HOW TO: Configure Full-Text Indexing on Mailbox Stores in Exchange 2003

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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to configure full-text indexing on mailbox stores. Mailboxes are repositories for messages, documents, calendar items, and task lists for all the users in your organization. Exchange Server 2003 has the capacity to index the full text of all messages in any mailbox store. If you configure full-text indexing, users can quickly search for any word or phrase that occurs in the body of any item in their own mailbox.

Requirements

The following list outlines the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, and service packs that you require to configure full-text indexing on mailbox stores:
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 3 (SP3) or later
  • Active Directory
  • Exchange Server 2003
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002 or later
  • Microsoft Outlook 2000 or Microsoft Outlook 98 with the Quick Fix Engineering update
This article assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
  • Exchange System Manager
  • Indexing concepts, such as noise words, catalog (corpus), and incremental and full populations

How to Set System Resource Usage

Before you start the indexing process, configure the system resources that the indexing process will use. When you do so, the priority level of the indexing process is altered to increase or to decrease the chance that the indexing process will be preempted by other processes that may be running on the server.

Note When you change the indexing priority on the server, you may cause performance problems on the server.
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. If the Display administrative groups option is turned on, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand First Administrative Group (where First Administrative Group is the name of your administrative group).

    Note To display administrative groups, right-click Your_Organization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK two times, and then restart Exchange System Manager.
  3. Double-click Servers, right-click the server that hosts the storage group that contains the mailbox store that you want to configure, and then click Properties.
  4. Click the Full-Text Indexing tab, and then in the System resource usage list, click Minimum, Low, High, or Maximum, according to the priority level that you put on the indexing process.

    The default system resource usage setting is Low. Microsoft recommends that you use the default setting. A higher setting yields little benefit and may slow down user access to the computer that is running Exchange 2000.
  5. Click OK.

How to Create the Full-Text Index

To create a full-text index on users' mailboxes, create a separate index for each mailbox store. You must first decide what mailbox store contains the mailboxes that you want to index. To create the full-text index:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. If the Display administrative groups option is turned on, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand First Administrative Group (where First Administrative Group is the name of your administrative group).

    Note To display administrative groups, right-click Your_Organization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK two times, and then restart Exchange System Manager.
  3. Expand Servers, expand the server that hosts the storage group that contains the mailbox store that you want to configure, expand Your_Storage_Group_Name, right-click Mailbox Store (ServerName), and then click Create Full-Text Index.
  4. Click OK to accept the default path of the catalog. Alternatively, type another path, and then click OK.

    Note Depending on the types of files that you store, the size of your index may range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the size of your database. For optimal performance, you may want to place the index on its own disk.
  5. After the process has completed, under Mailbox Store, expand Full-Text Indexing. Six entries appear in the right pane. Confirm that the value for Index State states There is no full-text index for this store and that the value for Last Build Time states This catalog was never built.

How to Populate the Index

When you populate the index, the indexing process starts and produces a list of words that are held in the mailbox store database. These words are cross-referenced to the messages that contain the words. To populate the index:
  1. Right-click Mailbox Store (ServerName), and then click Start Full Population.

    You receive a message that states that the process will take some time. Microsoft recommends that you populate indexes when the Exchange 2003 computer is not being heavily used.
  2. When you are prompted to continue to start the population process, click Yes.

    You see activity on the Exchange 2003 computer while the index is created. After the activity has stopped, the new indexing statistics appear. This process may take from several minutes up to several hours, depending on the number of documents that are to be processed and the level of processing that is assigned to the indexing service.

How to Check the Index State

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. If the Display administrative groups option is turned on, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand First Administrative Group (where First Administrative Group is the name of your administrative group).

    Note To display administrative groups, right-click Your_Organization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK two times, and then restart Exchange System Manager.
  3. Expand Servers, expand the server that hosts the storage group that contains the mailbox store that you want to configure, expand Your_Storage_Group_Name, and then click Mailbox Store (ServerName).
  4. Click Full-Text Indexing, and then confirm that Index State is set to Idle and that values appear next to the Number of Documents Indexed box and the Index Size (MB) box.

    Note If the value for Index State is Crawling, an incremental or full population is in progress.

How to Configure Indexing and Allow Searches

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. If the Display administrative groups option is turned on, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand First Administrative Group (where First Administrative Group is the name of your administrative group).

    Note To display administrative groups, right-click Your_Organization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK two times, and then restart Exchange System Manager.
  3. Expand Servers, expand the server that hosts the storage group that contains the mailbox store that you want to configure, and then expand Your_Storage_Group_Name.
  4. Right-click Mailbox Store (ServerName), click Properties, and then click the Full-Text Indexing tab.
  5. In the Update Interval box, click the time that you want to perform an incremental update, and then click OK. Alternatively, click Customize, click the day that you want to update the index in the left column, click the time that you want to update the index on the top row, and then click OK.

    Note You can configure the schedule to display either 1-hour slots or 15-minute slots. To do so, click the appropriate setting under Detail View.
  6. Configure the settings for the rebuild interval.

    Note By default, a full rebuild is run one time a week.
  7. Click This index is currently available for searching by clients.

    Note If you do not click this setting, full-text searches are not carried out against this index.
  8. Click OK.

How to Confirm That You Have Configured Full-Text Indexing Correctly

The Index State statistics indicate whether indexing has been successful. However, to confirm that users can use the indexing functionality:
  1. Open Outlook, right-click the Inbox folder, and then click Advanced Find.
  2. Type a non-noise word in the Search for the word(s) box, and then click Subject field and message body in the In box.
  3. Click Find Now. Messages that contain the requested word are displayed in the bottom pane.

    Note To complete this procedure successfully, you must perform either an incremental population or a full population of the index after the relevant messages are added to the public folder. Also, noise words like "the" and "or" are excluded from the catalog because they occur too frequently.

Troubleshooting

Make sure that you have selected the This index is currently available for searching by clients check box. Outlook does not use the full-text index for message body searches unless you select this check box.

When you test the index, if you add a new message and then try to search for words that are in that message, you must first repopulate the index. To perform this test, follow the steps in the "How to Create the Full-Text Index" section of this article, but in step 4, click Start Incremental Population instead of Start Full Population.

Be aware of the effects of how you allocate system resources to rebuild indexes. A lower System resource usage setting does not necessarily mean that the server is less busy while it carries out a repopulation. If you select a lower setting, other tasks can preempt the repopulation process more easily. If processor resources on the server are not being used when you regenerate the index, all those resources are used even though the System resource usage setting is set to Minimum.

REFERENCES

For more information about how to configure full-text indexing in Exchange 2003, see the Exchange Server 2003 Resource Kit and Exchange Server 2003 Help.

For more information about deploying full-text indexing, you can download the Best Practices for Deploying Full-Text Indexing white paper from the Microsoft Download Center. The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
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Download the bestindexing_pdf.exe package now.

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Article ID: 822932 - Last Review: October 25, 2007 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster KB822932

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