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What could that message stem from? Any quick tips to diagnose?

Single server farm, remote SQL. IT guys in another location, I have no VPN for access to SCAW (Central Administration Web) .

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The indexing server or sharepoint search services might be stopped unexpectedly. Try restarting them from Services MMC. If that doesn't work, reset IIS.

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Without access to Central Admin, it is not really possible to diagnose.

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This is really a comment, not an answer to the question. Please use "add comment" to leave feedback for the author. – Stuart Pegg Aug 15 '12 at 16:31
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. – John Chapman Oct 16 '12 at 17:46
No, it is an answer. In this particular users situation, he is unable to access the important aspects of SharePoint required to diagnose the issue. Nothing can be done aside from speculate. – Nat Oct 16 '12 at 20:25

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