Microsoft Search Server (Express) Startup Error (HOSTS file)

You may encounter this error in the Application Event Log after installing MSS(E) in your farm:

Event Type:        Error
Event Source:    Office SharePoint Server
Event Category:                Office Server Shared Services
Event ID:              6482
Date:                     5/4/2009
Time:                     11:00:49 AM
User:                     N/A
Computer:          SEARCHSERVER

Description:
Application Server Administration job failed for service instance Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchServiceInstance (b2ef3361-3f34-41e4-8e2a-56cbd5fc78f4).
Reason: Access to the path 'C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\HOSTS' is denied.

Technical Support Details:
System.UnauthorizedAccessException: Access to the path 'C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\HOSTS' is denied.

For what ever reason, Microsoft wanted Search Server to edit the HOSTS file on the MSS(E) server. In order to resolve this error, provide the WPG_ADMIN group with Modify NTFS permissions to the %windir%\System32\drivers\etc directory. If you restart the Search Server service, the error should not appear after making that modification.

Trevor Seward is a Microsoft Office Apps and Services MVP who specializes in SharePoint Server administration, hybrid scenarios, and SharePoint Online. He has been working with SharePoint for 16 years from SharePoint 2003 on up, managing environments with terabytes of content for 150,000+ user organizations. Trevor is an author of Deploying SharePoint 2016 and Deploying SharePoint 2019. You can find him on Twitter and in /r/sharepoint.