Let me save you a lot of pain. From everything that I have found to this point, Search Server Express CANNOT be installed on SBS 2008. I have tried to get it working many, many different ways and have never had any success. I have asked Microsoft support how to get it working and they couldn’t help. I had some highly regarded contacts in the SBS community attempt to get answers from Microsoft as well but to no avail.
How can this be? Search Server Express is built on SharePoint technology and would make a fantastic addition to an SBS 2008 server yet it won’t install and worse, when you attempt to uninstall it after a failed installation, it blows up the existing SharePoint installation. How can this be? Search Server Express works fine in a stand alone installation but yet on SBS 2008 it all goes pear shaped.
So rather than go through the misery yourself here’s what happens.
1. You install Search Server Express on SBS 2008 and everything look sweet until the SharePoint Products and Technology Configuration Wizard runs. At about step 6 you get the following nasty error.
2. Realizing the error of you ways you go into Control Panel and remove Search Server Express.
3. Search Server Express uninstalls successfully but now when you attempt to access http://companyweb you see something like:
4. Now you start to sweat. You try maybe resetting IIS and attempt to access http://companyweb again and now you see:
Indicating no web sites there at all.
5. As the panic rises you try and access the SharePoint Central Administration site which only results in the following message:
Which means that uninstalling Search Server Express has effectively uninstalled SharePoint from your SBS 2008 system!
6. This now means you have to get SharePoint back and working.
Now it becomes a question of can you restore SharePoint? How was SharePoint being backed up? What method are you going to use to restore SharePoint to where it was before you attempted installing Search Server Express? I can tell you that you are in for some fun and games if you aren’t prepared for it.
So why doesn’t Search Server Express work on SBS 2008? I don’t know. Why doesn’t Microsoft provide some guidance on install Search Server Express on SBS 2008? I don’t now either. All I know is don’t try to install Search Server Express on SBS 2008 because you’ll end up in a world of pain.
I’m still working on a solution and when I find it I’ll let you know.