How does Outlook 2003 Cached Mode leverage Exchange 2003 Full-Text Indexing?


For those of you who have enabled Full-Text Indexing, you know that when it works it executes searches very quickly returning results for not only e-mail messages but also Word, Excel, HTML, and PowerPoint documents/attachments.  However, since Outlook 2003 has come along with "Cached Mode" some people want to know if their Full-Text Indexing is being leveraged any more by Outlook.  Well, it is not.  That's right, Outlook 2003 in Cached Mode does not execute queries against the Exchange Server or the Full-Text Index on the server, and there is no way to make Outlook 2003 execute the query against the server.


So now what?  Do you just delete your Full-Text Indices and go on about your day?  Well, if you are running older versions of Outlook (Outlook XP, Outlook 2000) or Outlook 2003 in Online Mode, they will still send the queries back to the Exchange server which will use Full-Text Indexing if the feature is enabled and if the query can be partially or fully satisfied by the Full-Text Indexing (MSSearch) service.  Also, if you have clients using OWA, OWA still leverages the Full-Text Indexing feature if it is enabled.


The only problem that you might have with leaving Full-Text Indexing enabled, is that if you have users who regularly do searches via OWA might get used to the faster searches, Office document indexing, and attachment indexing that Full-Text Indexing provides and they may come to expect the same behavior from Outlook 2003 in Cached Mode!


- Chris Ahlers


Comments (9)
  1. Luke Edson says:

    What about the MSN toolbar "Desktop Search" function, does that work just as well?

  2. Chris Ahlers says:

    You ask an interesting question Luke that I am unfortunately unable to give a definitive answer to. However, I do believe one of my colleagues might be working on a post that will address you question, so stay tuned!

  3. James Raaymakers says:

    Does this apply if you disable Cached Mode?

  4. obi says:

    Try Lookout. It’s the best thing to come around for Outlook in a long time. It’s so good Microsoft bought the product.

  5. sonicbum says:

    So, am I to assume that with Full-Text Indexing disabled, OWA searches would work the same as Outlook 2003 Cache Mode searches? Text fields only?

  6. Chris Ahlers says:

    James Raaymakers–

    As I stated in my original post, Outlook 2003 in Online Mode will still leverage the Full-Text Index if it exists.

    –Chris

  7. Chris Ahlers says:

    Sonicbum–

    Logically speaking, the answer to your question is yes. Technically speaking, however, OWA Search and Outlook 2003 in Cached Mode work very differently.

    Whether Full-Text Indexing is enabled or not, OWA searches will always be sent back to the Exchange server to be executed. If Full-Text Indexing is enabled, then you will be able to search attachments and Free Docs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).

    With Outlook 2003 in Cached Mode, the query is always executed against the local OST. It is never sent back to the Exchange Server.

    –Chris

  8. lars says:

    How about searches against public folders with OL 2003 in cached mode? Since in most cases, public folders will not be in the OST, the query will have to go the Exchange Server. Will a full-text index of the public folders on the Exchange Server spead up the query in this case?

  9. Todd Day says:

    I guess since no one has asked, I just gotta know… WHY?

    I’ve got everyone going on cached exchange mode to cut down banging on the server. Also, it is great for my laptop and home users. So why isn’t the full-text index used whenever a server connection is available, NO MATTER WHAT?

    Maybe I’m not supposed to have cached mode on all the workstations in the company, but certainly, home users and laptop users NEED cached mode. So why can’t they use the full-text index when connected?

    This makes zero sense to me because queries made against the local database take several minutes. I have to run Copernic search engine on my desktop machine just to have decent text search of my email.

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