OWA and RWW on SBS2008 broken - Exchange Search Index Service will not start

Posted on 2010-11-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Apparently a recent Windows Update broke OWA and RWW on SBS2008 server.  I get notifications every 30min that the Microsoft Exchange Search Index service failed to start.  (Try and start it manually, and you get an Error 1068 "The dependency service or group failed to start".)  It is possible that other things are wrong, but this stands-out, and I don't know what else to check for.

Symptoms are that no browsers will access the OWA links /remote or /exchange.  Using Chrome or Firefox gives the main login screen, but it will not authenticate; using IE does not even give the login screen.
Question by:aconway
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Expert Comment

ID: 34169009

could you please check what services with automatic startup aren't running (through Services MMC)?

If any aren't started, try to start them manually and report any errors (on screen or event log) that appear.


Expert Comment

ID: 34171665
Why dont you roll back the update

uninstall all the recently applied updates until you find the culprit

Expert Comment

ID: 34172743
Look if you have anything running that is using SBS TCP-ports
- Get into Internet Information Services (v7)
- Expand your server
- Click on 'Sites'
- Look at the screen on the right side. Are all of the sites started?

If not you can find processes that are running on port 443 by PID:
Go to CMD and type: netstat -ao | find "443"

If not you can find processes that are running on port 80 by PID:
Go to CMD and type: netstat -ao | find "80"

Look in taskmanager to find the corresponding processes and/ or services (select column PID). Look if any of them. If you want, you can post them. Typically processes named "system" with a low number are OK.

Another simple solution to much common rww/ owa SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 problems:

- Download and install all microsoft updates, including optionals (such as Exchange Rollups, Servicepacks, etc.)
- Reboot the server if asked.
- Open Small Business Console
- Go to Network, open tab 'Connectivity'
- Click on 'Restore my network' and follow the wizard.

Success! Have a nice day.
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Author Comment

ID: 34186968
All updates, including optional for SBS2008 installed, rebooted as requested, and ran the "Fix My Network" on the SBS Console Connectivity Tab.  (Figured I should move *forward* on updates, rather than uninstalling a bunch of them.)  The problems continue.

The only services marked Automatic that did NOT start with a reboot are:  
 - TPM Base Services (which can be manually started, but immediately stops saying not needed) and
 -  Exchange Search Index (which will not manually start - it gives Error 1068).

All IIS sites show as running.

Running directly on the server (to bypass any firewall redirection questions):
1.  Firefox and IE let me connect with /REMOTE, and correctly open the email link;
2.  Firefox and IE will NOT accept a valid username/password if connecting to /EXCHANGE, even using "domain\username" rather than just username.

Any further ideas with this new data?

Expert Comment

ID: 34187720

in Exchange 2007 you should normally use /OWA instead of /EXCHANGE to access Outlook Web Access (however normally /EXCHANGE should automatically redirect to /OWA).

Try if /OWA works.


Author Comment

ID: 34192202
Major progress, and some more data:

1.  using /OWA as the link works in ALL browsers, including IE

2.  using /EXCHANGE in IE redirects here:
but gives an error 400 "Webpage not found".  
Other browsers redirect here:      and DO allow access

3.  I STILL receive a Critical Event Notification every 30min (48x per day) saying:

Title: A key Windows Services service is not running
Source: Key Windows Services
The Microsoft Exchange Search Indexer service has been stopped.


Expert Comment

ID: 34192801
OK, since this is SBS I suggest trying some "benign" solutions before diving into IIS tampering. Since "Fix My Network" didn't work try disabling and then re-enabling Outlook Anywhere on your Client Access server in Exchange 2007 MMC. It sometimes helped me with "stubborn" problems with RPC over HTTPS. Might help you too but don't get your hopes too high :).


Accepted Solution

tstritof earned 500 total points
ID: 34192822
Oh, and to correct my formulation - "Fix My Network" definitely helped (restored access to /remote and /owa folders).

Assisted Solution

tstritof earned 500 total points
ID: 34192921
Regarding the Microsoft Exchange Search Indexer failing to start - you mentioned that the error "The dependency service or group failed to start" is logged. If you look at Dependencies tab for the service you can find out which services the Search Indexer depends on.
 MS Exchange Search Indexer Dependencies
Check if those services are started (I pointed you before to check services with startup set to Automatic - however, Microsoft Search (Exchange) is normally set to Manual - my bad).

If they error out - post the error here.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 34323885
The problem of the  Microsoft Exchange Search Indexer service *did* get repaired by fixing the dependent service that was not running before it.  
However, I then got twice-hourly errors that the Microsoft Exchange Transport Log Search service was not running.  (This was repaired by changing its setting of "Manual" to "Automatic with Delayed Start".)  
I checked, but never changed anything in IIS.
ALL of this started from a Windows update on the server.  Sheesh.

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