[SOLVED] Windows Search (Indexer) Won't Start, Error 5

Nov 2, 2021
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Sometimes other errors depending on what fixes I try.

To make this quick, the problem started immediately upon trying to use TakeOwnership Context Menu to change permissions on the ProgramData folder (for unrelated reasons), which happens to contain the Windows Search data folders. I'm pretty sure the fiddling with permissions mucked something up.

What do I do?
 
Nov 2, 2021
7
0
20
1
I tried manually changing permissions to match the above with folders along the chain. I also tried suggestions for defaults found elsewhere, namely

SYSTEM - check all boxes except 'Special Permissions'
Administrators (xxxx\Administrators) - check all boxes except 'Special Permissions'
Users (xxxx\Users) - check Read & execute, List folder contents and Read.
This didn't seem to be working out, so I took harsher measures and removed the entire Data folder from PD>Windows>Search. Windows immediately replaced it and now the Windows Search/Indexer service starts, and the Index appears to be rebuilding itself. Following that, everything seems to work as it did.

Changing permissions did help me install iTunes however; one of the issues arising from this ordeal was that the installer couldn't write a shortcut to the Start Menu.

[Note: Since this approach worked, for any future troubleshooters with similar problem I might recommend the slightly-less brute force approach of setting a new index location through the indexing advanced options. I don't know if it would have worked in the present circumstances, but it's worth recording.]
 
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Nov 2, 2021
7
0
20
1
I followed the instructions above and tried restarting the service.

"The Windows Search service on Local Computer started and then stopped."

I have some confidence that nothing will work until whatever the malfunction with ProgramData is has been resolved. For example, I can't install iTunes at least in part because the installer errors when trying to access ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.

The index is located in ProgramData\Microsoft\Search. Clearly something in ProgramData is borked. Further evidence: when I navigate through the chain of folders ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\ Data\Applications\Windows\Projects\SystemIndex\... from the bolded on I periodically get a UAC permissions prompt, even though I may have confirmed it already just seconds ago. Sometimes, clicking back and forth between folders, I will get the error message

Code:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\ Data\Applications\Windows\Projects\SystemIndexis not accessible. Access is denied.
Then I'll try again and suddenly it's accessible.

To repeat: System Index will surely not work until I fix this ProgramData problem.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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Mar 25, 2010
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Sometimes other errors depending on what fixes I try.

To make this quick, the problem started immediately upon trying to use TakeOwnership Context Menu to change permissions on the ProgramData folder (for unrelated reasons), which happens to contain the Windows Search data folders. I'm pretty sure the fiddling with permissions mucked something up.

What do I do?
Need to reset the permissions back to default, messing with hidden system folders is not a good idea without a full known way to back out of them. The above thing about rebuilding the index may not work. Go through what you tried to change and reverse it, do a system restore to a point before you did this, or a Windows repair setup.
 
Nov 2, 2021
7
0
20
1
Need to reset the permissions back to default, messing with hidden system folders is not a good idea without a full known way to back out of them. The above thing about rebuilding the index may not work. Go through what you tried to change and reverse it, do a system restore to a point before you did this, or a Windows repair setup.
See, TakeOwnership works through the context menu, a single click, and that's what I did at the ProgramData level, because too often the per-folder security settings would not cooperate in the course of my activities. No idea how to reverse that. Somewhere to start might be if y'all could post pics of your default security settings for at least the Microsoft folder, and its Search folder children.
 
Nov 2, 2021
7
0
20
1
I tried manually changing permissions to match the above with folders along the chain. I also tried suggestions for defaults found elsewhere, namely

SYSTEM - check all boxes except 'Special Permissions'
Administrators (xxxx\Administrators) - check all boxes except 'Special Permissions'
Users (xxxx\Users) - check Read & execute, List folder contents and Read.
This didn't seem to be working out, so I took harsher measures and removed the entire Data folder from PD>Windows>Search. Windows immediately replaced it and now the Windows Search/Indexer service starts, and the Index appears to be rebuilding itself. Following that, everything seems to work as it did.

Changing permissions did help me install iTunes however; one of the issues arising from this ordeal was that the installer couldn't write a shortcut to the Start Menu.

[Note: Since this approach worked, for any future troubleshooters with similar problem I might recommend the slightly-less brute force approach of setting a new index location through the indexing advanced options. I don't know if it would have worked in the present circumstances, but it's worth recording.]
 
Last edited:

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