Category Archives: FAST Search

Unable to connect the Search Services

I’ve already setup the environment correctly base on the Technet guide.

The farm topology is 1 WFE, 1APP (which runs the Search Service Instance), 1 SQL and 1 Fast Search server.

This error happen after few months of system commission.

Whenever hitting a keyword via the Search Box, this error “Unable to connect the search services” kept throwing.


After checking the server system time, i noticed that there is 5++ mins difference between APP Server and Fast Search Server. This time difference will cause the web service call to fail!!

Hence, please ensure that your Search Service Instance server and the FAST Search are in synch with the time. I’ve heard that there is this NTP for servers to synch up the time. You may explore it in detail yourself =)


FAST Search for SharePoint – First Search Slow


First search, after system idle for a while,  takes a long long time to return results.  This happens not only after IISReset (of course IISRESET does cause this issue, however, that’s not my case). Subsequent searches are much much faster. This happens after server idle for a certain period (which i do not know – Hopefully any expert can enlighten me on this =). Windows tried to retrieve a current list of root certificates to verify the validity of the certificate with updated information.Apparently, based on this KB, the problem arises due to verification on the Root Certificate of SharePoint (SPCertificateValidator.Validate).


You refer to the KB for the steps. I should not duplicate the content as that’s not the point here. What my point is to compare the two approaches.

My recommendation is to follow Step 1 which is to manually add the SharePoint Root Certificate into your SharePoint Trust Root Certification store.

Why? Adding the root certification in anyway will help the performance of your SharePoint application. When it comes to intranet application, the web server does not have access to the Internet (don’t be surprise!). What you will get is just a connection failure and do mind that there is Times Out request which will halt and slow down your application.

Why not Step 2 – Disable the automatic update of root certificates on the SharePoint Servers? This step requires you to edit the local policy setting and you may need to submit a request on such modification (for audit purposes). If your SharePoint server is joint to an existing Domain, the policy is pushed down by AD and that adds more difficulty in requesting for a change in existing policy setting. My Sincere two cents from vendor point of view.

FAST Search Keyword Query with Scope using Powershell

Just wanted to share the following script of mine. Hope it helps.


#-scope : The search scope that you defined in Central Admin

#-keyword: Keyword to search.

[string]$scope = $null,
[string]$keyword = $null

if($keyword -eq "")
Write-Host "You must key in the Keyword"

$proxy = Get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceApplicationProxy
$query = New-Object Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Query.KeywordQuery($proxy)
$query.QueryText = $keyword
if($scope -ne $null)
$query.HiddenConstraints = "scope:`"" +$scope + "`""

#Add any properties you would like to return here
$query.SelectProperties.Add("title") | Out-Null
$query.SelectProperties.Add("url") | Out-Null

$query.ResultTypes = [Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Query.ResultType]::RelevantResults
$query.RowLimit = 100
$query.ResultsProvider = [Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Query.SearchProvider]::FASTSearch

Write-Host "Executing keyword search..."
$results = $query.Execute()

$relevants = $results["RelevantResults"]
#Or you can use [Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Query.ResultType]::RelevantResults instead
Write-Host "Total " $relevants.TotalRows " results"
Write-Host ""

Do note that this script is trying to make FAST Search query. If you are using SharePoint Enterprise Search, please change the ResultsProvider to SharePointSearch

Note also this is not FQL, i tried using “$query.EnableFQL = $true” and the scope didn’t work.

Search Request was unable to connect to the search services

Search return error intermittently.

In my case, it’s about 50% chance to get this error message every time when i perform a search in FAST Search center.

My environment setup is one Web Front End ( which doesn’t run the osearch14 search service ) , one App, one FAST search server and one SQL database.

After verifying the steps from microsoft. All steps are checked and error still persist.

If you are having the same problem, check if your WFE is running “Site Query and Setting Services” under Central Administration > Application Management > Manage services on servers : change the server to your Web Front End.
Turn it off and the error is now gone! Hurray!

FAST Search for SharePoint 2010: Query return “The search request was unable to connect to the Search Service”

This error thrown when you perform search on FAST Search Center. Firstly, make  sure you follow the steps from MS here.

After setting up the Query SSA, you need to generate Security Token Certification from SharePoint and install it on FAST Search Server.

In my case, i was carelessly installed the wrong copy of certification.

Check this out from Microsoft.

To ensure you install the correct certificate, you can simply check the thumbprint of the certificate.

How to check the thumbprint for both servers.


Execute the following Powershell command (run as administrator)


You shall see the thumbprint display in your console. Write it down somewhere just to make sure you can easily remember it.

FAST Search Server

On the FAST Search server.

  1. Run MMC from the Windows Start menu.
  2. Select File > Add or Remove Snapin.
  3. Select Certificates in Available snap-ins and Add.
  4. Select Computer account then Local computer. Click Finish and OK.
  5. Expand Certificates (local Computer).
  6. Expand Trusted People.
  7. Expand Certificates.
  8. Double-click SharePoint Security Token Service.
  9. On Details tab, browse to Thumbprint to get the thumbprint id.

This error took me 1 hour plus to solve. Thanks to my careless mistake.

Connection to contentdistributor FQDN:13391 could not be validated. Check your certificates and ssa configuration and make sure that instance of FAST Search Server backend is running.

Congratz! You are at the right place!

I encountered this issue when executing the  SecureFASTSearchConnect.ps1.

I tried the following steps provided by Microsoft HERE and it still didn’t work!

If you have not read the KB, they basically tell you to replace the certificate, and reconfigure the FAST Search Connector to use port 13391.. well you have to at least ensure that the parameters keyed-in are correct. SSA name, Domain user account (which is used to run osearch14 services account, if your environment is 3 tier, please check the one that is running the SSA. Mine is at App Server).

Let’s assume that your search service is running on App server, you can double check the connection between the server running the OSEARCH14 service and FAST Search by running the following command at App server Powershell.

Ping-SPEnterpriseSearchContentService -HostName [FQDN]:13391 where [FQDN] is the fully qualified domain name of your FAST Search server

In my case, it is FALSE! all the time.

The cause of this connection failure is due to too many Trusted Root Certification Authorities in both my Apps Server and FAST Server.

Fire up “Run” and enter “mmc”,

File > Add/Remove Snap In (or Ctrl + M)

Select Certificate > Computer Account > Local Computer > Click Finish,

Click Ok again

Navigate to Certificate > Trusted Root Certification Authority  > Certificates

[Refer here for detail steps]

Remove unnecessary certificates.

After trimming down the number of certificate. The connection now worked!! =)


Well, if you still having problem, my suggestion is to UNINSTALL AND REINSTALL your SharePoint and FAST Search all over again. Reason being is that the installation of SharePoint could be affected by the hardening which will not throw you any message or other software that imports unnecessary trusted root certification authorities to you server.