17 March, 2005 at 16:44 Leave a comment

Google Desktop Search Tips
(via http://users.tns.net/~skingery/firefox/GDS_Tips.html)



Third Party Tools
Developers have started to make plug-ins for GDS. You can find a list here.
Currently, you’ll find plug-ins that add support for OpenOffice and StarOffice files, any text file and also help files.
Have a look at that page frequently because people will be building cool stuff.

Index Word Perfect Files
Trivex has a new plugin for indexing Word Perfect files. At the moment, Google hasn’t added it to the plug-ins page so you can find it here for now.

Index .ZIP Compressed Archives
Airbear software has a plug-in that lets GDS index the names of the files within .ZIP compressed archives.
You can find it here.

Index your data CDs and DVDs
CD / DVD Spindle Search is a tool that lets you catalog your disks and then sends the information to Google’s search tool. Then, when you do the usual search with GDS, your archived files will turn up as well.
This tool does require the .NET framework 1.1.

Search Networked Computers with DNKA – remote desktop search tool
So, you have a small network at home and each machine is running GDS. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could reach out and search one of the other machines on your network? I think so. Now it must be said that this does run the usual security risks and will need precautions. If you index all sorts of private files on one machine and open it up to the rest of the computers, perhaps your son will find your email to your wife. Then again, you could search his AOL chats so perhaps this is good. You decide.
To do all this you’ll need a third party software called DNKA – remote desktop search tool. Rather than take up more space here I’ll point you to a blog entry I wrote on this topic here.

Files on Mapped Network Drives

If you open a document or save a document to a mapped drive on a network GDS will index the document. However, by default GDS will not index all the documents that you already have out there on your mapped drives. You can make it index those current documents on your mapped drives with a little registry modification. An important thing to note, however, is that once the mapped drive is indexed, the index is only updated with respect to any files you create or open. So if you index, for example, a big shared drive and someone else creates a new document, that document will not show up in your index unless you also open it. So, while it is up to you, I find this indexing only helpful if you have a mapped drive that is a location for you own personal files that no one else can modify.
How to enable indexing a mapped drive:
This involves modifying you registry. If you aren’t comfortable with that or have no idea what I am talking about, stop now.
Before you begin, right click on the GDS icon in the tasktray and click Exit. Click OK when asked.
Let’s say we have a drive mapped to H: and one mapped to M:

  • Open up Notepad and make the following entry !C:<tab>!H:<tab>!M:<tab> (NOTE: Don’t type <tab>, press you tab key)
  • Highlight all that (don’t forget that last tab) and copy it to the clipboard
  • Open up regedit (Start – Run – Regedit)
  • Navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop\HistoricalCapture\Crawler
  • Double click on the CRAWL_DIRS entry and paste in the entries you made in Notepad. Note: The tabs will appear as little boxes.
  • Click OK
  • Next, double click on the CRAWL_FILE entry. Delete any entry that is in there. Most likely DONE if you have finished indexing. This last bit will cause your machine to index everything again including your mapped drives.
  • Click OK
  • Start the GDS system again and allow your system to index all the files.

The really cool part of this, if you have a laptop, is you have the Google cache local on your computer. So if you need some info from a file you accessed on the network at an earlier point, you may be able to get that info from your cache.

  • Caveat: The index is stored locally on your own personal machine. If you move to a different machine, the files you created on the first will not be in the index of the second.

Move index file to a different drive
Some people don’t want the index taking up lots of space on their main drive. Here is the solution:
This involves modifying you registry and moving some hidden files. If you aren’t comfortable with
that or have no idea what I am talking about, stop now.

  • By default the index is stored in:
    C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Desktop Search
    where USERNAME is your username on the computer. Local Settings is a hidden folder, you’ll have
    unhide it. If you are unsure how to unhide a file or directory read this.
  • Make sure you exit the Google Desktop Search application before proceeding.
  • Now, drag the WHOLE folder titled “Google Desktop Search” to a new drive or partition with lots of space. Lets say “D” so now your search files will be in the folder “D:\Google Desktop Search”
  • Next, click Start – Run – type regedit. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop
  • change the value of data_dir to D:\Google Desktop Search.
  • Exit out of regedit and restart the Google Desktop search.
  • You’re done and your search index in now moved.

