Error: Search encountered problem that prevents results from being returned

Had a problem today with a search issue:

I tried to stop and restart the search service

net stop osearch15

net start osearch15

But that didn’t work

I then went to checked Central admin -> Service applications – > Search Service application for status on search components and I noticed an RED X next to query processing

So I rebooted the search server and then everything was back and running again.  Note you need to REFRESH the page and then you will get the new green status.

Aside: Yesterday, I got a request to check on one our SharePoint 2013 applications which has not been modified in last couple of months. The users were getting an error related to search…

Search has encountered a problem that prevents results from being returned. If the issue persists, please contact your administrator.

Correlation ID: 85a0bd9c-3615-f0f4-b26f-38cd545f34eb

Below are the debugging steps for such an error message:

1) Looked up the correlation id in ULS logs and found an error related to query processing
Saw an error related toaccess denied for the crawler account ( I knew this was not correct because we did not update or change any security related to this account)
2) Looked up event viewer for any error messages and the below showed up
w3wp.exe: All query processing components are in ‘Failed’ status.
w3wp.exe: Query processing component ‘net.tcp://nameoftheserver/D30C5C/QueryProcessingComponent1/ImsQueryInternal’ changes its status to ‘Failed’.
3) Checked Central admin -> Service applications – > Search Service application for status on search components
4) Notice an yellow exclamation mark next to query processing
5) Restarted SharePoint Administration, SharePoint Timer Service and SharePoint Administration services through services mmc
6) Went back to Central administration to see if the exclamation mark was gone. Nope. Was still there.
7) Went back to services and restarted the Search Host Controller service
8) Opened command prompt and ran the below commands
net stop osearch15
net start osearch15
9) Went back to Central admin and refreshed the search application page
10) Saw exclamation marks on all Search related components – did not feel good at this point
11) Refreshed the page and saw that each of the components were turning green now – felt better at this point
12) After few minutes all components were in green – felt really good at this point
13) Went to the actual site and performed a search – results came back and problem solved

If you see error messages related to search, do not reset the index or re-provision the search application. Sometimes a simple reboot might actually fix the problem.