Error message when you perform a search query after you upgrade to the release version of Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: "Your search cannot be completed because of a service error"


Consider the following scenario. You upgrade a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Beta 2 Technical Refresh (TR) server to the release version of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. You turn on the Windows SharePoint Services Search service on the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 server. On the Manage Content Database Settings page, you associate the content database with a search server. When you visit the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 site and perform a search query, you receive the following error message:
Your search cannot be completed because of a service error.
Try your search again or contact your administrator for more information.
Additionally, the following event is logged in the Application log on the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 server:
Event Type:Error

Event Source:Windows SharePoint Services 3 Search

Event Category:Gatherer

Event ID:2424


Time:11:52:50 AM


Description: The update cannot be started because the content sources cannot be accessed. Fix the errors and try the update again.

Context: Application 'Search', Catalog 'index file on the search server Search'


This issue occurs when the service account for the Windows SharePoint Services Search service is configured to use the Network Service account. The search service account must not use a built-in account to access the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 database. An example of a built-in account is the Local Service account or the Network Service account.

This issue does not apply to Windows Small Business Server 2008.


To resolve this issue, in a non-SBS environment, use a configurable account for the Search Service account. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 server by using an account that has administrative permissions.
  2. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.
  3. On the Central Administration page, click Operations.
  4. Under Services on the Services on Server: ServerName page, click Windows SharePoint Services Search.
  5. Next to Service Account on the Configure Windows SharePoint Services Search Service Settings on server: ServerName page, select Configurable.
  6. Type a user account and password that has access to the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 database, and then click OK.
Note: Any time the user account's password is changed, the password will need to be updated within Sharepoint 3.0 Central Administration. As an alternative, you can configure the account to prevent the password from expiring and being changed using the following steps.
  1. In Active Directory Users and Computers, view the Properties of the user account.
  2. On the Account tab, set the following account options.
  3. Uncheck User must change password at next login.
  4. Check the option User cannot change password.
  5. Check the option Password never expires.
  6. Click OK.

To resolve this issue in a SBS 2008 environment, please follow the steps detailed in:

896861 You receive error 401.1 when you browse a Web site that uses Integrated Authentication and is hosted on IIS 5.1 or IIS 6

For details on this error and Event Id 2436 in SBS 2008, please check the following article: