Data Management

Adding SQL Full-Text Search to an existing SQL Server

Adding components to an existing SQL Server is a tricky process. In this blog post, Rickatron shows how this is performed so you can proceed confidently.

I don’t know about you, but I deal with a lot of applications that require SQL Server as their back end database. I like SQL Server for many reasons. For starters, it is broadly supported by applications. But probably most importantly, is that I feel I can support it to a certain extent.

That is until I need to do a big change to the installation. Recently, I had to add a component to an existing SQL Server 2008 R2 database. The component was the SQL Full-Text Search and is required for System Center 2012, which I was performing as a new install. I definitely didn’t want to add another database, so the next option was to add the component to the existing central DB server. But, SQL Full-Text Search isn’t a default component that is installed. The fix was easy, but it’s not exactly what you may think.

My default reaction was to run the setup again from the DVD and add the component. I’ll save you the hassle -- that doesn’t work. What we need to do is go into the Programs and Features applet and add the component to the existing installation. This step is shown in Figure A:

Figure A

This is where we can change the SQL Server components

This is where we can change the SQL Server components (click to enlarge)
Once we add features, we will then be prompted for the DVD for the setup to run. But, it’s important to note that it has to be launched from the Programs and Features applet. The feature can then be selected explicitly from the setup wizard to add the SQL Full-Text Search component as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The components that need to be added are selected here

The components that need to be added are selected here
The final step is to specify the instance where SQL Full-Text Search is to be installed. In my practice, I live in a world of default instantiation of SQL Server instances, and generally don’t put multiple instances on one Windows Server. Nonetheless, it is a supported configuration to add SQL Full-Text Search to one instance yet not another on a server that has multiple SQL Servers. This step is shown in Figure C below:

Figure C

The SQL Server instance is selected here

The SQL Server instance is selected here.

The process of adding a SQL Server Component, in this example, SQL Full-Text Search, is quite simple. But, it can be disconcerting to go and make big changes to a SQL Server that is in use, especially if you don’t have a DBA on staff to go to for specific expertise.

Do you make frequent component changes to SQL Server? If so, what types? Also, do you change the default options to prevent changes like this down the road? Share your SQL Server tips below!


Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.


Thank you for the article... It's making me see the light at the end of the tunnel.... IF i can get past the error of adding the feature, I am trying to figure out where i need to install the additional features, when I try to install it on ANY folder in the SQL Server folder i get the error that says \ is not a valid installation folder.. any suggestions would be great thank you.


I inherited a server with Windows 2003 SBS Premium, with two instances of MSSQL 2000 installed; So recently i've installed the included MSSQL 2005; Aparently it's connect and works fine, however the SQL Agent seems it's still the 2000 version, and the old installations of MSSQL 2000 both remains; it's posible to uninstall or do something with old instances? What are the major restrictions to the supplied version of MSSQL 2005? Thank you


It was not finding the path because when the instance of SQL server was installed it was not installed locally it was installed from an image. I needed to run the add feature applet from the image.

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