The Windows 2000 Index Server

Windows 2000 Indexing Service 3.0 is a base service that extracts content from files and produces an indexed catalog file (the service requires Win2K Professional, Server, Advanced Server, or DataCenter Server). The Indexing Service, with the indexed catalog file, facilitates efficient searching. Indexing Service 3.0 provides file system and Web site content indexing. This characteristic is an important distinction and one of the Indexing Service's great new features. Historically, Windows NT 4.0 Index Server indexed only Web-server content.

Win2K Indexing Service 3.0 creates indexed catalogs for file-system and virtual-Web content and properties. Indexing Service can extract both text and property information from files on the local host and on remote, networked hosts. The software extracts content with a concept called filtering that uses filter components that understand a file's format, which could include multilanguage features such as international languages and locales. Win2K supplies filters for Microsoft Office files, HTML and Active Server Pages (ASP) files, MIME messages, and plain-text files. But third-party software companies, such as Adobe, provide filters for other file formats, such as PDF files.

Win2K doesn't automatically run the Indexing Service in a default installation. The first thing you need to do is start the Indexing Service. Make sure you're authenticated on a Win2K system with sufficient permissions to configure a service (i.e., as an Administrator). Run the Computer Management tool (Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Computer Management). Navigate to the Services and Applications snap-in. Click Services, then navigate down to the Indexing Service.

You can quickly and easily start the service by right-clicking Indexing Service, then clicking Run, or by clicking Run on the toolbar. You can also start the Indexing Service from the General tab of the Properties dialog box. Right-click Indexing Service, and select Properties. Go to the General tab and click Start. Start the Indexing Service. (You might notice a flurry of disk activity as the system builds or updates the default index catalogs.)

You'll most likely want the Indexing Service to automatically start when your Win2K system comes up. Configure the service to auto-start by right-clicking Indexing Service, then clicking Properties. On the General Properties tab, change the Startup Type to Automatic.

Before you leave the General Properties tab, pay special attention to the Path to Executable field. Its value will be similar—if not identical—to C:\WINNT\System32\cisvc.exe. Now run the Task Manager by clicking Ctrl-Alt-Delete and selecting Task Manager. Click the Processes tab; locate it with cisvc.exe name (and its associated daemon(s) cidaemon.exe). This is where you can choose to monitor the Indexing Service (its CPU use, memory consumption, etc.) by its Image name. Server monitoring and performance is an important consideration for your Indexing Service implementation. Full builds of large Indexing Server Catalogs can burden your Win2K system. You won't want to perform full builds of massive index catalogs on megabytes, maybe terabytes, of data during peak production hours because doing so might force your server to its knees.

The Win2K Indexing Service is a powerful service that you can use to simply, quickly, and easily provide search utility to your intranet, extranet, or Internet applications. If you have experience with previous versions of Index Server, you'll agree that this search feature has dramatically improved since its NT 4.0 predecessor, which was nothing more than Microsoft Office Fast Find on steroids.

In the June issue of IIS Administrator, I discuss Win2K Indexing Service in more depth. Visit the Windows 2000 Magazine IIS Administrator Web site to find out more about this print newsletter.

You'll find another great resource on the MSDN Web site.

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