If Windows Search is an important part of your daily workflow, you might be interested to know that there have been some enhancements since Vista. This excerpt from Tulloch, Northrup, & Honeycutt's Windows® 7 Resource Kit will clue you in on what Windows 7 brings to Windows Search.
Windows 7 builds upon the foundation of Windows Vista by adding the following new features and enhancements in search and indexing functionality:
Start Menu Search has been significantly enhanced to make it a universal entry point for starting programs, finding Control Panel settings, and searching for almost anything on the local computer, the corporate network, or the Internet.
The Advanced Search option in Windows Vista, which became available only after searching, has been replaced with a new Advanced Search pane that helps users create complex queries while learning AQS.
Beginning with Windows 7, when the indexer is up to date on the system, all items in the indexed location that would be returned by a grep search are now also returned by the indexer, with the exception of reparse points such as junction points and hard links. This is a change from Windows Vista, where certain types of files were always excluded from being indexed by default. For more information on this change, see the section titled "Understanding the Indexing Process" later in this chapter.
A new feature of Windows 7 called Libraries now makes it easier for users to organize and search for documents and other types of files.
Indexing prioritization has been implemented to ensure that particular scopes are given higher priority during indexing. Windows Explorer uses this feature to ensure that index-backed views are always given priority to improve the speed and relevance of searches issued against libraries. For example, if a user has the Music library open and is viewing it via an index-backed view (for example, by artist), Windows Explorer requests that the index scopes associated with that view are given priority. The result is that if indexing hasn't yet finished for those scopes, indexing for this location takes priority over the indexing of other content on the system.
Indexing performance has been improved by significantly reducing resource requirements for the indexer. New functionality has also been added to the indexer to facilitate troubleshooting, reporting, and feedback concerning indexing issues.
In Windows Vista, a user needed to be a local administrator on the computer to add new locations to the indexer using Indexing Options in Control Panel. Beginning with Windows 7, this restriction has been removed, and standard users can now add to or remove locations from the indexer.
Beginning with Windows 7, Windows Search is also now an optional feature that can be enabled or disabled using the Turn Windows Features On Or Off task option in Control Panel. Note that the Windows Search feature is enabled by default, and significant loss of functionality will occur for users who disable Search in this way.
Files encrypted using the Encrypting File System (EFS) and locally stored on the user's computer can now be indexed and searched as easily as unencrypted files.
Windows 7 now enables users to search for Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) images based on textual content, such as text contained in images of faxed documents.
Windows 7 minimizes the impact of indexing e-mail stored on Microsoft Exchange Server. Support for indexing digitally signed e-mail is also new in Windows 7.
Windows 7 allows searching the content of network file shares on computers running Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003. Some of these operating systems require the installation of an additional feature to support remote queries from computers running Windows 7.
Federated Search is a new feature of Windows 7 that enables users to search remote data sources from within Windows Explorer. Federated Search uses search connectors to enable users to work with files stored in repositories, such as Windows SharePoint sites, as easily as if they were browsing the local file system on their computers.
Learn more about this topic from Windows® 7 Resource Kit.
This official Microsoft RESOURCE KIT delivers in-depth technical guidance from those who know the technology best—Microsoft MVPs and the Windows 7 team. Covers new features, deployment, administration, security, and other essential topics.