Friday, December 26, 2008

Windows Search now slows down Internet Explorer as well

One of the things that caused bad initial experiences of Windows Vista was Windows Search. As soon as you'd installed Vista, off it went indexing files on your hard disk. This could take some time and although it runs as a background task it still seems to impact the performance of your PC. Lots of people just turned off the service, although if they'd left it on for a while they'd have discovered that once the initial scan had been finished, it generally had a pretty low impact on system performance.

I left it on but I've never been overly happy with it. Fact is I don't do much searching on my PC and when I do I'm not too bothered if it takes a while. So having a constant tax on my performance (however small) seems a waste. Not only that, but it doesn't seem to index the files that are important to me. So when I do do a search I invariably have to switch to the 'search everything' mode which is really slow meaning the whole indexing palaver is completely wasted. I guess I should have set it up to index everything but never bothered, thinking it would cause the indexer to use up even more processor time.

But along comes IE8 and Microsoft have decided to use Windows Search technology to power the drop down list of suggested sites. Previously I'd used this a lot, type the first few letters of a site that I visit frequently and it would appear in the drop down list and I could select it rather than having to type the full URL. In theory that still works, but Windows Search always takes several seconds to decide what to show in the list, so it's as quick just to type in the full URL. I guess the list of suggested sites is better but the delay means it's completely useless. And typing another letter causes the search to start again from scratch...

But there is a solution to this. Disable the Windows Search service and the drop down works just like it used to do and I'm happy again. I guess this is a classic unintended consequence of powering IE8 with Windows Search, that even more people disable it.

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