Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tweaking Windows 7 Search

One of the most useful new features in Windows 7 is the Search box that is in every Explorer window and many other applications. This Search box enables you to sort through your files like never before. Looking for all text files in a folder? Just type *.txt into the Search box and press Enter. Almost instantly you will begin to see a list of all text files in the current directory you are viewing.

Looking for all Word documents that refer to a specific company or person? Just go to your Documents folder and search for the name and press Enter. Windows Search can also look at the filenames, but it will also search the contents of your files. This is possible because Windows Search has built-in readers for many of the most popular file types.

As you can see, Windows Search is a comprehensive search solution compared to the prior search options in Windows. With the addition of this new search system comes the ability to customize searches even more than ever before. Various search settings are hidden deep in various windows and will help you customize the way searching works for you.

Adjusting Scope
Every time you perform a search, the results are based on the scope, the folders, and types of files in which the search software looks. Depending on the scope settings you have enabled, the results of your search can be drastically different. These next two settings will help you fine-tune what and how the search software searches, and then you will fine-tune the indexing service to index the files you want to be indexed for speedy searches.

Customizing What and How to Search
You can find all the “where to look” settings for Windows Search on the Folder and Search Options window in Windows Explorer. Follow these steps to customize where Windows Search looks:

1. Open Windows Explorer to a folder you want to modify the search settings for, click Organize, and select Folder and Search Options.

2. Click the Search tab.

3. On the Search tab, you will see three separate sections. First, let’s work with the What to search section. Here you can specify whether you would like the search software to use the indexing service’s data or all data, on-the-fly. By default, Windows Search will search both filenames and contents of indexed files but just filenames of files not in the index. This works well for most users, but if you don’t care about file contents or don’t want to use the indexer at all, experiment with the other options.

4. Configure how searches are performed in the How to search section. Here you can choose from four different settings: the ability to search subfolders, report results with partial matches, turn on natural language searches, and disable searching from the index. The two settings here that you really want to pay attention to are the subfolder search and natural language search options. These features are usually the two that I tweak the most. First, to speed up searches, I uncheck searching subfolders. I also turn on the natural language search option so that I can perform easier searches. For example, if I want to find e‑mails from a person, I normally have to type Kind:email from:person in the Search box. When I turn on natural language search, however, I can type email from person instead and get the same results.

5. The final section — When searching non-indexed locations — specifies what to do with compressed files and system folders that are not indexed or when index search is turned off. I leave these blank to speed up searches, but I strongly suggest that you do not turn on the compressed file option; it will cause your searches to take forever and make your hard drive go crazy with activity.

6. When you are finished tweaking the search options, press OK to save your changes. You might have to reboot for all settings to start working.

Customizing the Indexing Service
The indexing service runs in the background and reads and indexes your files when your computer is idle to speed up searches. This works by reading all the files and storing search keywords and other information in a single database that can be easily read instead of having to read all the file information again every time you perform a search.

In Windows 7, the scope of the indexing service is limited to the user folders by default. If you use search a lot, you might want to tweak the folders and types of files that are indexed. The following steps will help you customize which folders are indexed as well as the file types so that you can control what is indexed and what is not:

1. Click the Start button, type Performance Information in the Search box, and then press Enter.

2. After Performance Information and Tools loads, click Adjust Indexing Options on the left menu. When Indexing Options loads, you will see all the locations the indexing service is currently monitoring.

3. Now you should see the Indexing Options window. First, tweak where the indexer looks. Click Modify and then Show All Locations on the Indexed Locations window. Next, navigate through the list of your drives and folders, and simply check the boxes for the folders you want to be indexed. When you are finished, press OK and the indexer goes to work indexing the new locations.

4. Modify the file types that the indexer indexes. This can be done back on the Indexing Options window. This time, click the Advanced button and then click the File Types tab.

5. Scroll through the list of file extensions and select the file type that you would like to modify. Then, check the box and pick how the file should be indexed in the following section. If your file type is not listed, type the file extension in the box at the bottom of the window , and press Add, to add a new extension.

6. When you are finished, press OK and then Close to exit the indexing options.

Because the indexing service runs only when the computer is idle, it may take up to a few hours before your new files, folders, and file types are added to the index and show up in the search results.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Tweaks 2010
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