Have you updated Windows Search yet?

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. If you run Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, you should download and install Windows Search 4 (separate packages are available for x86 and x64 systems).

If your network includes a system running Windows Home Server, you should install the Windows Search 4 update on it. WHS is 32-bit only and is based on the 32-bit Windows Server 2003 platform, so use this update package. (For 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003, go here.)

For Windows XP use this package (unless you’re crazy enough to use 64-bit XP, in which case you need this one).

After you install Windows Search 4, you’ll need to completely rebuild your search index. On Vista, this task is easiest if you install the Indexer Status Sidebar gadget and then use the Index Now button. That kicks the indexer into full-speed mode and disables the behavior that causes indexing to back off while you work with the PC.

Using Windows Search 4 speeds up local searches, but the killer feature is that it allows you to perform indexed searches over the network and automatically adds shared folders to the local index. So if I open a shared folder on another computer in an Explorer Window on my Vista PC and type some text in the Search box, that search will use the index on the other PC (assuming Windows Search 4 is installed) and return results instantly.

9 thoughts on “Have you updated Windows Search yet?

  1. Having trouble with the version for Windows Home Server. After downloading it and saving it to the software folder on the server, I log on to the server using the remote connection. I then double-click on the installation file, but it will not install, but gives me an error that it cannot recognize the device. Anyone else having this problem?

  2. @Bill

    I had no problem with it, but I am running PP1 beta though.

    I remote desktop’d in. Downloaded the package. Ran it and rebooted. Just right click and copy the link Ed put above and paste in to IE on the WHS desktop. You probably just got a corrupt download for whatever reason.

  3. Does this version actually highlight the searched terms when displaying the results?

    For example, if searching for ‘dog’ in a massive text file you were presented with a bunch of text but the actual text you were searching for was not highlighted!
    A critical oversight for my needs which meant I uninstalled it and went back to Agent Ransack. (Actually Google desktop search also highlights results)

  4. George, no it doesn’t. The Thunderbird developers would have to write a protocol handler to do that work. At one point there was a crude beta that did this, but it no longer works. Indexing support is supposedly on Thunderbird’s roadmap but is not there yet.

  5. The updated search does work extremely well. I’m quite impressed with the improvement especially in XP. Vista search is , and always has been great.

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