Microsoft Index Server Problem Update -
I can't describe because I can't even remember all the things I've gone
through the last few days. Beyond a certain point my energies stop being
directed towards a specific problem and I start wandering wherever one
thing leads to the next. I don't keep track of these wanderings. But
they've included tar and find on both Linux and BSD, trying to figure out
how to allocate more disk space on both Linux and BSD looking at df and
mkfs and other file system related commands, and FTP on all systems.
I stumbled accross a simple shell script in O'Reilly,s UNIX Power Tools
that showed "ftp -n hostname" and then gave a user name and password.
A look at man ftp explained that this prevented ftp from attempting to
immediately log in which causes interactive prompts. It allows the
ftp user command to provide a user name and password that are used to
I've fiddled with scripting ftp before but was never able to surpress the
interactive username prompt. I quick check confirmed that this worked
with the NT command line ftp. This is the key piece that's been missing
and much of the reason I haven't spent time on automating my web site
synchronization. The O'Reilly sample depended on the shell scripts
here document capability. NT doesn't have a similar capability. Due to the
differences between csh, ksh and bash and NT not having any of these
natively, I'm increasingly doing things that I might previously done
in a shell or batch file in Perl, even if it's nothing other than tying
a series of system calls together. Using Perl like helps mitigate
dealing with differences between the various shells as I have
at roughly comparable versions of Perl on all my systems.
I know that Perl can redirect standard input and output to system commands
but couldn't remember how to do it. I tried my local Perl docs but
couldn't find what I wanted. I looked at my NT search function once
again and this time each search attempt said the document indexes were
corrupt. I think this is what I've seen that last couple times I've
tried but definitely not what was displayed when Index Server first
stopped indexing my primary site. I decided I couldn't do without this
search capability any longer, even if Index Server never indexes
I returned to the NT server and opened both the IIS and Index Server
management consoles. I clicked on Help but there are no Help contents
for either IIS or Index Server in MMC. As far as upgrading to Windows
2000 I'll re-reference the "burn me once" cliche and mention the "throwing
good money after bad" one as well. Someplace else I'll do a long discussion
of why Microsoft may be able to make limited improvements to Windows
stability but can never solve the underlying problems (registry
and bloated complex graphical management programs) without starting over.
Anyhow, without Help, I thought I'd stumble around MMC for a while and
see what I could find. It didn't take long to find something very odd.
In the directories defined in MMC for Index Server, my original primary
site root directory and all of the virtual directories for my Perl and
Java documentation were missing. One of the last things that I remember
doing when trying to get searching to work on the GeodSoft.com site
was to add its directory to this list. I certainly did not remove any
of these directories from the list. Also, the
failure to search on my primary site and its virtual directories
did not appear immediately when I made these changes.
How is it possible for the configuration of key system components like
these to change? I have no idea. What I do know other than to use
its file services via a mapped drive, I was hardly even on this NT server
and surely installed no software or made any system configuration changes.
Windows is the only system I've ever worked on where things like this
occur. Other systems you nearly always find a rational explanation
for the seemingly odd things that occur from time to time. With NT
the odd things occur much more frequently and you just shrug your
shoulders and don't expect to ever have an answer.
Putting the directories back caused no change. I then tried various
combinations of re scan and merge and stopping and starting different
parts of IIS and Index server. Nothing seemed to work.
I decided that after saving them elsewhere, I would erase all the
index files and see if Index Server would rebuild them. Even after
stopping the web service and ftp, I couldn't move or erase these files.
Then I noticed a Content Index service that I had never focused on
previously and stopped that. I'd set each of these services to manual start
with the intention of rebooting the server if necessary. Once I stopped
Content Index, I could move the old index files.
As soon as I restarted all three services, the NT server got quite busy
for a while. Files were being added to the catalog.wci directory
which is where the index files are stored. I tried a search and got
some results but also a message that the index was out of date. After
the server quieted down the index out of date message was no longer
displayed. Searching appeared to be back where it was before I
tried to index the GeodSoft.com virtual site. I could search my
documentation sets and primary site but not the GeodSoft.com
After copying some test Microsoft search forms into the GeodSoft
virtual site and adjusting paths so the correct .idq and .htx files
were found, searches still did not return anything from this site.
When I returned to MMC for Index Server, the GeodSoft root directory
was still there as well as the primary server root and virtual directories
that I had restored. There were also about 6 - 8 other directories that
had not been there a while before. Some were other virtual directories
to the primary site. Why these came back I don't know because I
thought I had marked them not be searched.
At this point I'll put index server aside for a while since its most
important function is working again. If I never get it work on GeodSoft.com
that says more about Microsoft products than it does about me.
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