Search - The killer app in Vista and Office 2007

Information overload overran me long ago. No matter what the organization technique I use, I'm always struggling to locate a document or file based on some little artifact I can remember about it. While I have my issues with Office 2007's ribbon menus, the killer application for me is the search capabilities in Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007.

Searching my email PST file using some word or phrase has always been something I've lusted for. I tried the Google Desktop Search and Microsoft Desktop Search products and both of those were helpful. I gave up on Google Desktop Search because of security issues it had early on. Microsoft Desktop Search was helpful but the indexing engine always wanted to take over the machine right at the time I was trying to use it.

In Vista and Office 2007, search is very well implemented. Vista's Windows Explorer lets you search within the scope of the currently selected disk or folder. The Advanced Search link adds file size, date attributes, user assigned tags and author in addition to the name of the document and search within documents. The indexing engine means the search also looks in the content of the document. Outlook 2007 provides searching of all email items, only those within the selected folder, by date ranges, contents of email items, and virtually any other email attribute of an email item that Outlook tracks.

While it still bothers me on occasion to see the disk activity light on my drives lit up solid, at least I know everything is being indexed and is searchable. To give myself peace of mind, I also have a Sidebar gadget that tells me the top five processes taking CPU time so I know when all the activity is due to indexing, virus scans or other processes that might be using the disk so heavily.

The great search capabilities of Vista and Outlook 2007 is one of my top features in these products. Now that I have such a good search capability, it would be hard to give it up and go back to Windows XP or Office 2003.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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