The search bar in the Start Menu is a huge advance on the tepid affair introduced in Vista. Type a search term and Windows will perform a keyword search on your documents, Outlook email and files stored on your PC, with results appearing near-instantaneously in the Start menu. The search even scours the text of email attachments.It isn't only stuff stored locally that Windows 7 is adept at sniffing out - files located on the company network and even the internet at large can now be located in a jiffy thanks to the new federated search feature. This basically allows you to search for files stored on the intranet/internet as if they were stored on your own machine.Company SharePoint libraries, for example, can be added to the Favorites menu in Windows Explorer, and searched straight from the Explorer window. Results appear with full descriptions and you can get a glimpse of the document in the Preview pane, just as you can with local files.
The SharePoint files can also be dragged straight on to the desktop or printed without even opening them by simply right-clicking on the search results.Federated search can also be used with public websites - be that your company's own site, photos from Flickr , or the news and reviews on PC Authority ,if you're researching new hardware for your business. The sites are searched using the Windows Live search engine, and the results are delivered in Windows Explorer as you type the search terms, just as they are with local files. You can find out how to make "search connectors" by clicking here , which provides step-by-step instructions on how to create connectors for the websites of your choice.Also in our series, Windows 7 the complete guide:Part 7: Good news for gamers?Part 6: Blu-Ray and displaysPart 5: The new XP modePart 4: Playing DivX and XviD filesPart 3: Will your PC actually boot any quicker?Part 2: Raw performance benchmarksPart 1: Good news for gamers?
Also see: The 30 Best Features of Windows 7
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