Windows Search 4.0 Troubleshooting Guide

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Troubleshooting Guide describes troubleshooting tips and lists current known issues with Windows® Search 4.0 and differences from previous versions that might cause support issues. This guide is intended for IT professionals.

You can also get information by visiting the Windows Desktop Search Forum (\&SiteID=1). If your issue has not been discussed in the forum, you can post your questions, issues, or concerns.


The Windows Desktop Search Forum is a peer-to-peer communication vehicle aimed at enhancing user experience, knowledge, and development-related efforts. Whenever possible, Microsoft employees participate by answering questions. However, posting a question or comment in the Windows Desktop Search Forum does not guarantee a reply by a Microsoft employee or Microsoft representative. Microsoft does not guarantee as correct any post made within this forum by its employees, representatives, or forum users, and confers no rights to these replies.

Full service break or fix support is available through the customary Microsoft support channels. Support is offered on a pay-per-incident basis or through contract programs such as Premier and Essential. For more information about support options, visit the Microsoft Services Enterprise Support Web page (\_support.mspx).

Or, call toll-free at 1-800-936-3500 in the U.S. and Canada only.

For information about international support options, visit the Microsoft International Support Web site (


This section categorizes issues by type or related technology:

Finding Items I Know Exist on My Computer

Querying Remotely

Searching E-mail

Slow or CPU-Intensive Performance

Setting Group Policy

Indexing with EFS Encryption

Finding Items I Know Exist

The following are troubleshooting tips to help you find items that Windows Search seems to miss.

When I search in a specific folder, nothing is found.

For files to be indexed, the folder containing the files must have SYSTEM permissions. These may have been removed.

To troubleshoot this, do the following:

  1. Right-click the folder which is not returning results.

  2. Select the Properties option.

  3. Click the Security tab.

  4. If SYSTEM appears in the Group or user names box, system permissions is not the problem.

  5. If SYSTEM does not appear in the Group or user names box, click the Edit… button to open the Permissions dialog.

  6. In the Permissions dialog, click the Add… button.

  7. In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups dialog, enter system in the Enter the object names to select box and click the Check Names button.

  8. Select SYSTEM from the list of Matching names and click OK.

When I search on a tag, nothing is found.

The property handlers for Windows XP, Windows server 2003, and Windows Home Server do not emit tag values, and therefore the tag values are not indexed. The tags are indexed on Windows Vista.

No workaround available.

Querying Remotely

The following are troubleshooting tips to help you query a remote machine.

When I query a remote machine, nothing is found.

Remote queries fail when the machine name is longer than 15 bytes. This is a known issue, and the only workaround is to give the remote machine a shorter name.

When I query a remote machine as admin, nothing is found.

In order to query a remote machine, the folder you want to search must be shared even if you access it as admin. Sharing is a prerequisite for querying. First, share the folder to yourself, and then you can query it remotely.

Searching E-mail

This section suggests ways to resolve problems related to searching e-mail.

Outlook items are duplicated in the search results.

Outlook 2003 If you switch from cached mode to classic-online mode and also enable the Enable Indexing uncached Exchange Folders Group Policy, Windows Search might show duplicate search results for each MAPI item: one result is from the cached store (classic-offline), and the other is from the online store. Once the classic-offline items are already indexed, they are not deleted from the index when you switch modes.

To resolve this, rebuild the index.

Outlook 2007 When users run in classic online mode and also have corresponding classic offline OSTs, they might see duplicate search results for each MAPI item. One result is from the online store, and the other result is from the cached store (classic-offline). This functionality supports the search experience when Outlook is offline.

If you don’t want the classic offline items to be indexed in Outlook 2007 or higher, you can start Outlook in offline mode, and then open the Indexing Options Control Panel and clear the checkbox for the offline Outlook store. This prevents the offline items from being indexed.

I cannot find items in Outlook after changing operating system language.

If you have changed the operating system language using an operating system MUI pack, you may need to restart to get your e-mail indexed.

Slow or CPU-Intensive Performance

This section describes ways to resolve performance-related issues.

SVCHOST consumes up to 100% CPU when Outlook is in Classic Online mode.

This happens when firewall software or similar application which monitors outgoing connections prevents SearchProtocolHost.exe from accessing the Exchange server.

To resolve the issue, add SearchProtocolHost.exe to the list of exceptions for your firewall. If your firewall application is managed using Group Policy, ensure that the appropriate polices are in place to allow SearchProtocolHost.exe to communicate through the firewall.

Setting Group Policy

This section suggests ways to resolve problems with Windows Search and Group Policy.

I can’t prevent the indexing of Outlook Express.

If you look in the Indexing Options Control Panel and Outlook Express is a selectable option, then the Group Policy is not correctly applied.

Add the following path to the “Prevent Indexing Certain Paths” policy:


How can I tell if I’ve enabled/disabled the indexing of mapped network drives?

You can tell if you’ve correctly enabled or disabled indexing in the Indexing Options Control Panel. Open the Indexing Options Control Panel. If the mapped drive is selected (and you are trying to enable indexing) or grayed out (and you are trying to disable indexing), the appropriate policy has been selected.

If indexing doesn’t seem to be working correctly, be sure the correct syntax is used for inputting a mapped network drive:

otfs://{*}/<drive letter>/*

An example using the P drive is the following:


Indexing with EFS Encryption

The following are troubleshooting tips to help you index encrypted files.

I cannot access an encrypted file.

Due to a limitation on the number of handles that can be open per thread, EFS-encrypted files are available to only sixty-three (63) logged on users at one time.

I cannot reliably search the contents of EFS-encrypted files using smartcards.

To use smartcard encryption, you must select this caching setting in the secpol.msc: Create caching-capable user key from smartcard. Windows Search does not support a multiuser scenario with smartcard EFS-encryption and uncached keys.

My EFS-encrypted documents are not getting indexed.

I cannot find EFS-encrypted files when I search, even though the ‘Allow Indexing of Encrypted Files’ Group Policy has been activated.

To resolve this, you must rebuild the index after the Group Policy is applied.

Windows Search doesn't find the encrypted files that I expect. I am not using Windows Vista.

When you are given permission to decrypt an encrypted file, Windows Vista automatically notifies WS4 to update your index. This notification, however, doesn’t happen on older operating systems.

To solve this problem, you or another user needs to open and save the file in order to notify WS4 to re-index the file so it will appear in your search results.

See Also

Other Resources

Windows Desktop Search Forums on MSDN
Windows Search Product Page