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SharePoint 2010 Search-Method failed with unexpected error code 3

I run into very interesting problem when trying to modify the topology of my search service application. I was basically trying to move my administration component and index role to another server in the same farm, but the wizard kept crashing with TimerJob timeout error.

When looking at my target server (where I was trying to place my admin and index role), the search service would be in status Error Staring and the application server log would show

Search Method failed with unexpected error code 3.

I then tried out old friend

stsadm.exe -o osearch -action start but to no avail. Same error message. Off course, no amount of reboots and timer service restarts helped either.

Finally, I found this blog that talked about the underlying file structure and the share that’s being configured. Sure enough, my folder structure under D:Index_Files was missing, even though the share still existed.

The fix:

  1. Copy folders from working index server under D:Index_files, or wherever you are pointing your index files on your particular search service application (namely Config and Office Server folders)
  1. On command line, run psconfig -cmd secureresources (this will apply security on these folders automatically)
  2. On command line, run stsadm -o osearch -action start (your search service should now be able to start)
  3. Finally apply your topology changes

Moral of the story: when all else fails, look at the simple stuff first :)

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