SharePoint 2013 Search Weirdness – Part 3: When do Daily and Weekly Search Alerts Get Sent?


A continuation of the "Search Weirdness" series!


Search Alerts are Different!

Unlike list and library alerts:

  • You cannot create them for other people. There's no place to type an email address.
  • You cannot request an immediate alert.
  • You cannot pick a time:

List / Library alert options:


Search Alert options:



So when are they run?

You would assume (always a dangerous thing to do) that Daily and Weekly summary search alerts would get created overnight. Turns out they get sent at an exact time, but a different one for each alert!

While working on a new SharePoint 2013 search class I was trying to find out which timer job created the alert emails and if I could set the time they are sent. TechNet documents only a single timer job, "Immediate Alerts", that runs every five minutes. While I could change that interval, I could not find an option for the "nightly jobs". Turns out there isn't any such thing.

I had always assumed (again, dangerous) that these ran overnight. The only documentation I had found in TechNet only said this:

"The daily alerts will have a 24-hour day, date, and time span calculated and stored in the respective database table. A weekly alert will have a seven-day day, date, and time span calculated and stored as part of the individual alert record."

It just says "calculated" and does not say "when". Then I ran across this blog article by Chris Domino and the light bulb went off:


When you create a daily alert it is scheduled to run every day at the time you created the alert. I.e. You created the alert at 2:00PM, it will processed every day shortly after 2:00PM. The same applies to weekly alerts. You created the alert at 2:00 PM on a Tuesday, it will be processed every Tuesday at 2:00 PM. I went out and looked as the SQL tables (never do this at home!) and there it was, to the minute, scheduled 24 hours or 7 days in the future.


But that's for an on-premises SharePoint installation. Office 365 is different!

In my Office 365 tenant my daily alerts are initially scheduled 17 hours in the future and then every 24 hours after that. My guess is that Office 365 is using GMT. So when I schedule a daily alert at 3:45 PM it runs 8:45 AM every day. Five hours off. Hum…  would that mean my tenant is running in Central time? Don't know… just guessing…


Another day… another new thing to discover…



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