More on MSN Desktop Search

I've been using MSN Desktop Search (MDS) for several days now and overall am happy with it. Since I'm using Outlook and Office I don't have a problem with its lack of support for some non-MS technologies. Its search is fast, though the results aren't presented as cleanly as Google's.

One thing that has annoyed me, though, is the fact that when I initiate a search from the MDS taskbar window it launches a new IE window to display search results, instead of displaying in an existing IE instance. I run Avant Browser and it would be more convenient if it opened a new tab in Avant Browser instead, especially since IE doesn't seem to remember its screen position or size from execution to execution.

I've also been told to look at Copernic. I haven't tried it myself, but a colleague has and reports that, while its much more configurable than MDS, its search is slow.

Since I'm blogging now I thought I'd share with you some of the other blogs to which I subscribe:

Originally by Mark Russinovich on 3/21/2005 4:37:00 PM
Migrated from original

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

How about some comments to each of these blogs (eg why do you read them)?

3/21/2005 6:51:00 PM by legolas

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

Hi Mark. Just to let you know that the results displayed by MSN desktop search live in a shell namespace extension rather than HTML, and so are displayed in explorer, not Internet Explorer. This is tight integration, not product lock in!

(You can see this better by showing the folders tree view when looking at your results)

3/22/2005 10:51:00 AM by Anonymous

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

I'd agree that you should check out Copernic, I still think its the leader at the moment in terms of useability and customisation, possibly speed isn't there but I haven't noticed that.

3/23/2005 3:57:00 AM by Anonymous

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

I haven't looked at the other desktop search engines as much and they may have similar functionality, but one of the features I love about MSN search is the shortcuts I can create.

If you want to understand better what I'm talking about have a look at

I've mapped the deskbar to a windows key shortcut and created a ton of shortcuts to my most used apps, websites, etc ... including process explorer!! 🙂 I can get to any of these with only a few keystrokes.

3/23/2005 1:01:00 PM by karan

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

Hey Mark,

I know how IE positions windows - and it makes some sense when you think about it.

Okay, let's say you open a window in IE. That window opens to the last closed browser window size. So, if you have 3 windows open and they are different sizes, and you close one of them, the next browser window you open will be the same size and position of the one you just closed. IE probably just calls GetWindowPlacement() and stores the data in the registry when a browser window is closed. When a new window is opened, IE pulls the data from the registry and obliviously calls SetWindowPlacement() - assuming that's the setting you want.

Here's how I work around the problem - I always have a browser window open set to the size and position _I_ like it set to - I try to make it the last IE window I ever close, so I rarely have a problem.

Karen said something about mapping stuff to hotkeys - one tool I use extensively is called SnadBoy's TopDesk - I put the top 15 things I use on my desktop (which is always covered up by some app) and TopDesk is mapped to Ctrl-Shift-Alt-D to pop up a menu containing all of my desktop icons.

Be sure to check out my blog:

It isn't as active right now because I'm in the middle of a huge software conversion, but it will start being active again once that's done (hopefully in the next couple weeks).

- Thomas Hruska

3/27/2005 8:46:00 PM by Thomas Hruska

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

IE not "remembering" it's window positioning from execution to execution is by design.

It's to prevent malware from impersonating a website by launching a window exactly over the current window such that the user doesn't notice they've been switched.

Every time IE closes it updates it's window position, but when you open a new window, no window will occupy exactly the same window position as another. Hence, after opening the very first window, the rest seem to jump around all over the place.

My next move will be to FireFox, I think...

4/12/2005 11:56:00 AM by Andre Sihera

# re: More on MSN Desktop Search

Hi, Mark.
The problem with applications polling continuosly the registry is bad and too widespread. For example, many years ago I complained to Faxtalk but they didn't seem to give the issue any importance. It's also one of the reasons I ran away from Symantec products: they are not only resource hogs but they poll too often the registry and the file system (one clear example was Winfax, but most of Symantec products have the same flaw). Maybe you could setup a section of your site to list the bad behaved SW known to your readers.

4/13/2005 11:48:00 PM by Claudio

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