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MSN Desktop Search Beta Feedback Roundup

Monday was incredible! We are very excited about all of the feedback we received from you blog posts, comments, discussion groups, and through online feedback via our website.  Scoble posted two solid round ups of the word on the street. Thanks to everyone who has already given the beta a spin. 


We are still going through everyone’s reactions on the release, but we wanted to address some of the top issues that have come up so far:


How can I search the contents of Adobe PDF files?

At the end of setup you need to download and install a plug-in that will enable Desktop Search to search the content of all Adobe PDF files on your computer. If you did not install the plug-in when you first installed MSN Toolbar Suite, you can install it now.  After installing the plug-in your PDF files will begin getting added to your index.


Will Desktop Search support Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP x64?  What about support for different languages? 

For the beta we are supporting English US Windows 2000 SP4 and Windows XP, however we are working to support additional OSes and languages in future releases.  We hear your feedback on the importance of getting support out sooner than later! 


Why aren’t Desktop Search results viewable in Mozilla?  (Or other browsers)

Desktop Search integrates with the Windows shell in order to expose rich functionality for manipulating results, including drag and drop, multi-select, column sorting, and right-clicking to get context menus. 


The end result is that desktop search results are not displayed in a web page, and that's why Mozilla can't display MSN desktop results.  The MSN Search desktop results view is much more akin to the view you get in Windows Explorer when you type "c:\" in the address bar than the IE view you get after entering a URL.


Why don’t you show email search results in Outlook? 

We would have loved to do this, but it is not possible with the Outlook APIs. 


How come you don’t store and index visited web pages?

Customer privacy is a top priority for us.  We do not store and index web pages that have been visited or that are in the temporary cache. By taking this approach we avoid indexing sensitive information like online bank statements.  Additionally, when you delete files or emails from your computer or your email, the index will get updated so these files will be permanently removed from the index.  In future releases, we’ll look to see how this can be done in a privacy-friendly manner. 


More to come later, but before leaving off, did you know you can save your most common Desktop Searches?  Here is how:


1. Enter your search into any toolbar

2a. From the results window drag the magnifying glass from the address bar to your desktop


2b. Add it to your Favorites using the “Add to Favorites…” menu item


- Bubba Murarka, Program Manager


PS: Have you tried the advanced query syntax?  You can learn about it here.


  • Still looking for feedback? I have some. Please, check it out.
  • In order to indexing PDF, Adobe Ifilter 6 is compatible with MSN Desktop Search
  • I've been using the MSN Desktop Search almost continuously for two days on my WinXP sp2 system and it has worked flawlessly with no noticeable performance degradation. IMHO one of the best (innovative) products Microsoft has shipped in a while - and it's free!

  • Well, I love it. I do wish it can index web pages though. I understand your concern on privacy but for single-user computers (like mine), privacy issues aren't a concern. I wish you guys would make it a feature that a user can choose to turn on or off.

    and I've dumped IE (as many have) so I wish it wouldn't be a IE-specific feature.

    You seem set on not indexing web pages, as I saw on the video, but I wish you would change your mind.
  • Once again, I wanted to congratulate and thank the MSN Search team for delivering a fantastic product. It's also great to see the team responding so promptly to feedback and issues.

    I went from saying "Hey, this is really cool!" on Monday to "This is an indispensable tool!" by Wednesday. :) I love the "power-user" features like app-launching and aliases just as much as the rapid searching part.

    Will be posting a review and wishlist on my blog in the next couple of days (just busy with finals at the moment).

    P.S. Even as a Firefox user, I'm glad you went with the current implementation rather than displaying results in a browser window. Drag-and-drop and context menus are so nice.
  • Still my screen-reader does not read the results properly. It reads out a random number for each result in the listbox.
    My screen-reader is Supernova from Dolphin Systems. Can you look into this? My reader works perfectly with other applications. If the issue is not fixed, which should be easy to do, then I will not be able to use the Deskbar.
  • A feature request:
    Please add the ability to search help files (.hlp, .chm) as well. Imagine typing in a search string and when you click the result the help file will open to the specific help topic where the string is found.
    Of course this feature has to be tuned so that strings found in the titles of help topic will have priority and that it will not be on by default so that it will not polude the other search results. An extra button to initiate just a search in help files would be the solution.
  • For privacy issues you could still index the history without indexing the web cache. And only index the first part of the address without indexing the get parameter after any ?
    This can be a solution for searching in our history at least.
    Ps. This feature is already provided by Internet Explorer, just open the History bar and choose Search. Why not by the MSN Deskbar? If the feature in IE has raised no privacy issues? I understand that indexing the cache is another story but the History folder should be indexed without any privacy problems.
  • Two things: how about adding the ability to show the results in a single line list instead of item + item preview of each item. Next, add a preview text box for the selected item, a la Copernic...?

    Maybe also allow me to turn off the toolbar in IE? I like the desktop & Outlook search, but don't need it for IE.


  • I love it when I see that the MSN bot has been to my site (just about every day) in what looks like a race between Google, Yahoo and MSN to investigate every nook and cranny....but, I am curious. Since I have one of the most relevant sites for "Victorian music" that I can find through search engines, why doesn't my site turn up on the first page? It does manage to show up on the first page of most of the search engines, but only through the listings in directories. I haven't used any "dirty tricks" --- it's a simple, straightforward site, and the bots find it worth crawling just about every day. It's been on-line since July, and I've watched it steadily grow in popularity since that time. I even have sneaky people creating hotlinks to the music for their own website. Most of my links are coming from directories, with only a handful from search engines. I don't understand why when I do a search for "Victorian music" I get everything but my site...especially since there really is very little, if any, competition.
  • "and I've dumped IE (as many have) so I wish it wouldn't be a IE-specific feature."

    AFAICT, the only thing "IE-specific" is the IE toolbar. I'm sure some enterprising developer could make the equivalent toolbar in Firefox.

    "Maybe also allow me to turn off the toolbar in IE?"

    Right-click a tool bar in IE -> deselect MSN
  • I am running XP pro and the the new search tool is not finding anything in outlook, emails, notes, nada.

    Even when I try to use the msn search inside the outlook toolbar it does't find the pertinent eamils.

    I love the way that it finds everthying else on the hardrive.

    Anyone else haveing these search failure issues with Outlook? Thanks
  • If you see no Outlook results, try this:

    1. On the Start menu, click Run.

    2. Type the following: reg delete HKCU\Software\Clients\Mail and click OK.

    3. In the command prompt window, type Y and then press ENTER.

    `Marek [MSFT]
  • Nektar,

    The random number is the rank of the result. It's rendered as a graphic, but in MSAA it gets read as a number.

    -David Walters [MSFT]
  • There's a feature I miss on the browser toolbar: drag and drop. That's something I (used to) do a lot on google toolbar: select some text in current page, drag and drop it on the toolbar's edit box and boom: search for that item.

    Awesome job! Great tool.