SharePoint 2013 Search – crawl stuck ‘Starting’

Green Checks SharePoint 2013 Search Topology

I started working with SharePoint 2013 RTM today on a Windows 2012 Server. My initial project is to do with search so I quickly created a Search Service Application and performed the minimal configuration to begin crawling the ‘Local SharePoint sites’ content source. Everything looked good so I started a crawl on this source. I quickly realized that it was stuck in the ‘Starting’ state.
I had failed to notice that I was missing the green check marks indicating that the search components were running correctly. Here is what they should look like:

Green Checks SharePoint 2013 Search Topology

Green check marks indicating search components are running.

I had not encountered this issue with SharePoint 2013 Preview so did some reading. I found that a few people had issues with SharePoint 2013 Preview running on Windows 2008 R2 SP1. You may find this discussion useful if this is your configuration. In their case it appeared to be three specific Windows updates and KB2567680 which needed to be applied. In my case I was running Windows 2012 so this did not help. I ran Windows Updates but the 5 required were for Visual Studio. I ran them anyway and rebooted. After my reboot the search components came back fine and my initial crawl started and completed just fine. I don’t think the updates were relevant, I think it was just a reboot.
If your SharePoint 2013 crawl is stuck ‘Starting’ after initially setting up the Search Service Application look for the green check marks for each search component. If they are missing, a simple reboot could fix your problem.

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Chris Hines

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