How to search content on a file server using SharePoint 2010 search

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Normally, the SharePoint 2010 Search service is configured to index content in your SharePoint Site Collection(s). But what if you want to index files on the file server and let users search from one centralized location? This can be solved by creating a "New Content Source".


Open SharePoint Central Administration and select "Manage service applications" under "Application Management.

application management

Find and select the "Search Service Application". 

search service application

Click "Content Sources". 


Select "New Content Source".

new content source

Give the new content source name. Then select the "File Shares" radio button. In the "Start Address", enter the UNC path to the share (or subfolder within a share) that you want to index. Normally you would allow crawling of subfolders, but if you want finer control of what gets indexed, you can specify individual folder names using the "Only crawl the folder of each start address" option."

my file share

Now it's time to configure a crawl schedule, but before setting those, check the "Start full crawl of this content source checkbox". (You can check the box after configuring the schedules, but I won't be showing the screenshot again.) 

create schedule

Full Crawl Schedule

You can choose any schedule you like for complete crawls (complete refresh of content). I like to start with monthly and adjust from there if needed. (I have never needed to change it.)

manage schedules

Incremental Crawl Schedule

This is what feeds the search indexes with new content, which you will want kept pretty much in (near) real-time. How often depends on a combination of system resources and needs. I have always felt that hourly incremental crawls were adequate. For an hourly incremental search crawl configure as follows:

incremental schedule

Going forward your File Server content will be included in your SharePoint search results. Go ahead and try it out. (Depending on the size of the file share, you may have to wait a bit for the initial full crawl to complete.)

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Rob Fisch Rob Fisch has worked with SQL Server since version 6.5 as a dba, developer, report writer and data warehouse designer.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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