How to manually delete a Full-Text Index


There was a post on the Microsoft.Public.Exchange.Admin newsgroup last month asking for assistance on how to manually delete a Full-Text Index as ESM was hanging when trying to delete the Full-Text Index.  I thought it would be advantageous to not only post the response on the Newsgroup, but also on the Exchange Team Blog.

Please note: this should be done only if you really need it!

Here are the steps that will/should delete the targeted Full-Text Index.
 
NOTE: You will not lose any Exchange data when deleting a Full-Text Index; you will just lose the index of the data.  Therefore, after deleting the Full-Text Index you will need to create a new Full-Text Index for the appropriate Exchange Store and start a Full Population.
 
1. Determine the name of the Full-Text Index you want to delete.  You can find this by expanding the appropriate Exchange Store in ESM and then selecting the "Full-Text Indexing" node.  There is a property named "Index name".  The value of this property, which usually looks something like priv23A953B4 or pub654AD8B, is the name of the Full-Text Index.

2. You should also note the Index Location for this Full-Text Index.
NOTE: This path is stored in the AD and is not updated if you have moved the Full-Text Index files after it was created.  You can use the MSSearch Administration Tool to determine the Working Directory and Gatherer Log path of the Full-Text Index:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=46fd5644-bd0d-4cfa-95f8-64ba34bde6a7&displaylang=en

3. Close all instances of ESM

4. Net Stop MSSearch

5. Open up regedit and drill down to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Search\1.0

6. Under this registry key you will want to delete every registry key which has the same name as the Full-Text Index you want to delete.  You may want to export these registry keys before deleting them to server as a backup.  Here are the registry keys that I found on my Exchange 2003 SP1 test server:

a. Applications\ExchangeServer_MyServer\Catalogs\priv23A953B4 
b. CatalogNames\ExchangeServer_MyServer\priv23A953B4 
c. Gather\ExchangeServer_MyServer\priv23A953B4 
d. Gathering Manager\Applications\ExchangeServer_MyServer\Projects\priv23A953B4 
e. Indexer\ExchangeServer_MyServer\priv23A953B4

7. You can now close regedit

8. Now open a command shell and navigate to the Working Directory of the Full-Text Index.  By default, this is "%PROGRAMFILES%\Exchsrvr\ExchangeServer_%COMPUTERNAME%\Projects".

9. In the Working Directory you should find a directory with the same name as the Full-Text Index.  Rename this directory to "<INDEXNAME>_OLD".

10. Now navigate to the directory that contains the Gatherer Logs for the Full-Text Index.  By default, this is "%PROGRAMFILES%\Exchsrvr\ExchangeServer_%COMPUTERNAME%\GatherLogs".

11. In the Gatherer Logs directory, delete all files that begin with the name of the Full-Text Index that you are deleting.

12. Net Start MSSearch

13. Open ESM

14. Drill down to the Exchange Store you want to create the Full-Text Index on, right-click on the store and select "Create Full-Text Index".

If all went well, you should go back to the Working Directory of the deleted Full-Text Index and delete the directory that was renamed to "<INDEXNAME>_OLD".
 
To find out more about Full-Text Indexing check out:
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/techinfo/deployment/2000/BestIndexing.asp
 
- Chris Ahlers

Comments (1)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Chris Ahlers posted on MS Exchange blog a very good step by step to manually rem

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