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WDS Pre-Installation Considerations

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Before installing Windows Desktop Search, administrators must consider several factors, including the following:

In this section, we will look at these issues and discuss methods that you can use to manage these situations so that you have a successful and painless rollout.

Microsoft has two versions of Windows Desktop Search (WDS) that work on most Windows computers. For older operating systems or mixed environments, WDS 2.6.6 provides most of the same benefits as WDS 3.01. WDS 3.01, which is built in to Windows Vista, integrates with Microsoft Office 2007 to add enhanced search capabilities. Both versions provide the necessary tools for deploying and managing the software across your organization.

The following table recommends a version of WDS for each operating system and Office version combination.

 

  Office 2007 Office 2003 Office XP

Vista

Built-in

Built-in

Built-in

Windows XP SP2

WDS 3.01

WDS 3.01

WDS 3.01

Windows XP SP1

Not supported

WDS 2.6.6

WDS 2.6.6

Windows 2004 SP4

Not supported

WDS 2.6.6

WDS 2.6.6

Windows Server 2003

WDS 3.01

WDS 3.01

WDS 3.01

Windows XP/Server 64-bit

WDS 3.01

WDS 3.01

WDS 3.01

Administrators should also consider the following integration and extension factors:

  • To start searches from within Microsoft Office Outlook 2003/XP/2000, you can use Windows Live Toolbar or MSN Search Toolbar. If Group Policy support is required, then you need the MSN Search Toolbar version 02.06.

  • MSN Toolbar is disabled within Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 because the functionality is already a part of Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

  • The ability to index UNC files shares is not supported on 64-bit versions of Windows.

The following table describes the recommended upgrade paths.

 

If your current version is: We recommend that you:

None

Install highest version based on the table above

2.6.5

Upgrade to WDS 2.6.6

2.6.6

Migrate to 3.01 with Office 2007 deployment

3.0

Upgrade to WDS 3.01

WDS currently supports 33 languages. You can either deploy a specific international version of WDS or deploy Multilingual User Interface (MUI) packs which contain the English version of WDS. Users of the MUI pack can switch user interfaces according to their language preference.

WDS is available in the following language installers:

 

Chinese Simplified

Finnish

Japanese

Russian

Chinese Traditional

French

Korean

Spanish

Czech

German

Norwegian

Swedish

Danish

Greek

Polish

Turkish

Dutch

Hungarian

Portuguese

English

Italian

Portuguese (Brazilian)

The MUI pack enables WDS to search in the following languages:

 

Bulgarian

French

Norwegian

Spanish

Chinese Simplified

German

Polish

Swedish

Chinese Traditional

Greek

Portuguese

Thai

Croatian

Hungarian

Portuguese (Brazilian)

Turkish

Czech

Italian

Romanian

Ukrainian

Danish

Japanese

Russian

Dutch

Korean

Serbian - Latin

Estonian

Latvian

Slovak

Finnish

Lithuanian

Slovenian

You can use the English .adm file to create Group Policy Objects (GPO) for international users. For settings that require you to enter text, such as the name of the intranet scope, enter the information in the appropriate language.

Windows Desktop Search complies with the Windows Security model and is subject to frequent review. Microsoft Corporation has taken significant steps to help ensure the security of the index file. WDS runs as a system service; however, security trimming ensures users cannot access any data they do not have permission to see.

WDS is designed to help ensure the security of the index file:

  • By default, WDS does not make the computer’s content accessible to Microsoft or anyone else.

  • WDS installs the index file in a protected area on the hard disk:

    %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Search\Data\ (Windows XP)

    %systemdrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\ (Windows Vista)

  • In Windows Vista, users can query remote Vista computers only if (1) the data is shared and (2) the querying user has access to the shared data.

  • Each user can search only their own files and files in shared locations.

  • Users cannot search documents in another user’s folders unless those areas are specifically shared.

One index is maintained per computer so shared data stored on local drives is indexed only once. In addition, each user’s data is distinguishable by a unique user security identifier {SID}.

System administrators can use Group Policy to prohibit specific paths or file types from being indexed. WDS indexes information as follows:

  • By default, WDS indexes only each user’s e-mail and Documents and Settings folders (although users can add custom locations like network shares).

  • WDS does not index sensitive information, such as the Internet cache or Office password files.

  • WDS indexes mail and attachments in a secure environment. Indexing of mail attachments can be turned off with Group Policy.

  • The WDS index is updated in the background when data is added, deleted, and modified, so the user doesn’t need to rebuild the index manually.

  • The WDS index is obfuscated by default, but can be strongly encrypted using the Windows Operating Systems encryption options.

Furthermore, some versions of WDS can index Encrypting File System (EFS)-encrypted files and BitLocker-encrypted drives:

  • WDS 2.6.6 can index EFS-encrypted files.

  • WDS 3.01 on Windows XP/Server 2003 cannot index encrypted files or drives.

  • Vista can index EFS-encrypted files and BitLocker-encrypted drives.

For detailed information about how to use Group Policy with Windows Desktop Search, see the WDS Group Policy section.

