Windows Search: Frequently Asked Questions

Applies To: Windows 7




For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.
For a downloadable version of this document, see the Windows Search: Frequently Asked Questions in the Microsoft Download Center (

Windows® Search provides an easy and comprehensive solution for browsing and finding your information—whether that information is stored on your hard disk, connected file shares, document portals, or Web sites.

Does Windows 7 help me spend less time searching?

Yes. In Windows 7, Windows Explorer can help make sifting through search results easier. The Content view displays an excerpt from supported document types and highlights matching keywords. You can also preview supported file types in the Preview pane. These features can help you find the right document quickly without having to open each document to see its contents.

Windows Search can index and search most common file types, including text files, Microsoft® Office Word® documents, Microsoft Office Excel® spreadsheets, pictures, videos, and music. Windows Search can index the metadata in media files, documents, and program files.

What is indexing?

Windows Search creates and maintains an index of a computer’s contents. Just as a book’s index allows readers to quickly find references to specific words, the Windows Search index allows you to find specific words or phrases in e-mail messages, calendar appointments, documents, photos, and other files—even in metadata. Additionally, applications can install their own iFilters, which enable Windows Search to index even more file types. Windows Search maintains the index as you add, modify, and remove files. For more information about indexing, see the following blogs:

Does indexing affect the performance of my computer?

Windows Search is smart about what you’re doing on your computer. When it sees that you or an application is actively using the system, Windows Search throttles back so that you or an application can take full advantage of the computer’s resources. When the computer enters an idle state, Windows Search continues indexing more actively.

What are search connectors?

Search connectors are a component of the Federated Search feature in Windows 7. In Windows Explorer, you can use search connectors to search Web sites or intranet sites that are OpenSearch capable. You can find search connectors for many popular third party Web sites by searching Bing for “Windows 7” and “search connector.”

Will search connectors work in previous version of Windows?

No. Search connectors work only in Windows 7.

Can I write my own search connector?

The Windows 7 Federated Search Provider Implementer's Guide describes how to build search connectors.

Windows Search has a new search builder, which allows you to quickly define and narrow your search results for an even more targeted outcome. You can use a variety of dynamic filters to restrict queries to specific locations, file types, or file properties. To use the search builder, click the Search box in Windows Explorer. You’ll see a drop-down list of filters that you can use in your search. To add a filter, click it and then choose a dynamic value. For example, open your Documents library in Windows Explorer. Then, click the Search box, click Type:, and click one of the file types that the Search box displays. Windows Explorer generates this list dynamically based on the contents of the library.

When describing Windows 7 to your friends and family, you can let them know that Windows Search provides one place to search for everything—a one-stop-search of sorts. Using one tool, your friends and family can search their computers, home networks, or even the Internet. In Windows 7, searching can be quicker than in Windows Vista, and the results are more relevant. More computer-savvy friends and family will want to know that Windows 7 puts them in control of their search experiences.