No File Left Behind: Windows Desktop Search (WDS)

A few weeks ago, I started diving into a fantastic free tool for your desktops.  The tool is called Windows Desktop Search (WDS).  WDS is a search engine allowing you to search across all the types of information on our systems.  From your email, documents, photos and music, WDS will help break down the silos of information on your systems.  The tool is also enterprise friendly, it is very easy to deploy (upcoming screen cast) and it has several GPO settings to centrally manage the server.  To show the power of the tool, I decided to record a quick screen cast to show you what the tool can do.  


Enjoy, and please comment and let me know what you think of WDS.


Click here for the screen cast: Windows Desktop Search Overview


Here are some great resources for WDS:


Download Windows Desktop Search  

Windows Desktop Search Home:   

Windows Desktop Administrative Template:   

Advanced Query Reference:


Comments (15)

  1. Anonymous says:

    What is that thing and why do I care?

    My buddy Matt Hester has done a great tutorial on Windows Desktop…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Matt Hester wrote an article for TechNet Magazine on Windows Desktop Search (WDS).  The article…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Take a look at the excellent overview of Windows Desktop Search put together by Matt Hester over on his…

  4. Susan Wisowaty says:

    Way Cool! Thanks for the excellent and concise presentation, Matt. Great Job!

  5. Janson Ragon says:

    What a great introduction to WDS! I’m doing just as you say and about to deploy to some users in our environment (Tablet PC based), and use the GPO to control.  Do you have any information as to when an X64 version will be coming, or will that be in Vista only? I really believe WDS is a ‘killer app’ it really is a must have. Just a shame I cannot run on my X64 box :o(  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wondering about Windows Desktop Search?

    Wonder no more!

    My friend and “cow-orker”** Matt…

  7. Matt Hester says:

    Thank you for all the great comments!  I am glad everyone enjoyed the screencast.  I do know we do have some endeavors on getting 64 bit support down the road, I am still waiting to hear back from a guy in Redmond who is running the 64 bit WDS initiative.  But we are working on it.  I will post more when I can.

  8. Matt Hester says:

    Well, the minute I said I was waiting.  What do you know I hear back from the product group.  Here is the official public news:

    64 bits will be available in WDS3.0 Beta2 in July.

  9. Tim Barrett says:

    Hey Matt.  I was just getting ready to check out WDS, but Office 2007 Beta 2 just dropped – so back-burner time for WDS.

    BTW – The WM5 device (biometric one) we talked about in Louisville doesn’t support the MSFP.  There is no ‘process new mail upon arrival’ setting in ActiveSync like the PPC Phone Edition & SmartPhones bave.  If HP comes out with a BIOS update we may be able to remote wipe it, but until then, no dice.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Good Afternoon Searchers!  J

    Thank you for attending the web cast on Windows Desktop Search (WDS). …

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good day My Exchange Performance Guru’s

    Thank you for attending the web cast on Exchange Performance…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Guess what!   It’s official!  I am now a published author!!     <Hold…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Take a look at the excellent overview of Windows Desktop Search put together by Matt Hester over on his

  14. YShain says:

    I really like the product, once it is installed. Unfortunately it is ridiculously difficult to install in an Enterprise.

    1. Microsoft does not provide an MSI file.

    2. When you try to wrap your own, it is extremely difficult even for experienced engineers. There are 5 pages of additional modifications that have to be made after you compile the MSI, and even then it’s still flakey.

    3. Microsoft advertises that it is deployable via WSUS, but it’s not. You may be able to upgrade an existing version of the product once it’s already installed, but when you try to deploy it with SUS, it appears as either "Not Needed" on WSUS 2.0 or "Not Applicable on WSUS 3.0".

    4. Google has an MSI for their inferior Desktop Search product.


  15. Matt Hester says:

    Great comments YShain and guess what the product group heard you loud and clear!  You can know get a MSI file.  They just offered it.  Take a look here:

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