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Summary:

There is no shortage of desktop search tools to choose from with Yahoo’s recent entrant into this hot but crowded field.  Yahoo Desktop Search (YDS) joins the tools from Google and MSN who also produce free programs that do basically the same thing but with slightly […]

Yds_mainThere is no shortage of desktop search tools to choose from with Yahoo’s recent entrant into this hot but crowded field.  Yahoo Desktop Search (YDS) joins the tools from Google and MSN who also produce free programs that do basically the same thing but with slightly different interfaces.  Yahoo is the most recent company to produce a free desktop search and since I’ve tried or used all the rest I decided to give this one a whirl.  My mainstream search tool has been the free Copernic Desktop Search for a good while and I really like it so for one of the other programs to replace it in my arsenal it will have to be good.  Neither Google nor MSN Desktop Search could knock Copernic off the top of the hill so I didn’t have high hopes for YDS.

YDS uses a web-based installer instead of a standard Windows installer that prevents you from downloading the setup file to your PC for installation later.  It doesn’t make a big difference but it is a deviation from the norm.  Once installed YDS begins indexing your files and information which is a pretty fast process.  Yahoo uses the X1 engine for the search tool which is an excellent but expensive search engine so I was expecting YDS to be fast and couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Yds_outlook_1

Yds_contactsYds_filesYDS installs a search bar in Outlook if you have it on your system which gives you a convenient toolbar for entering searches quickly.  Like the other search tools YDS lets you search for files, contacts, emails, email attachements, images, music and my favorite option which Copenic doesn’t have, all of the above.  What sets YDS apart from the competition is the ability to enter multiple search terms to narrow your search.  These terms can be a part of the name, file type, date, size or path of whatever item you are looking for.  For example you can enter part of the name and then the file type if you know you are looking for a PowerPoint presentation.  Simple and effective.  YDS begins narrowing the returned results with each letter you enter in the search bar so it works well even if you don’t know the complete name of the item.

Yds_picsYds_musicYahoo Desktop Search is FAST!  It is easily the fastest of all the search tools I have tried which shows its X1 roots, another fast utility.  Once the item you are trying to find is selected in the YDS window a quick preview is displayed for most file types so you can see if you got what you expected.  This is especially cool for images and music.  The preview window becomes a mini media player when a music file is selected so you can even play it to make sure it’s the one you were looking for.  This is a very nice touch.

Yahoo has a real winner with YDS and it is clear they made a good decision to hook up with the X1 folks to use their search engine.  So how did Yahoo Desktop Search fare in the jkOnTheRun test?  Let’s just say I uninstalled my long-time favorite Copernic and YDS has assumed the place in my toolbox Copernic formerly occupied.

  1. Even though YDS uses a web based installation, you can easily get the installer by going to the temp folder of your system.
    The location of the temp folder is –
    C:Documents and Settings(User account name)Local SettingsTemp
    Check out my comparision of desktop search tools at – http://tinyurl.com/3z6lp

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  2. I’m also trying out all these desktop-search offerings, and one simple thing that Google Desktop does that YDS and Copernic do not do is providing context — the words surrounding the found search terms.

    In YDS I just get a bunch of rows in a table — I don’t see the context (words before and after) the words I am searching for. I do get the context in the preview to the right, but I am forced to click on each row to see it.

    Anyway, I’ll keep trying YDS on my home computer to see how it goes.

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  3. Jonathan, good point about the context. I don’t see that as an issue personally as you can just preview the document as you pointed out. This is likely one of the reasons YDS is so darn fast.

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  4. UPDATE: YDS began interfering with the shutdown of Outlook after about a week of heavy use. It reached the point where I could never shut Outlook down cleanly which is really too bad. As a result I have removed YDS and gone back to Copernic which plays nice with everything on my laptop.

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  5. Hmm I wonder why I would want to use any desktop search at all.

    I have a special systems consisting of 4 partitions (1 for windows, 1 for apps, 1 for coding, 1 for media files like music, websites, etc)

    the media partition is then split into different categories and I bet it takes me less clicks to find a file than you would have to type with your keyboard into YDS to find a file.

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  6. I have 3600 contacts in Outlook, over 2000 image files, 3000 music files, and 500 MB of emails. YDS and the other search engines will search all of those and produce results in typically 1 or 2 seconds. If it’s a document file being able to view it in the preview window insures I get the right file before opening it and waiting for the application to start.

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  7. Okay, my images are stored on my PC using Gallery (gallery.menalto.com) – searchable and since my webserver is always running (a small one, not apache) I dont mind it.

    music – quite a bit, recently took 2 weeks of to tag id, categorize it and now its sorted by album and artist and all

    email search: outlook?
    contact search: outlook?

    emails are at 350megs now. maybe a bit more.

    + I disabled 2003’s Indexing Service since I dont like it.

    Ah – I guess whatever fits you best…

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  8. UPDATE: YDS began interfering with the shutdown of Outlook after about a week of heavy use. It reached the point where I could never shut Outlook down cleanly which is really too bad. As a result I have removed YDS and gone back to Copernic which plays nice with everything on my laptop.

    Welcome back…

    david burns
    ceo – copernic

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  9. Thanks David! The only reason I keep trying alternative desktop search utilities is because the others all allow searching across category types…. :)

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  10. Searching across all PC content types with a single query is a feature that many of our users have asked us for. Some users also want to search the Web and desktop content with a single query. We’re looking at how to deliver searches across multiple content types in an innovative, user friendly, and value added “Copernic” way. Stay tuned. :-)

    david burns
    ceo – copernic

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