March 5, 2005 12:03 AM PST
Microsoft released a desktop search application
a few months after Google. I never installed the Google app because I didn't like that it installed a little webserver/proxy on my machine. As far as I understand, it combined the contents of the Google web search with the contents of my drive. I'm sure it's an elegant solution, but it just goes beyond what I want to commit to for something as simple as searching my files.
I recently set up some new machines and therefore did the "install newest versions of software I could find" song and dance. I installed MS desktop search because the regular search is super slow and I was interested in also searching network drives and my email.
In the initial phase, you can specify what folders to scan. I picked a network drive, as well as my HDD, email, etc. I didn't think it would work correctly on the network drive. After a relatively quick initial indexing, I found that a search is incredibly fast! Just type a word or two, and up pops a window with 300 hits and their summaries, spanning emails, documents and files on the shared drive. Enter a contact name and all the emails, contact info, and any saved documents show up. You can easily filter on just emails, documents, or Web results. Pretty easy. Why wasn't this just implemented in the OS?
MS: junk the built-in indexer, don't wait for longhorn and include this badboy in XP SP3.
I'm really happy with this search tool. It does install the MSN toolbar, but that can be hidden in Windows Explorer, the Taskbar, Outlook, the or IE. Plus I use Firefox, and no toolbar is installed there. The only toolbar I leave up is the one in Outlook. You can also hide most of the buttons on the toolbar, so you can get it down to just a text box and a MSN icon.
I've seen a bug where what you type in the search toolbar won't update the MSN search window, and closing all apps would't help. Only a logout/login fixed it, but it only happened once.
Not sure if it's a bug, but the location of the search results is in a window that is always just to the right of any running copy of Windows Explorer. I would expect a new window to show up to the right of all items in the taskbar. (Don't get me started on how the taskbar should let you drag the elements around, or how using virtual desktops will rearrange the taskbar order).
I recommend installing this app. But BEFORE YOU DO, watch your CPU usage in task manager for a while. I'm seeing a 100% cpu spike for about 5 seconds from svchost.exe every minute or two. I suspect it's either this app or the anti-spyware app. Let me know if you see this behavior after you install it.
Also, if anyone has tried the Google desktop search and this tool, I'd like to hear a comparison of the two.