The update to Windows Search fixes most of the bugs users have reported since the system was released to manufacturing, a product manager claims.
Microsoft has made a public preview of Windows Search 4.0, the next version
of desktop search for Windows, available for download.
Windows Search is the desktop search engine for Windows Vista
and Windows XP, and allows users to
search for files, photographs, e-mail and Word documents on their PCs.
Microsoft released on March 27 the Multilingual User Interface Pack and
Windows Search 4.0 Preview for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, all of which
can be downloaded here.
"With Windows Search 4.0, the Windows Search Team has fixed most of the
reported bugs causing a majority of distractions users have seen since Windows
Vista was released to manufacturing-many of those bugs were reported by
you," Nick White, a product manager, said in a post on the Windows Vista team blog.
Improving desktop search has become increasingly important to Microsoft,
particularly as it lags behind Google
on this front. If Microsoft succeeds in
its bid to acquire Yahoo,
that could help close the gap with
Google in desktop search and advertising and, thanks to Yahoo's strong mobile
presence, could possibly even help Microsoft gain an advantage over Google.
According to a Knowledge Base article
published March 27, the search
engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows service that is also used
by programs such as Outlook 2007 and OneNote 2007. "You can use this
search engine to index a program's content and to obtain instant results when you
search in a particular program," it said.
Windows Search 4.0 brings improvements both for consumers and IT
professionals managing enterprise environments, including improved performance
when indexing Exchange in online mode, with fewer packets being sent and fewer
RPC (remote procedure call) calls being made. This has the added benefit of
putting less load on the Exchange server, White said.
Sources say Microsoft is taking aim at Google with a not-so-secret project code-named Albany. Click here to read more.
Support for Group Policy settings has been extended and improved, and a
per-user policy is now supported. Windows Search 4.0 also now supports EFS
(Encrypting File System) and will index encrypted files.
"A user can search for them in the same user interface and through the
same user experience as seen with regular, unencrypted files. IT professionals
can expect a smooth deployment for Windows Search 4.0 and easier support,"
Microsoft has been doing a lot to improve the performance and reliability of
Windows Vista since the operating system was made widely available in January
2007. In December 2007, the Windows Serviceability Team released a preview update
to be included in Vista SP1
that the team said improved Vista's
performance and reliability.
On the consumer front, Windows Search 4.0 also brings improved performance,
with even this preview version having a query response time about 33 percent
faster than search queries in Windows Vista, while Remote Index Discovery for
PC-to-PC search has been extended to work on every supported version of
Windows, White said.
"This makes finding information on other PCs running Windows Search 4.0
quick and less resource-consuming. Now Windows Search can find information
shared on a remote PC by accessing an index on that PC-and you will open files
only when relevant to your search. This will also work if the user's profile is
redirected," White said in the blog post.
Rollback Recovery is another feature that has been added, allowing the
search index to roll back to the last known good state, which is useful for
handling disc write errors, he said, noting that if an error occurs, only the
newly changed files are added to the index, making recovery from system errors
less disruptive to the machine or the user.
"With Windows Search 4.0, the Windows Search Team
has taken the next step in improving the PC search experience in Windows ... I
encourage folks to try out the Windows Search 4.0 Preview and let us know what
you think," White said.