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Windows Search Indexer on Server 2008

Posted on 2013-05-14
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Last Modified: 2013-05-29
I am currently fighting an issue with the windows Search feature in server 2008.  Last week my Drive space on this partition suddenly started shrinking very quickly.  I found 45GB of data here:  

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Projects\SystemIndex\Indexer\CiFiles

I did some research and it was suggested to rebuild the index.  So I reset the the default index setting and and clicked rebuild.  4 days later the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications is back up over 26GB and growing.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this issue?  Can I limit the size of the index?  What happens if I disable windows search on this file server?  Will that affect the ability to search for the users?

There seems to be a lot of people that have had this issue, but no real solution other that removing the role, but if that affects the ability to search for the users doesn't it defeat the purpose of having it installed on a file server?  Thanks for any advice you can provide.
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Question by:DaveIsHere08
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Expert Comment

by:penguinjas
ID: 39166238
That actually seems like a small index size but it really depends on how much data you are indexing. I indexed 3 TB and my index size was 500 GB.  If you limit the indexing service to a set size then that means you only want to index a portion of your data, not all of it and then why index at all because you won't know what is indexed and what isn't.  

I would add more drive space, if possible add disks and point the index to the new location.  If this isn't an option you can limit what is indexed by selecting specific directories which will also reduce the size of the index.

As for disabling indexing, it will affect the search for users on Windows Vista and 7 machines and if you do my documents redirection or add folders to users document libraries they will stop working unless they are indexed.
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by:McKnife
ID: 39166643
You should modify what filetypes are fully indexed (and not only by name). This can be done in indexing options - sorry, I have no server with installed index service right here to further guide you. But you should be able to reduce the index size by this action. Please judge for yourself what you will lose doing so.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39168455
I guess my confusion comes into the fact that the drive space was consistent on this partition up until late last week when it started to rapidly decrease.  The only thing that happened during the past 2 weeks is a reboot.  Not sure why the indexer would grow so big all of a sudden.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39171648
So i removed a few shares and the items indexed is decreasing steadily, down about 500k files, but the index size keeps growing.  Should I rebuild the index again?

If I decide to move it, when I change the directory  in the indexing options and restart the service does it start a fresh index or does it moves the files over resulting in me having to manually delete the old directory?
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 39172021
> the [number of] items indexed is decreasing steadily, down about 500k files, but the index size keeps growing
This is strange. Please see if the indexing is completed, take a note of the number of indexed files and do some statistics to share with us. For example: today: 2 million files, 30 GB index, tomorrow 2.01 million files xx GB index...
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39172308
Yesterday at 4:00

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\ (this includes the CiFIles and edb)
33.5GB
Index at 2,242,510 files

Today at 1:00
Directory C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\
38.8GB
Index at 1,595,702

The windows EDB File seems to be holding steady but the CIFiles Directory grew 3GB from this morning.


I am going to have to do something soon as it is eating away at the free disk space on that drive.  I am wondering if I should rebuild it again since I removed those directories to see if that clears it up.
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by:McKnife
ID: 39172323
Again: was the indexing finished or in progress yesterday?
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by:penguinjas
ID: 39172349
yes try rebuilding it after making the changes you made.

I changed the index location in the past, I don't recall having to remove the old location.  You can change the location and restart the index service and monitor to see if you reclaim the space on the C: drive.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39172415
My assumption is it is still indexing as now the number is going back up, and it states 'indexing speed is reduced due to user activity'  Obviously with this being a file server that number will continue to grow so I don't think it will ever be complete. Thinking I will start a rebuild and see where it goes.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 39172478
I would not rebuild right away. I would have a look at what files are indexed and whether indexing their contents really makes sense, first.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39172481
Now if  a folder is not in the indexing options list to be indexed, will it still be indexed if the file properties of the folder is checked to 'Index this folder for faster searching'?
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 39172558
There is no such checkbox if I am not mistaken. What you are talking about could be "allow files in this folder to have contents indexed in addition to file properties". If that is checked, it only gets active if the folder is on the list.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39172571
The option exist under folder properties, Advanced attributes-Archive and Index Attributes
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by:McKnife
ID: 39172644
Ah, I see, this was different in 2008. I am looking at these pictures here: http://www.istartedsomething.com/20061202/hide-inappropriate-content-vista/
You can see that it should have the same effect. That means, folders with that checkbox set should be in the index list, if they aren't, I don't know what's going on.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39173369
I guess the question is what overrides what.  If I add shares to the index list, they should be indexed; however, if a folder has that checkbox marked but IS NOT in a share or folder that is to be indexed within the index options, what happens?
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 39173383
I am tempted to trust the article although you should of course confirm it yourself: "An alternative to digging inside the search index is to flag specific folders to be not indexed" - the flagging is the checkbox.

Edit: meaning "no override" but alternative=equal.
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Author Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39188924
So the index seems to steady for a while then started growing again.  I have moved it to a new location and began rebuilding it to see how big it actually gets.  Should know more in a few days.
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Accepted Solution

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DaveIsHere08 earned 0 total points
ID: 39195545
After moving it to a new location it finally completed the index and is only 16GB.  i am thinking the previous index was corrupted, and moving it and forcing a rebuild in a new location cleaned it up.
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Author Closing Comment

by:DaveIsHere08
ID: 39203957
The combination of the rebuild and location change forced the index to be cleaned up.  The index gets rebuilt when it is moved.
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