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Searching in Vista Pre-RC1

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  • User profile image
    jonne

    So, I downloaded Vista Pre-RC1, and I have to agree that the speed and general looks are so much better than in Beta 2. My system worked perfectly after install, without me having to take any actions. Great!

    But after having tried to use the windows shell and search for a couple of hours now, I just have to write down my experiences.
    I really had my hopes up for Search in Vista, after all it is supposed to have been one of the major focus points. Maybe its just me, but I find the new Search functionality utterly confusing and missing critical features. To me, it seems mostly worse than XP SP2 with Desktop Search.

    First, I somehow always assumed that could search for all files in my computer from the Start Menu Search. After all, that's what the Help in Vista says. But after wondering why only selected files showed up, I finally think I figured it out: it only searches the Recently used items-list in the Start Menu. So going from Desktop Search in XP to Search in Vista is like taking a step backwards: to find something, you have to open a Window. No direct search, no deskbar seach, nothing that would even remotly match the slick search dropdown in Mac OS X.

    Secondly, why is it so difficult to search in "a different location". After all hype about how it would'nt matter WHERE a document was saved - you would be able to easly find it anyway, why does it still seem so hard. For instance, I open My document folder, and write a search word. No results. Then I remember, it might be in my Public Document folder, or somewhere else. Insted of providing a link to directly search all indexed locations, I have to click and press serveral times: 1. click advanced search, 2. Open the location pulldown and scroll to Indexed locations, 3.  Click Search. 

    Of course, you could do the Search by clicking Start->Search, and in the Search Window get all the results. But from this window, you cannot access your Saved searches! Why is the functionality seemingly randomly scattered around?

    Thirdly, how  can you edit your Saved searches?! After a Search is  saved , the details about the Search Criteria and the ability to edit it seems lost forever! It must be hidden somewhere, and it must be editable somehow, but where and how, and why is this basic piece of funtionality not easily accessible?

    And finally, the representation of the Search results to me seems very messy. When I try to find something I usually get a lot of results with lot of filetypes in a long, long, monotonous list. I know I can organize it using the header columns, but I really shouldn't have to. I should get a nice, clear view by default.

    So, whatever happend to the nice organization of search results á la XP Desktop Search. Or what about the nice organization in the Apple Spotlight search results. Both available direcly from the taskbar/menu bar.

    I understand a lot of effort has been put into Search, and I guess the indexer itself is good. But I find the interface utterly confusing and messy, and making the most important Search tasks take too many mouse clicks to complete.

  • User profile image
    compugab

    I haven't (yet) try Pre-RC1 build but my experience with beta2, there is, at least, on thing that I miss form the old way : search by file name.

  • User profile image
    Jason Cox

    Regarding your line about it only searching your Recent Documents-
    Give it some time, we beta testers complained HEAVILY about Vista indexing the disk too often and taking up too much system resources so it takes longer then it used to to index your drive.

  • User profile image
    LaBomba

    Jason Cox wrote:
    Regarding your line about it only searching your Recent Documents-
    Give it some time, we beta testers complained HEAVILY about Vista indexing the disk too often and taking up too much system resources so it takes longer then it used to to index your drive.


    Where do you go to complain...technet or msdn newsgroups?

  • User profile image
    Jason Cox

    LaBomba wrote:
    
    Jason Cox wrote: Regarding your line about it only searching your Recent Documents-
    Give it some time, we beta testers complained HEAVILY about Vista indexing the disk too often and taking up too much system resources so it takes longer then it used to to index your drive.


    Where do you go to complain...technet or msdn newsgroups?
    Beta newsgroups, only BT's have access.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Note: I don't do Vista, at the moment Smiley

    As far as I know, search boxes in Vista are context sensitive. This means that the search bar in the Start Menu searches whatever is in the start menu. This means programs, recent documents, control panel applets, etc...

    The search box in Windows Mail searches mail items. Search boxes in explorer search files below the current directory. And so on...

    The only way to have a search on the entire document corpus is from the Start Menu -> Search application.

    PS: note that I'm not saying I agree with all this, it's just how it is Smiley

  • User profile image
    jonne

    Jason Cox wrote:
    Regarding your line about it only searching your Recent Documents-
    Give it some time, we beta testers complained HEAVILY about Vista indexing the disk too often and taking up too much system resources so it takes longer then it used to to index your drive.
    Jason, yes, I thought that was the problem at first. But the indexer has finished indexing, and all the files are in the index. I guess it's just a "feature" that the Start menu search only searches the start menu items.

    Generally speaking, Vista's search is much prettier than in XP, and more nicely integrated. But my most common usage scenario for search is just to find ONE file as quickly as possible with as few mouse clicks as possible, and without cluttering my desktop with more windows. XP Deskbar search did it quite well, although it was not as pixel perfect as Vista is. It just makes me a bit sad that the functionality I hoped for the most just isn't there [C].

    Also, I find it very odd,  if it really is so sad, that once you have saved a search, you can never see what your search criterias were, nor can you edit them. I guess I just have to write them down in Notepad for future reference... :O

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Not entirely. The start menu search box definitely searches more than just the start menu (mail, for instance). And at any point in explorer you can open advanced search options and search whereever you like.