Download

  • Get Google Desktop Search here.
  • Note: If you are running the beta version, you must download the new verion and install it. The beta version does not auto update to the released version. I asked Google directly and you can install over the top of the beta with out having to uninstall it first.

FAQ

  • Read Google’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) here.

Release Notes

  • Information about each version is available here.

Google’s Privacy Policy

  • Read Google’s Privacy policy here.

Getting Started Guide

  • Lots of tips to what GDS is all about and how to do searches of your computer are here.

Help!

  • Google’s GDS support page is here.

Make GDS Better!

  • To make a suggestion, report a problem, get help or for general feedback go here.

Other Helpful Web Sites

  • Need help? Ask the forum: Google-Desktop-Search group. Be sure to search the forum for your answer first!
  • Article on O’Reilly Network: Google Your Desktop has lots of screen shots and tips on searching.
  • Interesting interview with Marrissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer web products.

On with the tips…

I’ve had Google Desktop Search (GDS) installed on 2 systems since it was first released in Beta. In this release it will index files from these applications:

  • Outlook Email
  • Outlook Express
  • Word
  • Excel
  • Powerpoint
  • Internet Explorer
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  •                               And now in the released gold version:

  • Netscape Mail / Thunderbird
  • Netscape / Firefox / Mozilla
  • PDF
  • Music
  • Images
  • Video

GDS is meant to be used on single user systems. If you share your computer, be aware that the other users may stumble across information that you would rather not have them find.

Some preferences you should set

  • To change your preferences, right click on the GDS icon in your task tray
  • Deselect “Include secure pages (HTTPS) in web history” HTTPS are secured web pages. So if you want to keep things like your online bank info private, don’t index these kinds of pages.
  • While in the preferences, add the following sites to your list of sites NOT to index
  • http://127.0.0.1:4664/
  • http://127.0.0.1/
  • 127.0.0.1 is the location that GDS returns your local results to. Preventing indexing on this location will keep you from having results returned in a circlular fashion. That is, if you look something up and it returns 1 hit your result page then gets indexed and you’ll have 2 hits the next time and on and on in a circular fashion. I don’t know about IE but this is a problem with Slogger. If you use Slogger, you can also use it’s settings to prevent this kind of logging as well. That may be preferable.
  • Any folder you do not want indexed should be entered here as well (eg. c:\My Stuff)
  • Google Integration
  • Some people freak out when they see local results appear when they do a search on the web. This is easily fixed by deselecting “Show Desktop Search results on Google Web Search result pages”
  • You may also want to increase the number of results you want to see per page. Simply change the number in the Number of Results section near the bottom of the Preferences page.

Make sure your GDS is up to date

  • Right click on the GDS icon in your task tray and then click ‘About’. This will show you what version you have loaded.
  • The current version is 20050227.
  • If your are currently running the beta version you must download the new version and install it. You can install it right over the beta without having to reinstall. Download Google Desktop Search here.

Large Text files
There currently seems to be a limitation as to the size of the file that GDS will index. According to this page at Google’s support, the limit is 5000 words. And sometimes less to save space.

What GDS Does Not Index
When you do an install of GDS with out any plugins or other modifications, the following file types are not indexed:

  • .tmp, .temp, .log, .pst, .dat, .000, .pf, .xml, .obj, .pdb

Along with the following directories:

  • Recycler, System Volume Information, AppData, Cache, Cookies, History, Local AppData, Local Settings, PrintHood, Recent, SendTo, Startup, Templates
  • Your system root folder. In most cases, this is C:\Windows\ or C:\winnt

Deskbars

  • GDS now has in integrated deskbar. The desk bar can be part of your windows task bar or it can float around your screen. More details can be found here.

