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There's one question that's haunted me for a while now and I'm dying for a definitive answer on it. And no, it's now women.

It's simply this: does Microsoft Index Server cache the permissions (ACLs) on the files it processes? Or, if a file in the catalog has its permission changed, are those permissions immediately effective in an Indexing Service query?

Despite all I've read on the subject, I'm still not sure. Does anyone know for certain?

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According to this article, yes it does. The combination of Indexing Server and NTFS should make it so that any change to the file (including ACL) is indexed pretty instantaneously though, so they should never be out of date.

Even if they are out of sync - if the actual file on the file system is more restrictive than what is indexed, the user will still not be able to view it. The worst that happens is they can see that the file exists (and any abstract/other properties you have setup.)

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Well, I'm not sure if the article's wording is definitive, but you sound like you know your stuff so thank you and the big green tick is all yours. – GenericMeatUnit Feb 8 '10 at 4:43
My reference in the linked document is the "Physical Properties" table, where it lists CiST0000.* as mapping ACLs to the index server internal identifier. – MattB Feb 9 '10 at 15:53

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