    Other than that, yes.

    Slightly off topic, but I really hate search in Outlook 2007. It can't search non-indexed items, even though searching a few hundred mail items isn't exactly slow. And indexing on IMAP appears to be very unreliable. Using Outlook 2007, it's impossible to find things that aren't indexed yet, which is extremely annoying, especially if you need to search right after installing it.

  • User profile image
    jonne

    Sven Groot wrote:
    Not entirely. The start menu search box definitely searches more than just the start menu (mail, for instance). And at any point in explorer you can open advanced search options and search whereever you like.


    I tried it, and yes, you're right, it searches e-mail and some selected items from newgroups from Outlook Express (I don't have Office installed). But it only searches the 10 last used documents or so.

    So it is important to find e-mails and newsgroup conversations, it is less important to find documents I have created in the past. Perplexed 
    Shouldn't my office documents I spent so much time and effort creating be a First priority for a Quicksearch to find... I just don't quite "get" the developers' thought process that went into this automagic Start menu search system, and I have to disagree with their choices...

    And the "See all results"-link has some autologic built in as well: sometimes, it searches "Indexed Locations". Sometimes, it searches "Everywhere", and that really puts the harddrive to work. Go figure.

  • User profile image
    n4cer

    jonne wrote:
    
    So it is important to find e-mails and newsgroup conversations, it is less important to find documents I have created in the past.  
    Shouldn't my office documents I spent so much time and effort creating be a First priority for a Quicksearch to find... I just don't quite "get" the developers' thought process that went into this automagic Start menu search system, and I have to disagree with their choices...

    And the "See all results"-link has some autologic built in as well: sometimes, it searches "Indexed Locations". Sometimes, it searches "Everywhere", and that really puts the harddrive to work. Go figure.


    I'm not getting the behavior you're seeing with document search. I can just type some text and the corresponding documents will appear in the Start Menu. You can even glob, e.g., type *.doc and get all your Word files.

    Are your document files located in the Documents folder for Vista or in a different location? If a different location, you may need to add that location to the index. Type index at the Start Menu to bring up Indexing Options. If the documents are on a network share, you can search it by opening the network browser, double-clicking the computer, and typing the search term in the search box.

    Unfortunately you can't curently add network locations directly to the index (not sure if they automatically use the index on the other computer yet), although I haven't tried mapping a drive and seeing if you can add it to the index that way.

    I hope MS documents Vista's search syntax better (assuming it's exposed). The WLDS syntax doesn't appear to work. It'd be a lot quicker it I could type something like "path:\\computername\ Bill Gates" to search for all instances of Bill Gates on a network computer, or "path:* Bill Gates" to search local and all network computers.

  • User profile image
    jonne

    jonne wrote:
    
    jonne wrote: 
    n4cer wrote: 
    Are your document files located in the Documents folder for Vista or in a different location? If a different location, you may need to add that location to the index. Type index at the Start Menu to bring up Indexing Options. If the documents are on a network share, you can search it by opening the network browser, double-clicking the computer, and typing the search term in the search box.




    Yes, my documents ARE in the index! When seraching "Indexed Locations" by using the Shell, they show up immediately. I have explicitly added them to that index, and they have been indexed. But they are not under my personal document folder in Vista (they are on my Windows XP partition under My Documents).

    Also, try and search for the Vista sample pictures in your document folder. They are in the Index as well, but at least for me are NOT shown in Start menu search (unless they appear under "Recently used Documents"-list in the startmenu.) So all documents from VIsta's Users folder are NOT included in Start menu search.

    Also, the Start menu is NOT searching the whole index. I'm 100% sure of that. It searches the index selectivly according to some logic that I have not found any documentation on. I would like to know what that logic is. It behaves differently than the deskbar search in XP; that's for sure.

  • User profile image
    jonne

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    jonne

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    jonne

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    jonne

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  • User profile image
    dmatt

    jonne, what's happening is that by default the start menu searches only for indexed items that are in your user profile.

    For ex, it will search for pictures in your pictures folder, but not in the shared pictures folder.  The reason is that the start menu shows a very lighweight view of the search results and it's not easy to tell whether the result you found came from your account or someone elses.  By only searching your profile, it prevents another user from tricking you into running a bad program by putting it in a shared folder and renaming it "notepad.exe".

    If you're not concerned about opening files that other users have shared to you, you can change the option in the Start Menu properties from "Search this user's files" to "Search entire index".  This will fix the issue you're having.



  • User profile image
    mawcc

    jaylittle wrote:
    ...dependent upon a word processor for email editing...


    Last time I checked using Word as the editor for email was optional.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    mawcc wrote:
    
    jaylittle wrote: ...dependent upon a word processor for email editing...


    Last time I checked using Word as the editor for email was optional.

    It's not optional in Outlook 2007.

    Note that, other than this complaint, I think Outlook is great (although Outlook 2007, as it is, is too slow and has several rather annoying bugs, but at beta 2 that's allowed).

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