Bing blogs

This is a place devoted to giving you deeper insight
into the news, trends, people and technology behind Bing.

Search Blog

January
31

Desktop Search Beta Refresh

We have posted a new version (02.00.0001.1203) of the Toolbar Suite for download.  Some of the fixes and enhancements in the latest version include:

 

  • Eliminated the virus pop ups and increased performance (more below)
  • Ability to index Outlook items when it isn’t your default email client
  • Clear Deskbar text after performing searches
  • Fixed a majority of reported Watson bugs
  • Several bug fixes to improve overall stability & robustness

 

In order to make email attachment handling better, we implemented a change in how we process them. In the earlier build if you opted to index email attachments we would save the attachment to a temporary file and then index it. This has two negative side effects:

 

1.      Performance. Copying a stream to disk and then reading it is a largely unneeded step and one that caused extra disk IO

 

2.      Anti-virus scanners would pop up on file creation. In other words even though you never opened the file, the file would get written to the disk. NOTE that no virus would occur as a result of this because the file wasn’t opened, but it was annoying to get the pop-ups.

 

With the adoption of this interface we can stream the attachment directly to the filter. Many IFilters had already implemented this interface. But if you have written a custom one, you will need to add it.  See more information on our Wiki.  

 

We are not planning to Autoupdate existing users, but if you are seeing any of the problems above or want to be running the latest and greatest bits download it today!  You don’t have to uninstall your existing version - just run the new installer and it will keep your settings & existing index! 

 

-Paul Steckler & Bubba Murarka, Program Managers

 

Update: Edited the text to reflect that we use Watson for crash reporting, not Dr. Watson!  Thanks to Aaron for clarifying.  :)

Comments

  • Are you going to add a preview pane for search results like the reading pane found in Office Outlook? Or like the preview feature that other deskbar like Yahoo! offer?
    Are you going to add support for more file formats and especially for more e-mail clients?
    Also, the accessibility issue with the reading of the search results has not been fixed.
    Thanks for working hard on this product and I wish you the best.
  • As you say the search text is cleared after you perform a search. However, when you perform a search using word wheeling and you open one of the results suggested in the drop-down box, the search text is still not cleared. It cleared only when you perform an ordinary search. This is inconsistent and should be fixed.
  • I want to echo the request for Windows 2003 support.
  • Too bad can't use it at work (no Windows Server 2003 yet) to pour through my source files. How about support to Windows Server 2003 ?

    Thanks,
    Kannan
  • +1 for w2k3

    dominick
  • We hear you on the W2K3 issue and are working on it!
  • Desktop Search Blog » MSN Desktop Search Update
  • Where do you control the frequency of the indexing, be it full or incremental? I've looked around in the 'Options' area and don't find any settings that control the frequency.

    -Anantha-
  • Just tried and seemed very good, a few suggestions:

    - Better international characters support;
    - Include more IFilters;
    - Option to install the Desktop Search and related tools ONLY (cause I use Google Toolbar for web...);

    Thanks for making such a useful product.
  • The controls over when and how the indexing happen are in the status window (right click on the tray icon, choose Status).

    The default situation is "polite" indexing. Desktop Search will index when it determines that nothing else (you or an application) is using your computer.

    If you click the "Index Now" button, it indexes as fast as it can until done; note that this might slow down other things in your system.

    You can at any time press the Snooze button. This will cause indexing to completely pause for the specified amount of time.
  • Well let me ask the same question in a different way then. On a idle computer over a 24 hour period how frequently does it reindex the contents? Also is there a difference between the 'Index Now' and the Rebuild Index in the 'Options' dialog? I presume the 'Index Now' just does deltas, right? Further, it'd be very very useful if the indexing status page displayed the last time indexing (delta or full) completed. This gives me an indication on the 'freshness' of my results.

    I hope I'm making sense, it's pretty late in the day. BTW, I do enjoy the blog. Good night.

    -Anantha-

  • Once items have been indexed, Desktop Search goes into a "notification" based mode. That is, it only indexes things that change. For example, if you delete a file (and you've configured DS to index the folder that file lives in, of course), DS will remove that item from the index. To phrase it another way, DS hooks itself into change notification mechanisms in appropriate places around Windows and Outlook based on what you've told it to index.

    The only times another indexing pass will be made are:

    1. You press Rebuild Index. This does a completely new index from scratch. As you would expect, this can be very resource consuming.

    2. You press Index Now after indexing is complete. This kicks off an incremental index. DS will go through and look for changes; if it finds changes it will index them. Because DS picks up notifications, this is actually only useful on things that might change without a notification being sent (such as networked drives that were temporarily disconnected).

    Given how we handle notifications, "Freshness" is a hard concept and we've struggled with finding ways to communicate that successfully. We could in theory display the last time a full or incremental index was completed...but because of the notification handling, that doesn't give a complete picture. It might have been months since your last indexing pass, but your index will be perfectly up to date because DS has been catching all the appropriate notifications.

    In general, if your "Items to be indexed" in the status dialog is at 0, you're index is 100% fresh (not counting certain edge cases such as network drives that may be temporarily disconnected).

    ...Dave
  • How about having Desktop Search search through OneNote files? The search within OneNote is good, but Desktop Search should be able to search within my notebooks as well. I guess this is similar to how Apple's Spotlight search will actually index all content within PDFs. Does DesktopSearch look within files such as Word documents?
  • MrKurt » Blog Archive » MSN Desktop Search and Outlook Search Folders
  • Thanks for the detailed answer. It's great that DS hooks itself into the filesystem (for the directories in question) and in my case all my DS directories are local, so my index is ALWAYS fresh. That's great news indeed.

    Onto an Outlook question. Since DS hooks itself into Outlook when it is running it's index as it relates to Outlook will be fresh. What happens when I close/open Outlook like overnight? Does Outlook notify DS at startup time that it's back online and ready to be be indexed? Or is it that DS discovers Outlook is alive and starts the incremental indexing operation? Does the reindexing begin ASAP when the computer goes idle then?