The Search is Over!

Well, this was kind of funny… I had just started this blog entry and pushed it aside for a day, but it looks like the media has shoved it right back.

I’ve been using Windows Vista since it was first offered as a beta on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) in late 2005. My goal was not to immediately bog down the operating system with any software that I had gotten used to in Windows XP. I wanted to give all the new features of Windows Vista a chance.

Now, almost two years later, I’ve learned what I like and don’t like about Vista. But one thing I held out on for the longest time was the built-in Windows Vista desktop search. I tried my darndest and gave it every opportunity, but I just couldn’t work with it anymore!

It’s so convenient that it’s there when you open any folder of explorer. The search backend seems to work great… it doesn’t seem to interfere when indexing, the index is not very large at all, and the results when searching come up quick.

But, enough was enough. I’m just not happy with it. In my opinion, the user interface is clunky and I find it confusing… sometimes it doesn’t find a file that I’m looking for when I know it’s there. The filtering options are not designed well and I don’t like that I can’t see a preview before opening the file.

Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I want the impossible. Maybe I’m just spoiled because I tried out some of the different desktop search software available when I was using Windows XP (such as Google Desktop, Yahoo! Desktop Search, and Copernic Desktop Search). I came to find that Copernic Desktop Search is just what I need. It’s fast, I think the interface is extremely well-designed, and I can filter easily as well as preview the files.

A few days ago, I disabled the Windows Search service and installed Copernic Desktop Search (like I used in the good ol’ XP days!). There are a couple downsides to Copernic… the index is pretty large and it isn’t integrated into Windows Vista all over the place like the built-in search is. The first issue with the index being large is not that big of a deal with the capacities of hard drives you get nowadays – I don’t know too many people that call me because they’re running out of disk space on their PCs (servers are a whole other story!!). So, that leaves the problem about the lack of integration in Windows…

Recently, however, Google was nice enough to step up to bat and put some pressure on Microsoft about this. So, in the midst of my writing this, I got to make some changes because Microsoft announced yesterday that they are going to update the Windows Vista code to allow users to choose third-party software for their desktop searches. Here’s one of the many links out there giving the scoop: Microsoft Agrees To Open Windows Vista Search.

The change will be put into an update that Microsoft plans to release by the end of the year. It looks like I’ll gain the convenience of having search integration throughout Windows after all. As for Windows Search, I’m sorry we couldn’t have parted on better terms, but you can’t say I didn’t give you a chance.

— Jim