The SharePoint “My Sites” feature creates a personal site collection for each user. As a result, your SharePoint solution may grow to include a very large number of site collections, each of which should provide an Search & Preview Search Box on most or all pages, but (usually), not an Search & Preview Search Center or other Search & Preview features. If you are using My Sites, then you will usually want to activate and configure the Search & Preview Search Box for all of the personal site collections at once. Therefore, Search & Preview includes a stripped-down search-box-only feature for SharePoint, which you can activate and manage at the web application level. This does not prevent you from implementing a full Search & Preview solution for the personal sites of one or more selected power users if you want to.

Usually, all of the Search Boxes for all of the personal site collections will target the same Search & Preview Search Center, which will be part of the primary content-site collection. You will, therefore, manage the target URL for the “My Sites” search boxes at the web-application level, though you could override this for selected personal or content sites if needed.

If you are using “My Sites”, then activate and configure the Search & Preview Search Box as follows:

1. Activate the Search-Box-only feature for the web application to which your “My Sites” collections belong.
This will make the Search Box available for all of the site collections that belong to your selected web application, including new site collections that appear as more users create personal sites. See “Activating and Deactivating the Search Box for an Application” for details.

2. Add the Search & Preview Search Box web part to your “My Sites” templates as needed.
This might be done automatically for you if your templates already use the Microsoft “SearchBox” delegate web control. See “Adding an Search & Preview Search Box to Your Site” for details.

3. Configure the standard Search Center target-URL and other Search-Box features at the application level.

Typically, all personal sites will use a Search Box that targets the same Search Center and provides the same set of scopes. See “Search Box Settings and Inheritance” for details about how to find the right application-level settings for the Search Box. See “Configuring the General Search Box Settings” for details about how to set the target Search Center. See “Creating and Configuring Search Box Scopes” for details about how to configure the scopes.

IMPORTANT: because the Search Center will nearly always be in a different site collection than each user’s personal site, you must specify the Search Center URL using an absolute path (e.g., “http://mysite:8000/“) rather than a relative URL such as “~sitecollection/“.

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