Enhanced Search Using The Indexing Service

Published Date
01 - Mar - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2005
Enhanced Search Using The Indexing Service
How many times have you found yourself wishing that the Search Companion in Windows XP could turn up results faster? You have probably also wished that the search interface could have been simpler, too. At first glance, the Windows XP Search Companion looks complicated, but it happens to be a valuable and versatile tool for searching for files gone astray. However, it is true that it is agonisingly slow when searching for keywords contained in files. And when it starts searching through compressed files, your computer comes to a virtual standstill, because the search tool decompresses the files and then searches their contents.

However, there is a nifty and lesser-known feature in Windows XP known as the Indexing Service, which can index all files on your computer and make searching for files a whole new experience. We take a look here at how to implement the Indexing method.

Step 1. Open It Up
Go to Start >  Search > For Files or Folders. The Search Companion will open.

Step 2. Enable Indexing
In the Search Companion,  click on 'Change preferences'. In the next window,  click on 'With Indexing Service (for faster local searches)'. Now click on 'Yes, enable Indexing Service'.

Use the Indexing Service to search better

Step 3. Customise It
If you wish to customise the folders to be indexed, click on 'Change Indexing Service Settings (Advanced)'. In the Indexing Service window that opens, double-click 'System'. Double-click 'Directories'. Now, the folders being indexed will be listed. You can remove a folder from the list by clicking on the folder and pressing [Delete]. To add a folder, click on 'Action', then on 'New', and then on 'Directory'. Enter the name of the folder to index, and click OK.

The indexing process will begin. It might take several hours to complete, but it takes place in the background. Once the files have been indexed, you will notice a vast improvement in the speed at which search results are achieved. Just type the information about the required file in the 'A word or phrase in the file' box-the indexed files can be searched on the basis of this information using certain prefixes. For example, '@filename wash' will display all filenames that have the word 'wash' in them, whereas '!wash' will find files that have the word 'wash' somewhere in them.

How it Works 
The Windows Indexing Service uses a document filter that parses through a document, extracts text and properties and passes it on to the indexer. This process is known as indexing. The index ed files' information ,such as the file name,another name,keywords,size,etc.. is stored in the catalog file. 

You can also use advanced search features: for example, adding '*' (an asterisk) to the end of 'wash', as in 'wash*', will search for other words such as  'washer' or 'washing'. Boolean operators, too, are supported.

Advance Indexing Service settings

Double-click directories to see which folder are being indexed

Add the directory for indexing

You can also search for documents based on properties. For example,  specifying '@DocLastAuthor = Mahesh' will search for documents most recently edited by someone called 'Mahesh'. Specifying '@DocWordCount = 500' will search for documents whose word count is 500. For more information about such properties, refer to the 'is.chm' file in the Help folder in your Windows directory. The file is usually C:WindowsHelpis.chm.

If you are
searching for 
language term
What it
What it
searches for
Two terms in
the same document
gold & coin gold AND coin Documents with both the
words 'gold' and 'coin'
Either of two terms in
a document 
gold | coin gold OR coin Documents with either of the
words 'gold' and 'coin'
One term without a
second term being present
gold & ! coin gold AND NOT coin Documents with the word 'gold'
but not the word 'coin'
Documents not matching
a property value
! @size = 300 NOT {prop name=size} = 300 Documents that are not 300
bytes large
Two terms that are close
together in the same document 
gold ~ coin gold NEAR coin Documents with the word 'gold'
following or preceding 'coin'
Either of two terms, and not two
other terms if they are close together
gold | coin &! (leather~bag) gold OR coin AND NOT
(leather NEAR bag)
Documents with the word 'gold'
or 'coin', and not with the words
'leather' and 'bag' if the latter
are within 50 words of each other

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