Windows Search 4.0 (WS4) is the next version of desktop search for system running Windows operating system. Windows Search 4.0 which replaces Windows Desktop Search (WDS) and automatically upgrades WDS version 2.6 and later (older versions must be uninstalled first), can perform instant search on user’s computer to find and preview documents, e-mail messages, music files, photos, and other items.
The WS4 powered search engine service upgrades the existing search engine service in Windows Vista after installed, and is used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote 2007, and also used to index a program’s content and to obtain instant results when you search in a particular program. Windows Vista blog describes the enhancements to Windows Search 4.0 on Windows Vista.
- With Windows Search 4.0, the Windows Search Team has fixed most of the reported bugs causing a majority of distractions users have seen and reported since Windows Vista RTM.
- Great improvements have been made with regards to performance. Even now as Preview, Windows Search 4.0 has query response time about 33% faster than search queries in Windows Vista RTM.
- The Windows Search Team has extended Remote Index Discovery for PC-to-PC search to work on every supported version of Windows. This makes finding information on other PCs running Windows Search 4.0 quick and less resource-consuming. Now Windows Search can find information shared on a remote PC by accessing an index on that PC, and you will open files only when relevant to your search. This will also work if the user’s profile is redirected.
- The Windows Search Team has implemented Rollback Recovery where your search index will roll back to the last known good state (this is good in handling disc write errors). If an error occurs, your index isn’t rebuilt from scratch; only the newly changed files are added to the index, making recovery from system errors not as disruptive to the machine or the user.
- Improved performance when indexing Exchange in online mode, sending fewer packets and making less RPC calls, with significantly less load on the Exchange server too during the process.
- Support for Group Policy settings is extended and improved; per-user policy is supported now.
- Support EFS – Windows Search 4.0 will index encrypted files, and user can search for them in the sane UI and through the same user experience as seen with regular, unencrypted files.
More information, improvements and changelog can be read at KB940157.
Windows Search 4.0 Preview supports Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1), 32-bit Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later, all 64-bit Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Home Server, and the English version of the WS4 can be downloaded from direct download links from Microsoft Download Center server below.
Windows Search 4.0 final version has been released for free download.
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