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• May 19, 2005 •

Microsoft Delivers Desktop Search Capability for Windows

Microsoft Delivers Desktop Search Capability for Windows This week, Microsoft launched its new the new MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search, a suite of tools that helps people rapidly search across the Web or their PC and provides easy access to world-leading MSN services. The final version of the MSN Search Toolbar includes free enhancements for Windows 2000 and Windows XP customers.

"By offering the most integrated desktop search capabilities for Windows, now people can search their PC as fast as they can search the Web," said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for the MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform division at Microsoft. "The new MSN Search Toolbar makes it easy for customers to find precisely what they're looking for, no matter where it resides."

By dramatically upgrading desktop search capabilities in the Windows operating system, Microsoft is providing Windows customers with powerful new searching enhancements that allow them to quickly search through mountains of digital data and find precisely what they're looking for. Windows Desktop Search includes the following features:

  • Fast, precise retrieval of desktop files. Using one tool, you can search more than 200 file types on your PC including Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail files; Outlook Contacts or Calendar files; multimedia files; Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 files; MP3, GIF and JPEG files; Adobe or .PDF files; and more. Searching is also efficient with search-as-you-type functionality. You can even search e-mail attachments.
  • One-step searches and familiar interfaces. You can save valuable time and avoid hassle by initiating searches from Internet Explorer, Outlook or the Windows desktop -- wherever you are working on your PC.
  • Useful, actionable results. You can accomplish more with useful and informative search results due to powerful filtering and sorting capabilities. A preview pane provides helpful summaries for each search result (Figure), allowing you to preview the contents of you PC directly from the desktop search view and drag and drop files into other applications, which lets them quickly find and act on the items they need. You can open files in their associated application directly from desktop search results, as well as quickly initiate actions such as managing, sharing, deleting or playing files (Figure).
  • Privacy protection. You can enjoy a better-protected and more-private desktop searching experience. The MSN Search Toolbar is built on the current Windows security and privacy model, which is designed to respect the privacy of multiple users on a single PC by utilizing the Windows authentication and user account management infrastructure.
  • Customization. You'll have the ability to select what information gets indexed and the types of files that are searched, including Outlook folders. Easy setup tools such as a First Run Wizard make it simple to customize Windows Desktop Search. You also can take advantage of the plug-in architecture and download third-party Ifilters from to extend the variety of file types that can be indexed and searched.

The MSN Search Toolbar also gives you one-click access to and interaction with MSN services, including MSN Messenger, MSN Hotmail, new MSN Search; and MSN Spaces.

The MSN Search Toolbar is available now in English in the United States. Global availability is planned for later this year.

System Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows XP operating system or Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 SP4. 64 bit Windows is not supported. If you have Windows 98, download MSN Toolbar 1.2 instead.
  • Pentium 500MHz processor or better (1GHz recommended).
  • Minimum 128MB of RAM (256MB recommended).
  • 500MB of hard disk space recommended. Your index size depends on how much content you have on your hard drive.
  • 1024 x 768 screen resolution recommended.
  • Microsoft Outlook 2000+ or Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0+ to index and search your email.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later must be installed, though it does not need to be your default browser.
  • Full preview of Microsoft Office documents in Desktop Search results only available for Microsoft Office XP or later.
  • Pop-up Blocker requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later.


The MSN Search Toolbar, available for free download at

Corporate Version

In response to feedback from corporate customers looking for desktop searching capabilities designed for their needs, Microsoft is developing a desktop search offering, built on Windows Desktop Search, for the corporate environment. Scheduled to be available in beta form by the end of the calendar year, the offering will enable corporations to empower employees with fast, powerful searching capabilities across their PC, with plentiful customization options.

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