How-to: Query Vista Search From Your App

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Ian Griffiths, dev trainer extraordinaire, recorded a series of "how-to" videos for us, each one demonstrating how to write code that takes advantage of a feature of the Windows Vista platform.  Here's the first in the series -- how to issues queries against the desktop search engine.

[Update: the second installment, How To: Use Vista's Power Management APIs To Be A Good Laptop Citizen is now up]



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    The Discussion

    • jmazner

      Here are a few snippets of relevant source code from the demo:

      public partial class Window1 : Window
        private ImageCollection _foundImages = null;
        private string[] _exifProperties = new string[] {
         "System.Photo.CameraManufacturer", "System.Photo.CameraModel",
         "System.Photo.FNumber", "System.Photo.ExposureTime", "System.Photo.FocalLength",
         "System.Photo.ExposureBias", "System.Photo.MeteringMode",

        private string[] _generalProperties = new string[] {
         "System.Author", "System.Keywords", "System.File.Description"};

        private void OnSearch(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
         string indexerConnString = "provider=Search.CollatorDSO.1;EXTENDED PROPERTIES=\"Application=Windows\"";
         using (OleDbConnection conn = new OleDbConnection(indexerConnString))
          string keywordValue = SearchBox.Text;

          GetImageFileResults(keywordValue, conn);
          ImageListBox.DataContext = _foundImages;

        private void GetImageFileResults(string keywordValue, OleDbConnection conn)

          System.Collections.Hashtable checkNames = new System.Collections.Hashtable();

          string sqlString = "Select \"System.Title\", " +
              "\"System.DisplayFolder\", \"System.DisplayName\" " +
              "FROM systemindex..scope() " +
                          "WHERE FREETEXT(\"System.CanonicalType\", 'JPG') "/* +
                              "AND CONTAINS(\"System.Path\", 'file:')"*/;
                      if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(keywordValue))
                          sqlString += " AND (\"System.Keywords\" = SOME ARRAY ['" + keywordValue + "'])";

          OleDbCommand cmd = new OleDbCommand(sqlString, conn);

          using (OleDbDataReader reader = cmd.ExecuteReader())

           while (reader.Read())
            ImageInfo imageInfo = new ImageInfo();
            imageInfo.Title = reader.GetString(0);
                              string folder = reader.GetString(1);
                              string name = reader.GetString(2);
                              // workaround to ignore non-files
                              if (folder.Length < 2 || folder[1] != ':')
            imageInfo.ImagePath = System.IO.Path.Combine(
                                  folder, name);
                              // Workaround to ignore peculiar files on non-existent
                              // volumes that build 5365 seems to return.
                              if (!System.IO.File.Exists(imageInfo.ImagePath))
                              if (imageInfo.ImagePath.Contains("Temporary Internet Files"))
            if (checkNames.ContainsKey(imageInfo.Title))
             int index = (int)checkNames[(string)imageInfo.Title];

             if (_foundImages[index] != null)
              if (_foundImages[index].Variations == null)
               ImageCollection variationCollection = new ImageCollection();
               _foundImages[index].Variations = variationCollection;

             imageInfo.Variations = new ImageCollection();
             int currentIndex = _foundImages.Count;
             checkNames.Add(imageInfo.Title, currentIndex);


         catch (OleDbException)
          // Not finding any results is ok.

    • jmazner
      For more details about how to use desktop search, check out Catherine Heller's excellent blog entry
    • littleguru
      Is this going to be encapsulated in any way? I find it to rough to deal with the Windows database in this way.

      Btw. Is there a way to get the different columns of a document? I mean in the example with the pictures it is great, but for other documents?
    • footballism
      Good to see Ian's awesome screencast, but where can I get the source code of demo app shown in the video?

    • littleguru
      Let the sql injection begin:

      {"The ICommandWithParameters interface is not supported by the 'Search.CollatorDSO.1' provider.  Command parameters are unsupported with the current provider."}
    • littleguru
      footballism wrote:
      Good to see Ian's awesome screencast, but where can I get the source code of demo app shown in the video?


      Copy and past his second post?
    • Ion Todirel

      btw, how to extract/change metadata from files in Vista?

      EDIT: nevermind

    • zahadum
      this video file is corrupted. it starts choppy & then stalls. why? maybe C9 should be using a standard format like
    • alinc
      Great sample, thanks for sharing it.

      The query is searching in the Windows Index database (FROM SYSTEMINDEX..SCOPE).
      If, let's say, I don't have my D: drive indexed, how do I perform a search on this drive as well. There is possible to have a syntax like this:

      SELECT "System.FileName" FROM "D:\"..etc?

    • shashanka_d

      I tried with a similar code. I was able to get the column name with reader.GetName(0) but the result set was not found. that is , when i say reader.GetString(0), i get the error saying there is no data in the row/column. i tried out with different keywords but still the same result. I also tried using the same keyword in the WDS, then i got some results. My prob is i am not able to get the same result programmatically. The query i am using is:

      SELECT DocTitle FROM systemindex..scope() WHERE CONTAINS('" + "Choose" + "')".

      here i am searching for the keyword "Choose".

      can neone pls help me on this..

    • JoyceSachs

      It's not working with me. I wonder what is wrong with my computer. Steam Generator Irons

    • son2best

      @JoeySachs that's becuase you have windows 7 not windows vista maybe. Mobile Phone Recycling

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