250MB hard disk space

2. Check the software requirements

To install full-text search, you should have one of the following operation systems:

Windows NT Server version 4.0 (with Service Pack 4 or later for SQL Server 7.0 and Service Pack 5 or later for SQL Server 2000)
Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition version 4.0 (with Service Pack 4 or later for SQL Server 7.0 and Service Pack 5 or later for SQL Server 2000)
Windows 2000 Server
Windows 2000 Advanced Server
Windows 2000 DataCenter
The full-text search supported under the following SQL Server editions:

SQL Server 7.0 Standard Edition
SQL Server 7.0 Enterprise Edition (except for clustered servers)
SQL Server 2000 Personal Edition (except on Windows 9x)
SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition
SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Evaluation Edition

3. Installation problem

If you have problems installing the Full-text Search (MSSearch) service, check the Mssearch.log in the Temp directory to see if any problems occurred.


4. Verify that both the MSSQLServer and MSSearch services are running.

The full-text search runs as a service named Microsoft Search Service (MSSearch service). So, if this service has not started, the full-text search cannot work.


5. If a full-text catalog population or query fails, check that there is no mismatch of user account information between the MSSQLServer and MSSearch services.

Change the password for the MSSQLServer service using the SQL Server Enterprise Manager (do not use Services in Control Panel to change user account information). Changing the password for the MSSQLServer service results in an update of the account the MSSearch service runs under.


6. Verify that MSSearch service runs under the local system account.

The Microsoft Search service is assigned to the local system account during full-text search installation. Do not change the MSSearch service account information after the installation. Otherwise, it cannot keep track of the MSSQLServer service account.


7. Verify whether you have a UNC path specification in your PATH variable.

Having the UNC path specification(s) in the SYSTEM or USER PATH variables can result in full-text query failing with the message that the full-text catalog is not yet ready for queries. To work around this, you should replace the UNC path(s) with remapped drive(s) or add the location:

%SYSTEMDRIVE%Program FilesCommon FilesSYSTEMContentIndex

in front of any UNC path specification in the SYSTEM path.


8. Insufficient memory error

If you encounter an error indicating that insufficient memory is available, set the virtual memory setting to an amount equal to 3 times the physical memory and set the SQL Server ‘max server memory’ server configuration option to 1.5 times the physical memory.



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