You can strongly encrypt the WDS index using Encrypting File System (EFS), the core file encryption technology used to store encrypted files on NTFS file system volumes. For more information on EFS, visit the Encrypting File System Overview Web page.

To encrypt the index after installing Vista or WDS, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new folder for the index file.

  2. Encrypt the folder:

    1. Right-click the new folder.

    2. Select Properties from the context menu.

    3. Click the Advanced button.

    4. Select the Encrypt contents checkbox.

  3. Use the Indexing Options dialog to move the file.

    1. Open the Indexing Options dialog from WDS or Control Panel.

    2. Click the Advanced button.

    3. Under Index location, enter the path to the new folder in the New location field or click Select new and locate the folder.

    4. Click the OK button.

  4. Reset the search service or reboot to move the index file.

    1. Open compmgmt.msc using the Run box.

    2. Select the Services and Applications node.

    3. Select Services.

    4. Double-click the Windows Search service.

    5. Under Service Status, click the Stop button.

    6. Once the service is successfully stopped, click the Start button.

      The index is moved and is now encrypted and usable.

With WDS Group Policies, you can control the access each user group has to enterprise data. Group policies can (1) define default WDS settings the user can change and (2) enforce settings the user cannot change. Group Policy is supported by Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 with WDS 3.01 and by Windows Vista.

To plan effective policies, your organizational units should be logically structured in terms of their requirements for accessing information. For example, the accounting department may have access to shared financial systems requiring more security than the order fulfillment systems accessed by the shipping and receiving department.

As in most software deployments, the more time spent organizing and planning how best to meet the different requirements of your users, the better the outcome will be. For detailed information about how to use Group Policy with Windows Desktop Search, see the WDS Group Policy section.

For Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003, IT administrators can use Group Policy to specify a primary intranet search location and any number of secondary intranet search locations like Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server or Windows SharePoint Services.

IT administrators can also allow or prevent users from starting Web searches from WDS, using the users' default web browser. Once these policies are applied, users can do the following:

  • Start an intranet search from the Windows Deskbar or the WDS results view.

  • Switch between search results from the desktop, the intranet, and the Web from the WDS results view.

For more information about Group Policy options, see the WDS Group Policy section.

Enabling users to index network shares may temporarily increase the network traffic to these locations. The greatest impact on servers is seen building the initial index, and less impact is seen during subsequent incremental updates.

WDS uses back-off logic to mitigate network traffic, and Group Policy further controls what WDS can index. For example, with WDS 3.01 on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you can set a policy that disables indexing network paths to high volume servers. Furthermore, in Windows Vista, a user’s Offline Files cache is indexed by default, so you can reduce network impact by having users take files offline for local indexing.

Before deploying WDS, IT administrators need to assess users' requirements for indexing network shares and to review the available Group Policy settings.

To keep a current index of all e-mail messages and attachments without excessively taxing the mail server, Windows Desktop Search can index Microsoft Outlook content in both cached and uncached mode but is configured by default not to index content on the Exchange server.

If you run in cached mode with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or later, WDS indexes the e-mail messages and attachments stored locally on the user’s computer. Outlook receives new e-mail and other information from the Exchange server and saves the data on a local mail store file, which WDS indexes. This type of indexing eliminates extra load on the Exchange server and reduces the network bandwidth.

If you run in uncached mode with Exchange 2000 or later, WDS reduces the impact on Exchange by reducing the number of Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) required to index e-mail messages and attachments. Also, because e-mail messages are indexed in native formats (HTML, RTF, and text), the server isn't required to convert mail types. Furthermore, WDS indexes public folders only when they are cached locally.

ImportantImportant
When running in uncached mode, you must configure WDS 3.01 with Group Policy to index users' e-mail. Unlike WDS 2.6.x, WDS 3.01 is configured by default not to index content on the Exchange server.

There are Group Policy options available to manage the impact on Exchange while still allowing your users to index the information they require. For more information about Group Policy options for WDS, see the WDS Group Policy section. For more information about Group Policy options for Outlook, download the Outlook Resource Kit (ORK) for the version of Outlook you are using.

WDS works with Roaming User Profiles. However, each desktop maintains a single, shared index for all users of that computer. This index does not move with the user, so when a user logs into a computer for the first time, the data in his or her profile is re-indexed.

Windows Desktop Search can be supported on terminal servers. However, there are a couple of issues to be aware of when there are many users on the system simultaneously:

  • Indexer performance is reduced because it is backed off more often. For example, one user may be idle, but another user may generate a lot of CPU usage or I/O.

  • System performance may be affected, particularly in cases where users click the Index Now button.

We recommend that IT departments test these scenarios before deploying WDS.

WDS can be extended with add-ins that allow indexing of new and proprietary file types and data sources. Some of these add-ins are developed by Microsoft and others are developed by third parties. Natively, WDS 3.01 indexes 200 file types on NTFS and FAT drives. WDS can also index digital cameras, card readers, thumb drives, and firewire drives as long as they identify themselves as removable drives.

For more information on default file types, file systems, and data sources supported by WDS, see the Extending Windows Desktop Search section of this guide. For a list of downloadable add-ins, visit the Windows Search: Personalize It page.

See Also

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