Why Search Server Express(SSE) instead of Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) search?
SSE provides a number of benefits over the built in WSS search. You are basically getting the paid enterprise search from MOSS without the licensing fees. It gives you the ability to search multiple scopes/site, have a central search site location, improved crawling, and many other features.
Installation: Download Search Server 2008 Express here. It is important to make sure that Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with SP1 or higher is installed (at the time of this blog SP2 is available). If you have a clean version of WSS 3.0 with SP1 or SP2 then downloading SSE and following Microsoft’s directions will probably be pretty successful for you. However, if a hotfix has been applied to WSS or something else has complicated the install on your server then it is likely that you will run into issues. One of the more common error messages received is:
CHECK ONLINE TO SEE IF SOLUTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE MICROSOFT WEBSITES. IF SOLUTIONS ARE FOUND, WINDOWS WILL AUTOMATICALLY DISPLAY A WEBSITE THAT LISTS STEPS YOU CAN TAKE. YOU MUST INSTALL OFFICE SHAREPOINT SERVER 2007 - PLEASE READ MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: 962935 WITH THE MOST RECENT SERVICE PACK. OFFICE SHAREPOINT SERVER 2007 - PLEASE READ MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: 962935 WITHOUT SERVICE PACKS HAS A KNOWN COMPATIBILITY ISSUE WITH THIS VERSION OF WINDOWS
This error message seems crazy, because we are using WSS 3.0 (free version) with no intention of installing MOSS (licensed version), but as I said before Search Server Express has a lot of the capabilities of MOSS, and because of this Search Server Express needs some of the Service Pack files from MOSS.
Correcting the problem with a slipstream install:
The solution to that error message is to put the files that SSE needs from MOSS into the updates folder. In order to accomplish this, follow these steps (note that some of the command line commands might be slightly different as I have my commands specific to the x86 files rather than x64):
- Verify that you have WSS 3.0 with SP2 installed. Additionally it is important that you have already set up a WSS site. If you have not then your default homepage will be a SSE page rather than the WSS team site that most people prefer as the main page.
- Download MOSS SP2 and SSE (if you don’t already have it). It will make the next few steps easier if you put them in the same directory. I put them both in C:\
- Open a command window and navigate to the folder in which you saved the two previous files.
- Issue the following commands:
- SearchServerExpress.exe /extract:c:\SSEslipstream This command will put all of the information from the exe in a folder in your c:\ drive called slipstream
- officeserver2007sp2-kb953334-x86-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract:c:\SSEslipstream\updates This command will place the needed files from the MOSS SP2 in the updates folder. This is the folder that is used by Microsoft to automatically install updates when installing base software.
- Verify that the extract worked correctly. If everything went well then you will have the following files in your WSSslipstream folder:
And more importantly the updates folder should look something like this:
- Open up WSSslipstream and run setup.exe and you should see the following screen
- Select Run the Search Server Preparation Tool. On the next screen select next. If that runs through to completion you should be back at the main screen
- Now choose Install Search Server
- On the next screen you need to choose the type of installation you will need to do. This is dependent on your farm. If you did a basic installation of WSS 3.0 you will only have one choice. If your configuration database is on a separate server then choose Web Front End. If everything is located on one server then choose Complete.
- Go to File Location tab and choose the directory that you want your index files to be saved to.
- Click Install Now, and the install should go smoothly, and you will just have to do the needed configuration to add the SSE page to your existing WSS site.
I hope this helps you integrate the very useful SSE search onto WSS successfully. Feel free to comment or contact me with any questions.