Microsoft Banishes Its Desktop Search Demons

In a Thursday blog post, Windows Vista product manager Nick White said the Windows Search Team has fixed most of the reported bugs that have been causing headaches for Vista users. White also noted that search query response times in the Windows Search 4.0 preview are 33 percent faster than the desktop search function that shipped with Vista.

Last year, Microsoft began talking about an internal research project code-named Casino, and also referred to as OneView, which aimed to provide a single, unified interface for search across desktops, intranets and the Web. Solution providers saw the move as a clear effort by Microsoft to attack Google Desktop and thwart Google's business software services.

Windows Search 4.0 will address many of the issues Casino was originally slated to address, but is distinctly different, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email. While Windows Search 4.0 is a continuation of Windows Desktop Search 3.01, which shipped with Windows XP, Casino was only a research project, according to the spokesperson.

The search improvements Microsoft has made with Windows Search 4.0 also extend to enterprises. For example, the process of indexing Exchange in online mode now requires fewer packets and less Remote Procedure Calls (RPC), which, in turn, puts less strain on the Exchange server, White noted.

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Recovery from system errors will be a lot less traumatic for administrators due to Microsoft's implementation of a feature called Rollback Recovery, which allows the search index to refer to the last known stable state instead of rebuilding it from scratch, said White.

Users can download the Windows Search 4.0 preview from Microsoft's Download Center, and customers in the TAP program can get it from Microsoft Connect.