How does Exchange search work


I'm trying to understand how Exchange 2007 search function works. From what I can see, there is a full-text index catalog and also a full-text index catalog directory, but I have no idea what they do, and if they are per DB, per mailbox etc, and how they fit into everything.

Could someone expand?
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:

Links given by you are really helpful
kam_ukAuthor Commented:
Thanks, yes great links....

I'm still not sure what the full-text index catalog/ full-text index catalog directory do though and if there are multiple files (per mbx) or one per DB etc? What are the actual files called?
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There is a single search catalog per mailbox database.  If you look in the folder where the Exchange DB resides, you'll see sub-folder named CatalogData-<guid>.   This is the location of the search index files.  There are a bunch of files in there that combine to make the single search catalog.  So, to answer your questions:  

- One search catalog per DB
- There are multiple files per search catalog, but these files are not tied to particular mailboxes. There is many files because that somehow speeds up searches.
- The catalog directory is the folder mentioned earlier that holds all the many files used to make the search catalog.

This is at least how I understand things.  If I'm incorrect, someone please set me straight.

kam_ukAuthor Commented:
Great, thanks a lot, makes things clearer :-)

A couple of further questions before I close this out -

i. If we delete the search catalog folder, does this mean that users in online mode can't search? I've read that they will instead perfrom a Store Search, rather than Exchange Search, but not sure what that means.

ii. Am I correct in thinking that users in Cached Outlook mode don't use the search catalog on Exchange at all, instead they use files on their local PC?

iii. Can users in Online/OWA manually switch to Exchange Store search if there was was problem with Exchange Search?
kam_ukAuthor Commented:
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