Office Server Search Service cannot be started because it does not exist.(Object reference not set to an instance of an object)

Office Server Search Service cannot be started because it does not exist.

One of the most simple problems I’ve seen lately is :

Why can’t I start the Office Server Search Service in my MOSS install.I have the right key , the right CD and the latest fixes.I installed it and it is simply not there.

I have checked the NT Services and the service is there but Even if I start it it does nothing

What should I do?

As you can probably guess, there’s nothing wrong with your PC or Cd or key, you simply did not installed the server in the correct way to receive all the services.

One quick check:


Do not edit the registry unless you have no alternative. The registry editor bypasses standard safeguards, allowing settings that can damage your system, or even require you to reinstall Windows. If you must edit the registry, back it up first and see the Registry Reference.




Open regedit and check the value under the following key :

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\12.0\WSS\


Possible options:




Each option means :

WFE - Windows SharePoint Services Web Application (no search , no excel, no ssp, no cool stuff J, just web server)

APPLICATION – Everything (and you can add the server to a farm)

SINGLESERVER – Everything (but you cannot add the server to a farm , and most probably you have MSDE or SQL Server Express on the box too)

To change the installation mode for the server (even if you managed to create webapplications and set-up your sharepoint config db), here’s the procedure:

Detach the server from the farm

Uninstall Sharepoint

Reboot the server

Re-install Sharepoint in Advanced mode and select your desired server role.

Run the configuration wizard and re-attach the server to the original farm (config_db)

You should get the applications back and everything else in place, as they were but with new services in the farm.


Joel Oleson has a very concise explanation on what are the server roles, enjoy.