Finding a File by Part of the Name
Let’s say you want to find file called “U2-All That You Can’t Leave Behind-Beautiful day.mp3”
In your search field type (no quotes) “Beautiful filetype:mp3”
Your results will come back: U2-All That You Can’t Leave Behind-Beautiful day.mp3
Also, when you get your results back, clicking “Sort by Relevance” helps out quite a bit as well.

Password Protected Word File
GDS will index password protected word files. There is now a preference to turn this on and off. If you have it on (meaning you have the preference checked) then if you create a word file and put in a password and save it, GDS will index it and the file will be viewable via that Google Cache by anyone who uses your computer. You need to weigh the security risk for yourself.

  • Again, Google Desktop Search was meant for a single user PC. You created the file and it’s password. You should know what it contains.
  • Another thing you can do for added security is create a “Do Not Index” folder and add it to Google’s Preferences like I mentioned above.

What to do if you have installed Firefox or Thunderbird after GDS

  • If you install Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla, and/or Thunderbird after you install Google Desktop Search, Desktop Search may not be able to find your web history or email. Google has instructions for fixing this here.

How to force a clean re-index without reinstalling
This involves modifying you registry. If you aren’t comfortable with that or have no idea what I am talking about, stop now.

  • Shut down GDS
  • By default the index is stored in:
    C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Desktop Search
    where USERNAME is your username on the computer. Local Settings is a hidden folder, you’ll have
    unhide it. If you are unsure how to unhide a file or directory read this.
  • Go to the folder your index is stored in and delete all the files in there
  • Open up Notepad and make the following entry !C:[tab] (NOTE: Don’t type “[tab]”, press your tab key. If you have more than one drive or partition, add those too. So if you have a C: and a D: Drive it would look like: !C:[tab]!D:[tab] )
  • Highlight all that (don’t forget that last tab) and copy it to the clipboard
  • Open up regedit (Start – Run – Regedit)
  • Navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop\HistoricalCapture\Crawler
  • Double click on the CRAWL_DIRS entry and paste in the entries you made in Notepad. Note: The tabs will appear as little boxes.
  • Click OK
  • Next, double click on the CRAWL_FILE entry. Delete any entry that is in there. Most likely DONE if you have finished indexing.
  • Next, double click on the CRAWL_FAV entry. Delete any entry that is in there. Most likely DONE if you have finished indexing.
  • Next, double click on the CRAWL_IE entry. Delete any entry that is in there. Most likely DONE if you have finished indexing.
  • Click OK
  • Optionally:
    copy all of the following blue text into a file called gds.reg

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop\HistoricalCapture\Crawler]
    "CRAWL_IE"=""
    "CRAWL_FAV"=""
    "CRAWL_FILE"=""
    "CRAWL_DIRS"="!C: "

    Note: As I stated above if you have more than one drive or partition, edit the last part the tabs so it looks like

    "CRAWL_DIRS"="!C: !D: "

    Save gds.reg on your desktop or somewhere you can find it again.
    Make sure GDS is shut down and you’ve deleted the files in your index folder
    then double click on the file gds.reg and say yes to the prompt about updating your registry.
    Keep the file around in case you want to reindex at a later time.

  • Start the GDS system again and allow your system to index all the files.

How to manually uninstall Google Desktop Search
You can easily uninstall Google Desktop Search by going to Start > Programs > Google Desktop Search > Uninstall Google Desktop Search. If that didn’t work, you may need to manually uninstall the program. Here is how:
TO EDIT THE WINDOWS SYSTEM REGISTRY:
As you may know, editing the Windows registry is a fairly advanced process. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you may want to contact your system administrator. That said, you should be able to solve the problem by deleting the following registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Google\Desktop
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Google\Google Desktop
You’ll need to restart your machine in order for this change to take effect. Once you’ve done this, you can remove the program files for
Desktop Search. Here’s how:
TO REMOVE GOOGLE DESKTOP SEARCH
Open C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME-THAT-NO-LONGER-EXISTS\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Desktop Search.
Delete all the files in this directory. You should now be able to successfully install and use Google Desktop Search.

Make GDS one of Firefox’s search engines

  • If you use Firefox, you’ll want this plugin to allow you to add GDS as one of the search engines.
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