The Indexer runs as a program on a PC (actual or virtual). It must always be running and always logged in to the network. It does not, at present, run as a service. If the indexer program loses the connection to the network it stops working and users cannot search for new documents. The following are some of the most common reasons that this happens:
• The firm has not turned off auto-updates on the Indexer PC. Therefore in the dark of the night Microsoft downloads your updates and reboots the PC. But the PC does not log in, so the indexer can’t run. Turn off auto-updates on the Indexer. Repeat: Turn off auto-updates on the Indexer. If possible, set the Indexer to reboot and auto-log in so that the Index program starts up automatically.
• Server maintenance has been scheduled and the server rebooted. This breaks the network connection to the Indexer and it stops working. Rebooting the Indexer should be part of any maintenance routine. Again, set the Indexer to reboot and auto-log in.
• Some other updates are performed, or the firm has a policy that PCs are shut down at night. The Indexer must be exempted from this sort of policy.
To update indexes at night, the Indexer downloads them to local C: drive for better performance, updates them, and copies them back up to the server. If this process cannot complete for some reason, the Indexer can be left in an “off-line” status and not working.
How do you know whether the indexer has stopped working? Simple. If anyone can’t find files they know exist when you search, it is almost certain that the indexer has stopped. Typically a user will be able to see their own files that they have created because the pointer to them is stored in the personal *.ini file (this is separate from the index), but not find them when they search. Users should be trained to report the first instance of a search not working. If such reports represent “crying wolf,” users need additional training on best search techniques.
The best practice for a firm is to have a fairly savvy user/paralegal/office manager have RDP access to the Indexer from their PC. Then, as soon as the first person reports “search is not working” they can log into the Indexer and fix the issue. The following are the steps to be taken (from simple to complex).
• The indexer screen should already be running. If the PC logs in and the Indexer starts, it is a sign that it was disconnected from the network. You need to talk with your IT person about a permanent fix (see above).
• The indexer should normally show files recently opened, saved, etc. and should be counting down: Next Pass in 9, 8, 7, etc. seconds. If it is not, that is a sign that it is “hung.”
• At the bottom center of the Indexer screen, click on the “Close Server” button. Then click YES on the screen that says “Exit server mode and return to main screen.” The Indexer may (or may not) entirely restart. If it does, repeat the process.
• Check the drive letters you wish to index. Then click on the “Server” menu item and select “Start.” The server will go through some checks (“Recalculating current users”) and should then start scrolling through the items that had previously not been indexed. If there are a lot of them, it is a sign the Indexer has been down for some time.
• If the Indexer has some sort of error message, click out of it and restart the Indexer. If there is a message that it is busy, there are two copies of the Indexer trying to run. Exit all instances of the Indexer (you may have to use Task Manager to do this) and restart it.
• If this does not fix the problem, the indexes may be “off-line.” Stop the indexer as above. Then, click on a drive letter and select “Profile” then “Properties.” At the bottom of the screen, in the “Current Status” box, make sure “On-line - ready to find by Profile” is checked. Repeat for “Text” then “Properties.” Repeat for each drive letter.
• Start the Indexer Serve again as above (Start | Server).
If none of these things work, you are going to have to call your consultant or tech support.