Stopped the WSS Search? D’oh!

If you’re like me, you sometimes play with SharePoint.  In the last SharePoint Services 3.0 installation I noticed that the search function did not give back results, and I went out to scout what the problem was.

The Windows SharePoint Services Search is configured on the Central Administration website, Operations tab and Services on Server section.  There, you can select which server’s services you want to see, and see their running state and if necessary stop them.

I stopped the Windows SharePoint Services Search services, and that was a Bad Idea.

When you do this, and you want to start this service again, Sharepoint might complain that something’s rotten in your database:

WSS_Search_SPSSERVERNAME on DBSERVERNAME contains user-defined schema. Databases must be empty before they can be used.

This does not make anyone happy. Especially not me.

However, it is not bad as it sounds: you can safely delete the culprit database (“WSS_Search_SPSSERVERNAME”) on the database server, and start the service again.  You will lose the index, but if you make sure the index is recreated soon after, you should see starting results pop up again.

If not, be sure to check if the Search Server is defined for your sites in Central Administration, tab Application Management in the section Content Databases.

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