WDS Installation Considerations

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Windows Desktop Search is released as a software package in a single, self-executing file. The naming convention for the WDS installation package is the following:


In the file name, XXX is the placeholder for the language code. For example, WindowsDesktopSearch-KB917013-V301-XP-x86-enu.exe is the file name of the U.S. English installation package. The installation package name changes with each release of the product. Specifically, the “KB” number in the file name changes to reflect the Knowledge Base article that is associated with the release. This number may change or be completely removed from the filename.

WDS must be installed by a user who has administrator permissions on the computer. If prompted to restart the computer, we recommend that users do restart the computer.

When WDS is installed on Windows XP, a shortcut is added to the Start menu and to the taskbar of all users of the computer, and the Deskbar is automatically made available on all users’ taskbars. The search engine creates the catalog (index file) and begins indexing the items within the specified scope.

The WDS installer is based on the Windows package installer technology (formerly called Update.exe) that installs software updates for Microsoft Windows operating systems and components. If you are interested in learning more about the package installer, visit the Windows Installer page on MSDN (http://g.microsoft.com/8WSENUS030000WDS/WDSAdminGuideUpdateCommand)

This section includes information and advice on the following topics:

  • What’s Included in the Installation Package

  • Finding the Latest Version of WDS

  • Installing International Versions

  • Upgrading Between Versions

What’s Included in the Installation Package

WDS 3.01 includes the following major components:

  • WDS Indexer: Indexes more than 200 file types and content stores.

  • Windows Deskbar (XP): Provides a search-as-you-type interface in the Taskbar.

  • Desktop Search results view: Displays search results and enables readers to preview, filter, and act on search results.

  • Search companion integration: Upgrades the Search Companion or Search Assistant in the Windows operating system.

  • Indexing options (Control Panel): Lets you specify what to index, where to index, and more.

  • Windows Desktop Search Add-in for Files on Microsoft Networks: Enables indexing and searching on Microsoft network shares. This is no longer a separate add-in.

  • Windows Desktop Search ADM Template file: Enables Group Policy settings.

Finding the Latest Version of WDS

Network administrators must be able to manage and control the versions of the applications they support. To make this easier, WDS is fully supported by Microsoft Update. However, there are several methods that can be used to obtain the latest version of WDS:

To find out which version of WDS you're currently running:

  1. Open Control Panel

  2. Click Add or Remove Programs.

  3. Find the entry for Windows Desktop Search and select Click here for support information. The version number is listed in the Support Info box.

For information on deploying Windows Desktop Search, see the WDS Deployment Options section of this guide.

Installing International Versions

If your organization requires international versions of WDS for users who speak different languages, you can either deploy localized versions of WDS or deploy a WDS Multilingual User Interface (MUI) pack with the English version. The latter is recommended when multiple language users work on a single computer. The MUI pack lets your users switch user interfaces based on their language preference. To use the WDS MUI pack, the Windows MUI pack must already be installed.


On Windows Vista, there is no need to install the separate WDS MUI pack. WDS uses whatever language pack for Windows Vista you install and set up.

Installing Windows Desktop Search MUI Pack

The Windows Desktop Search MUI pack works together with the Windows MUI pack. Therefore, you must install the Windows MUI pack before you install the WDS MUI pack. When you change the default language of the Windows, WDS will also update to use the same language.

For best results, use the following steps when installing WDS and the WDS MUI pack:

  1. Install the Windows MUI pack.

  2. Install the WDS MUI pack (which includes the installation of WDS).

  3. Change the Windows Regional and Language options:

    1. In the Regional and Language Options item in Control Panel, click the Languages tab.

    2. In the Languages used in menus and dialogs list, choose the language you want, and then click OK.

  4. Log off and then log on as the same user.

The WDS user interface uses the language you selected in Regional and Language Options.

To download the MUI pack, visit the WDS MUI Pack download page (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=32DF0391-9D07-4BD4-9ACC-A76BCA48A7D4).

For more information about the Windows MUI pack, visit the Configuring and Using International Features of Windows Web page (http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/reference/win2k/setup/default.mspx).

Upgrading Between Versions

If you upgrade from WDS 2.6.x or later, you can upgrade to WDS 3.x or later. If you upgrade from WDS 2.6 to 3.01, WDS 2.6 is automatically uninstalled first. No settings migrate from WDS 2.6 to WDS 3.01. After installation, WDS completely rebuilds the index. In addition, any 3rd party or Microsoft add-ins will need to be reinstalled.

If you upgrade from WDS 2.5000.1119 or earlier, you should uninstall that version and install WDS 3.x or later. These older versions can be uninstalled with remote system management. If you choose to upgrade from WDS 2.5 to 3.01, WDS 2.5 is automatically uninstalled first. No settings migrate from WDS 2.5 to WDS 3.01. After installation, WDS completely rebuilds the index.


Uninstalling the MSN toolbar suite and installing WDS 3.x or later does not restore MSN Search Toolbar functionality. If the MSN Search Toolbar is still required after WDS is installed, visit the MSN Search Toolbar (for Enterprise deployment) Web page to download and install the latest version of Toolbar.

If you upgrade from WDS 3.0 to 3.01, the upgrade preserves the existing index and any scopes you have configured. If the add-in for files on Microsoft Networks (UNC/FAT PH) is installed with WDS 3.0, it is uninstalled and then reinstalled with WDS 3.01 since it is included in WDS 3.01 package itself. All the other 3rd-party protocol handlers (like IE History) installed before upgrade continue to work as expected.


If you upgrade from WDS 3.0 to 3.01 and then choose to uninstall WDS 3.01, the uninstaller indicates that WDS 3.0 is being uninstalled. However, uninstall process removes both WDS 3.01 and 3.0 binaries.

If you are currently running Windows Vista, you do not need to install or upgrade to WDS 3.x.

For WDS version information, see the WDS Version History.


When uninstalling WDS, users can receive a generic warning that some programs may rely on WDS and could fail to function if the uninstall is completed. The Windows package installer keeps track of all the programs that it installs and when a user tries to uninstall one of those programs, Update.exe warns users with a list of programs were installed after the program being uninstalled. This is done to allow users to consider the possible dependencies between programs before uninstalling a program. Our testing has shown that such dependencies do not exist between WDS and other programs. You can continue to uninstall WDS without complications.

See Also


WDS System Requirements
WDS Version History
WDS 3.01 Troubleshooting Guide

Other Resources

Windows Installer page on MSDN
WDS MUI Pack download page
Configuring and Using International Features of Windows Web page