There’s lots of buzz about Windows Vista’s speedy search features, but what can you do to speed up Windows XP’s Search Companion? Here’s how to optimize your search with speed in Windows XP.
One reason why Windows Vista’s Search tool is so fast is because, rather than searching your whole hard disk, it only searches the Documents folders. So the next time that you pull up Windows XP’s Search Companion, click All Files And Folders and select My Documents in the Look In drop-down list. This prevents the Search Companion from searching the entire hard disk.
If you want to search documents stored in the root folder, you can still speed up the process by removing system folders from the search. Click All Files And Folders, open the More Advanced Options panel, and clear the Search System Folders check box. If the Search Hidden Files And Folders check box is selected, clear it too.
If you have a lot of ZIP files (or compressed folders, as Windows XP calls them) on your hard disk, the Search Companion will search through each of those as well, albeit more slowly. To prevent the Search Companion from searching through compressed folders, either move all your compressed folders to the root folder and then configure the Search Companion to only search the My Documents folder, or disable Windows XP’s support for compressed folders.
To disable this support, access the Run dialog box, type the command regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll in the Open text box and click OK. You’ll then need to restart the system for the change to take effect. (To re-enable Windows XP’s support for compressed folders, use the command regsvr32 zipfldr.dll.)
What if the Search Companion is disabled?
If you’ve disabled Windows XP’s Search Companion interface and are using the Windows 2000 Search interface instead, you’ll need to make the following adjustments to this tip:
- To search My Documents, select My Documents in the Look In drop-down list.
- To remove system folders from the search, click Search Options, select the Advanced Options check box, and then clear the Search System Folders check box. (If the Search Hidden Files And Folders check box is selected, clear it too.)
To prevent the searching of compressed folders, you can use the same technique as you would for the Search Companion.
Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. Also remember that editing the registry is risky; so be sure you’ve performed a full backup before making any changes.