The MS search is over

Microsoft has announced the launch of the final version of its MSM Desktop Search tool, which takes the pain out of searching for computer files. The free software is part of the MSN Search Toolbar Suite, which Microsoft introduced several months ago as a test version.

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By  Jane Plunkett Published  May 26, 2005

Microsoft has announced the launch of the final version of its MSM Desktop Search tool, which takes the pain out of searching for computer files. The free software is part of the MSN Search Toolbar Suite, which Microsoft introduced several months ago as a test version. The test version let computer users search by file names and by the contents of documents, e-mails, calendar entries, pictures and PowerPoint presentations. The new version expands the types of files supported and also lets users customise how the program sorts different files, whether by date, size, author or sender, among other options. The final version of the MSN Search software includes preview panes that offer a detailed glimpse at files as they're found on the computer. If you were looking for a picture, for example, you could see the image itself, instead of just an icon and a file name. A feature Yahoo's desktop search product also provides. Searching for PDF files based on keywords in the body of the document will require a separate plug-in that can be downloaded with the software. The product also integrates itself with some of the leading office and email applications in the market, as well as other MSN services. As such the search tool supports 200 file types including Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail files, Outlook Contacts or Calendar files and email attachments. It can also search Word 2003, Excel 2003, PowerPoint 2003 file formats. Among the non-Microsoft formats supported are MP3, GIF and JPEG files, and Adobe or .PDF files. Searches can take place from Internet Explorer, Outlook or the Windows desktop. Desktop-searching has become an incredibly competitive field. Yahoo, Google and America Online, among others, have similar products already out or in testing. Microsoft’s final MSM Desktop Search tool product hits the market two months after Google launched its own desktop search product out of beta. Searching from the desktop was originally slated to be a feature of 'Longhorn', the next version of Windows. However, delays to Longhorn meant that Google could get its product out first and no doubt this encouraged Microsoft to promptly follow suit. The Microsoft desktop search software will work only on machines running Windows 2000 or Windows XP. "By offering the most integrated search capabilities for Windows, now people can search their PC as fast as they can search the Web," said Yusef Mehdi, an MSN vice president.

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