Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express Part 1: Installation 101

I am a huge fan of free software.  I think that there are tons of great free software packages available: WordPress, Ubuntu, Microsoft SharePoint Foundation, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 ExpressPicasa, TeraCopy and many more.  When most people hear FREE software, they hear Open Source.  However, not all free software is open source.  One of the absolute greatest free software packages available for you to use today is Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express.  Any association, nonprofit, charity, school or company can use this software to significantly improve their search capabilities.  Internally searching the S:\ drive or externally on you existing public facing website – Microsoft Search Server 2010 brings a lot of great capabilities to the table – for free.

This is just a series of screen caps of the vanilla install environment.  Keep in mind the requirements for Search Server 2010 Express are similar to those of Search Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010: 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, Data Center, or Web Server with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2 (various flavors).

I’ve installed this on 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2.

After downloading and launching the executable, you should see:
Search Server 2010 Express Splash Screen 

There are various links in the splash screen, but basically under Install, you can let the wizard install all of the prerequisites needed (including IIS).  If you want, you can manually download and install all prereqs to ensure they are installed exactly how you want, see

Search Server 2010 Express Prerequisites

Even if you install the prereqs manually, it’s still a pretty good idea to run the wizard to validate your environment.  The wizard will check that everything is right as rain before installing.

Search Server 2010 Express Install

After accepting the Ts & Cs, the prereq wizard will run through…

Search Server 2010 Express Install

Search Server 2010 Express Install Complete 

Complete!  The prerequisites are now installed (or validated) and you can run the actual Search Server 2010 Express install.

Search Server 2010 Express Install Product

There are two modes for installing Search Server 2010 Express:

  • Complete – allows you to specify a SQL Server installation
  • Stand-alone – automatically installs and configures an instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express (which is also free!)

Search Server 2010 Express Server Type

I’ve selected Stand-alone which should go through and configure absolutely everything I need to have Search Server 2010 Express running.

Search Server 2010 Express Installation Progress

The actual install goes fairly quickly.  The installation provides an opportunity to run the Configuration Wizard immediately or not. 

Search Server 2010 Express Run Config Wizard

With Search Server 2010 Express in Stand-alone mode, the configuration wizard is pretty straightforward. 

Search Server 2010 Express Welcome

Simple dialog making sure you know that some services may be restarted.

Search Server 2010 Express Stop Service Dialog

After clicking Yes, sit back and relax for a bit.  I have a pretty fast virtual environment and the configuration screens take about ten minutes.

Search Server 2010 Express Progress Bar


Search Server 2010 Express Install Successful

After the configuration wizard finishes, you should automatically be taken to the Central Administration screen with a few steps listing how to begin configuration of your specific search implementation.

Search Server 2010 Express Configuration Wizard

You should also notice that you now have some new Administrative shortcuts installed, namely a folder with shortcuts to the SharePoint 2010 Central Administration, SharePoint 2010 Products Configuration Wizard, and the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell and a second folder called Microsoft SQL Server 2008.  What?  SharePoint 2010?  SQL Server 2008?  But I thought I installed Search Server 2010 Express.  Several Microsoft products utilize SharePoint as the interface for the applications.  SharePoint uses SQL Server.  SharePoint Foundation is free and provides a great user interface experience, security components, an application development framework, a deployment framework, and so much more.  SQL Server 2008 Express is free and is, well, SQL Server – arguably one of the strongest database management platforms on the market. Once any developer learns to leverage the SharePoint framework, the time and effort required to write a web based application can be significantly shortened.  After all, that’s what frameworks and APIs provide – the ability to leverage existing ‘stuff’ and not having to write everything from scratch every time.

Search Server 2010 Express Programs Added

Get more info directly from Microsoft.
Marketing site:
Download site:
TechNet site:

By John Stover

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for the install guide it helped me understand a bit better than Microsoft’s instructions. However, I’m having a problem and was wondering if you could shed some light on it. I get to the step to install Search Server Express and I am not given a choice for Complete or Stand Alone install. I simply get the File Location tab. If I proceed with the install it wants to know where my server farm is. I am attempting to get a stand alone installation. Is there any advice you could give?


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