Part 1: Search issues.. again

Search had gone to status “Computing ranking”, happens every now and then. Usually a Full crawl makes the index work again, and status changes to Idle, but sometimes you have to perform the “Reset all crawled content”. Did that on a server yesterday, but this time the action hung and I got an error message due to a timeout in the connection. So, I opened services and stopped the Windows Sharepoint Search, worked fine. Tried to stop the Office Server Search, but that resulted in an error message due to a timeout….. Yuk. To do something and trying not to panic, since this is a production environment (of course…) I started the WSS Search again – worked. But the service Office Server Search still had the status “Stopping”. And you cant stop it, not in Services and not in CA under Services on server. Now when I click on “Search settings” in CA, I get the message “The gatherer is shutting down”. And there you go… stuck.
So my plan for tomorrow is the following:
– First, check out the Timer Job Definition to delete it there (if it is listed)
– Edit all passwords and re enter them on Services page and on the Services in Control Panel
– Make sure that the accounts are admins where they are supposed to be Admins
– If none of those works, I will setup a new SSP and associate my web apps to that. That should do it.
Now, I need to find out why the search hangs sometimes and gets into the “Computing ranking” state. I have had that problem on many servers, it might have to do with performance, timeout against the backend, password changes on the service accounts, and so on…
I hope that my fix list will be successful tomorrow!

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