Quick tip on troubleshooting SharePoint 2010 People Search

Once you get started with Search on SharePoint 2010 you realize that much hasn’t changed in our ways of doing things in the MOSS 2007 times (some of us still doing it, not all our clients have made the leap, despite all the bells and whistles).

Problem statement

Let’s assume that you install SharePoint 2010 (btw: here I’m talking about the Server, not the Foundation) and you might have realized that 1st time, after the configuration wizard, you end up with having a new Web Application created for you and being asked already to choose a site collection template for it. That web application usually uses the machine name so there’ll be something like http://mymachinename.

I usually skip that step and already delete that web application. The main reason is that I like to have control over what’s going on. I personally do not like using the hostnames for SharePoint applications, so I define them either in DNS (if running on Windows Server) or the HOSTS file (if I’m on a workstation such as Windows 7), so my URLs will look like http://sharepoint.local or http://mysite.sharepoint.local

So assuming you re-created a new Web Application (and give it a DNS name instead of a HOST name) and also created your new site collection and even added a Enterprise Search Center to it (only this one has the People tab, and for it you need to have the Publishing Infrastructure features activated at Site Collection level and also Top-Level Site), run a Full Crawl and suddenly you notice that even though you have lots of pages in the regular site search (or the “All Sites” tab), you have no results in the People tab.

So start investigating what is going on, by looking at crawl logs to see if any People have been crawled. To do that you go in Central administration, then Application Management and Manage Service applications

The next step is to click on the Search Service application (if you used the Configuration Wizard the name will be just like bellow, however if you created a new Search Service application and given a different name, make sure you locate that one, what is important though – to be Configured and Started).

Once clicked on it (or choose the Manage button in the Ribbon) you will notice the very familiar interface as with MOSS 2007 (we will focus on Content Sources and Scopes).

Click on “Crawl Log” in the left side and notice whether there have been any Errors or Warning messages.

It is obvious that something went wrong and clicking on the Top-level Errors or Errors, gets you to next screen where you can realize that the URL is wrong. This is your clue that in the Content Source identified by “Local SharePoint Sites” you must update the URLs.

The thing is that during creation of the web application, right after the Configuration wizard, SharePoint 2010 also added the URL for crawling in the “Local SharePoint Sites” shared Search Scope (highlighted in next screen).

How to fix it

If it happens that you do not re-create the Web application to match the URL you won’t be able to Crawl the People search, as that must be added manually (my last entry in the same screen above, shows the modified URl specific to People search sps3://SharePoint.sh, where sharepoint.sh is my new path and SPS3 it what identifies the People search and not regular pages/sites search).

Now you must run the Full Crawl on the Content Source just updated (or wait for the next automatic updated, if you did established the Schedule, or did you not??)

Hope it helps others on the investigation path,
C. Marius

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