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  1. #1
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    Adobe PDF filter doesn't work for Windows Explorer "search"

    I recently installed WinXP on an older laptop. I'm trying to make Win Explorer's "search" feature search the contents of PDF files.

    I thought I had to download and install an Adobe filter to accomplish this. I found the filter; it had a name something like ifilter6.dll. It was accompanied by a warning that starting with version 7, the Adobe Reader installer installs a filter automatically, and the separate filter should not be used because it can't handle newer PDF features.

    Uh, that's interesting, I thought. I installed Adobe Reader X days ago, so according to this warning, "search" should already be searching PDFs. But it isn't.

    So I installed the separate filter anyway. And "search" still doesn't search PDFs.

    Something is preventing the filter from working -- both the new filter that I trust was installed with Adobe Reader, and the old filter that I installed separately. I can't find any information about this problem on Adobe's support site, though. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Have you forced Windows to rebuild the search index?

    Joe

  3. #3
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    That did it -- partly.

    I ran a trivial test and found files, which led me to think it was working.

    Then I invested a couple of hours in work based on negative search results, which I had to throw away when I got suspicious and looked more deeply.

    As near as I can tell, search is finding results in files created after I deleted the index, but not in files created earlier.

    Here's the procedure I followed, which (according to the post that contained it) should have done the job:

    1. Turn off indexing service.
    2. Empty catalog.
    3. Turn on indexing service.

    The instructions warned me that I would have to give Windows "adequate time" to rebuild the index before I tried to use it. I waited about an hour, and by the time I got suspicious and retested, the system had been running four or five hours. I don't know how much time is "adequate time," but I'd think that would be enough for a fairly slow computer with a total of about 2 GB of data files.
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2013-01-10 at 00:19.

  4. #4
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    Are you sure the earlier files are in a location that is being indexed?

    Which version of search are you using?

    Joe

  5. #5
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    >Are you sure the earlier files are in a location that is being indexed?

    Well, they're on my data drive -- nothing odd about the location. And Windows has no trouble finding files of other types in the same directories, so I don't see why it should have trouble finding PDFs.

    >Which version of search are you using?

    I'm using the standard search that came with the system (Win XP Pro SP3). I never thought about replacing it with a different one, and actually didn't know that I could.

    I've got an understanding of how Windows Search works that is about as old as Windows XP is, and never led me astray before. It's so old that I haven't the faintest memory of whether I learned it from a more or less reliable source, or simply made some assumptions which were never contradicted by the system's behavior. They's being contradicted now, though, so maybe it's time for a review.

    My understanding is that if search indexing is turned on, Windows builds an index of all of the searchable files on the hard disk(s), and updates the index as it notices that files have been added/deleted/changed. Then "Search" searches the index.

    If search indexing is turned off, Windows simply searches the designated drive or directory each time a search is requested.

    I've always used my computer with indexing turned off. I started that way because I was concerned about the size of the index. I never changed because performance was never bad enough to bother me, and once I understood how "Search" worked I didn't want to do anything that might change its behavior in unexpected ways.

    Now it seems that search indexing has been turned on since I installed this copy of XP (at least I assume that's what it means for "Index Service" to be running). And I can't fit the behavior I'm observing into my model of how "Search" is supposed to work with indexing turned on, nor can I make it behave the way I expect by turning search indexing off (i.e. by stopping Index Service).
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2013-01-11 at 14:24.

  6. #6
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    There is a default set of directories and files that is indexed. If you need something beyond that you have to change the index configuration and re-build the index.

    I recommend that if you do not have Windows Search 4.0 for Windows XP that you download it and install it.

    Joe

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    I'll try to find time to change the index configuration tonight. (I'll have to pull out the laptop computer and fire it up, so it's not a thirty-second operation.)

    I did a little research and I found mixed reviews about Windows Search 4.0. Many users felt that it was causing problems for them, and/or that it took too many resources (for example, this post).

    I couldn't find a clear explanation of how Windows Search 4.0 is supposed to be better than the software it replaces (except that it's supposed to be faster, except that some users say that it is slower, and unacceptably so!). I'm somewhat doubtful about installing it at this point; I think I might be asking for trouble. Can you give me your perspective on this, please?

  8. #8
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    I found Windows Search 4.0 to work well. I've installed it on several dozen machines although none in the last 5 years. That is long enough ago I can't really be more specific.

    Joe

  9. #9
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    I find that Windows XP Classic search is better for file and folder names, and Windows Search 4.0 is better for file contents (using iFilters). I tried to describe how you can have functionality for both in this thread (at post #4).

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