Trial Period Expired in Search Server Express 2010

One of the FAQ on SharePoint 2010 forums is for an alert generated by the Health Analyzer in the Search Server Express 2010 installation instance.

Any alert generated by the Health Analyzer should be not be ignored and if it’s a false alarm – as in this case, then you can disable the rule from being executed by the timer service.

Caution: You must assess the consequences of disabling a rule and disable only if you come to a conclusion that this is a false alarm or a situation that does not need to be remedied. For e.g. I have few a Virtual Hard Drives attached to the SharePoint Server and they are 90% full. This triggers of the rules and the Health Analyzer generates alerts warning me about the drives being near capacity. I ignore those alerts, but have not disabled the rule for obvious reasons.

So coming back to the FAQ  in the forums, this is for “Trial period for this product is about to expire” alert on an instance of Search Server Express 2010. Whoa! Isn’t Search Server Express 2010 a free product? Yes it is. So why this alert! I have seen this question pop-up couple of times in the forums and have experienced this in my test lab as well when trying to emulate this scenario to help answer this question.

One of the work around that I found, suitable only for test environment, was to add the service account of the application pool of the SharePoint web application to the local administrators group on your server. Source

However, I would never do this in a production environment – adding service account the local administrators group. So the waiting game commenced to get the official word from Microsoft on this issue. Finally, Ashley from Microsoft answered this question in this thread, which I will quote here for reference

This is a false alarm. It is not time bombed and your farm will continue to work. If you click on the health analyzer warning you will see

"Explanation : The licensing information not available". The MSSx SKU does not have licensing module since its a free product. By default the rule "Trial period for this product is about to expire." is enabled in the health analyzer. The bug here is that we didn’t disable this rule. The rule kicks in and its unable to find the licensing module and throws an exception (you can find it in the LOGS folder).

So, if you see this alert on your Search Server Express 2010, you can safely ignore and as has been suggested by Ashley, disable the rule! Duh! didn’t check the Health Analyzer…. should make this a habit to review the alerts and their rules…

Steps

  1. Navigate to your Central Admin
  2. Click on Monitoring
  3. Click on Review Rule Definitions
  4. Click on "Trial period for this product is about to expire" rule under configuration
  5. Edit it.
  6. Uncheck the "Enabled" checkbox.