My Client upgraded their SharePoint from 2013 to 2016 and from a standalone server to a 2-tier environment. (1 x DB server + 1 x App/Web server) The Search did work for a while, but now it stopped working. It does the index and crawling, but when searching there is no results. The crawl log shows 72k errors, much more than the 1k Successes. In the 'Crawled Properties' and managed Properties windows, it does not show any managed property entry and only has 'An unknown error occurred' in red at the top of the screen. Opening 'Launch query builder' also gives: Error: Not able to connect to search service to retrieve valid settings'. Can I delete the Search Service Application and rebuild it?

3 Answers 3


Take the back up of all search service application databases - mostly 3 to 4 database will be there, you will get these details from the search service administration page of central admin... then click on the index reset link from the crawling section. Then, restart the search service from Windows service and run the full crawl.

If it still does not fix the issue, you may re-create the service application.

Using the below PowerShell also search service can be reset:

(Get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceApplication).reset($true, $true)

For details steps, you may refer to the below article:

Reset Search Index in SharePoint 2013 using Powershell

  • Thank you Habibur. Should I go with the option to recreate the Search Service application, will it affect my current managed metadata?
    – Heste
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 13:54
  • 1
    Before going for recreation try with reset index, followed by the restart the search service and full crawl if doesn't work this... you can go with recreating the search service application.. but in that case need to take necessary backup of all databases... mostly SA databases and MMS database.
    – SP 2022
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 14:06
  • Thanks, I did an Index reset and full crawl but without restarting the search service. Will try that and if not working, I'll do the recreating of ssa.
    – Heste
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 14:22

You could go to search administration page to check the status of six search components and whether any error message in the page. In addition, you could check ULS logs for more details about error. Investigating logs will help to understand the problem.

Of course you could choose delete the Search Service Application then rebuild it.

  • Thank you Emily. If I delete the SSA, will it affect my managed metadata?
    – Heste
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 13:53

I've deleted the current Search Service Application (made sure the app pool is also deleted) and recreated the SSA. Everything is working as it should.

The error I got when opening 'Launch query builder' also gives: Error: Not able to connect to search service to retrieve valid settings' - it pointed to the previous server, that is why it gave an error message.

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