The Symptom

Let’s imagine you have uploaded a new document or file to your SharePoint. You have many users who need to access it, but they may not know where it is located. They are going to begin searching for it. In some instances, if you recently uploaded the document or file, it may not appear in the search results.

So you ask yourself, “Why is this happening?”

The Cause

First, a brief explanation of how Content Crawling Search Service works:

Search results are returned from the Search Service Applications content index based on your search query. This index contains content that has been crawled (seen) by the Search Service Application. This contains the text content and/or metadata for each of these content items. When you add new content, it will not be immediately available in the content index because the Search Service application has not yet crawled and indexed it.

The Fix

“So, how do I fix this?” you may ask.

Just follow these steps if you know where the content is located and need it available for search immediately:

    1. On you SharePoint Site, go to the Library where the content is located.
    2. In the Ribbon, click on Library, then click on Library Settings.
    3. From here, under General Settings, click on Advanced Settings.
    4. Scroll down and Click on ‘Reindex Document Library’. Click on Reindex on the prompt again to confirm this operation. This has now marked this Library as dirty and will force it to be crawled on the next Full or Incremental Crawl. You will not need to click Save to finish this step.
    5. If you are using SharePoint Server:
      • Open Central Admin, go to Application Management
      • Click on Manage Service Applications
      • Locate and click on the first ‘Search Service Application’. The link below this is for the proxy and will not load the next page we require.
      • Once the Search Service Application page loads, click on ‘Content Sources’ on the left.
      • From here, you could click on ‘Start all Crawls’ which will start an Incremental Crawl, but I like to be thorough. Hover over the Site we are running a crawl on. If there is only one, it will be labeled ‘Local SharePoint Sites’. Click on the drop down and choose ‘Start Full Crawl’.
      • You can periodically click on Refresh to view the progress of the crawl. Depending on the size of the site, this may take a good while to complete.
    6. If you are using SharePoint Foundation, you will not have access to the Search Service Application in Central Admin. But we can still complete this process this way:
      • Open Command Prompt.
      • Navigate to the SharePoint Hive Binary Directory. This is generally be ‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\15\BIN’.
      • From here, we are going to use the STSADM command to complete this: STSADM –o spsearch –action fullcrawlstart
      • You will receive no prompts on the progress of this activity. Just know that this may take a while to complete.
    7. In both versions of SharePoint, this process will consume high system resources while running a crawl. This will cause your site to slow to a crawl, and not a search crawl. For this reason, you have the option of standing up a Dedicated Search Server so it will not cause slowness. Alternatively, you can run this off hours or just deal with a slow site while it finishes.
    8. Now your content is indexed, and it will return the search results as needed.

Wow that’s a Lot of Reading – Watch this Video Instead!

If you would like to save yourself the hassle of doing this all the time, you can schedule crawls to run automatically—In fact, this is highly recommended. There are multiple ways to accomplish this, so I will provide a link for reference:

TechNet article from 2012: Manage crawling in SharePoint 2013

There is a wealth of information on this topic. As always, if you need any assistance we are happy to help here at If you liked this article, Link it, Share It, Subscribe. I plan on writing more in the future to help you plan your crawl schedule so that your fresh content is always indexed!