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Windows 7 : Indexing Your Computer for Faster Searches (part 3) - Optimizing File Properties for Indexing

1/30/2011 10:20:27 AM

3. Optimizing File Properties for Indexing

As with file contents, the Windows Search Service indexes file properties to display search results of indexed files and folders faster. All files have properties associated with them and the type of file determines what the related properties are. Document files can have properties such as:

  • Title

  • Subject

  • Tags

  • Rating

  • Categories

  • Comments

  • Authors

  • Last Saved By

  • Company

  • Manager

  • Data Last Saved

Photos and other types of image files can have special properties in addition to standard document properties, such as:

  • Dimensions

  • Width

  • Height

  • Horizontal Resolution

  • Vertical Resolution

  • Bit Depth

  • Camera Maker

  • Camera Model

  • Exposure Time

  • ISO Speed

  • Focal Length

Music and other types of audio files can have special properties in addition to standard document properties, such as:

  • Artists

  • Album Artist

  • Album

  • Year

  • Genre

  • Length

  • Bit Rate

  • Producers

  • Publisher

You can view and configure a file’s properties by completing the following steps:

  1. Right-click the file and then select Properties.

  2. In the Properties dialog box, click the Details tab.

  3. Click a property’s entry to select it for editing, and then type the desired property value. Separate multiple values with a semicolon. For example, if you want to add tags to a file, you would click the Tags property, type the first tag, type a semicolon, type the second tag, and so on.

  4. Click OK.

Although additional properties can be useful, sometimes you won’t want this information to be saved with a file. For example, if you are publishing a file to a website or sending a file to someone as an attachment, you might not want this additional and possibly sensitive information to be associated with the file. You can remove extended properties from a file by completing the following steps:

  1. Right-click the file and then select Properties.

  2. In the Properties dialog box, click the Details tab.

  3. Click the Remove Properties and Personal Information link.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • In the Remove Properties dialog box, select “Create a copy with all possible properties removed” to create a clean copy of the file. When you click OK, the copy is created with the same filename as the previously selected file, and the suffix - Copy is added.

    • In the Remove Properties dialog box, select “Remove the following properties from this file” to clean properties from the original file without creating a copy. Either select properties to remove or all Select All to remove all extended properties. When you click OK, the selected extended properties are removed on the original file.

4. Resolving Indexing Problems

In order for you to perform searches, the Windows Search service must be running. It must also be running to index files. If you suspect you are experiencing a problem with searching or indexing, you should check the status of the Windows Search service.

Other problems you may experience with searching and indexing have to do with:

Corrupt indexes

An indicator of a corrupt index is when your searches do not return the expected results or new documents are not being indexed properly.

Improper index settings

An indicator of improper index settings is when your searches fail or the Windows Search service generates bad file errors in the event logs.

Index location running out of space

An indicator of the index location running out of space is when indexing of new documents fails and there are out-of-disk-space reports in the event logs for the Windows Search service.

The Windows Search service does a good job of correcting some problems with indexes automatically. For other types of problems, you’ll find error reports in the form of Windows events in the system event logs. You can correct most problems with searching and indexing by completing the following steps:

  1. Click Start and then click Control Panel. In the Control Panel, click Large Icons or Small Icons on the View By list (to return to the original view, click the View by list and select Category). Finally, click Indexing Options.

  2. In the Indexing Options dialog box, click Advanced to display the Advanced Options dialog box shown previously in Figure 6-29.

  3. If you suspect your computer’s indexes are corrupt, click Rebuild. Windows 7 rebuilds the indexes on your computer by stopping, clearing out indexes, and then starting the Windows Search service. Indexes also may be rebuilt whenever you restart your computer.

  4. By default, the Windows Search service creates indexes in the %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft folder. If the %SystemDrive% folder is low on disk space or if you want to try to balance the workload by using other hard disk drives, you may want to change the index location. To do this, click Select New on the Index Location panel. In the Browse for Folder dialog box, select the disk drive and folder in which the index should be stored and then click OK. The next time you restart your computer or the Window Search service, indexes will be created in the new location.

  5. Click OK. In the Indexing Options dialog box, you can track the status of reindexing files by watching the number of indexed items increase. The indexing status will indicate whether indexing is complete or in progress.

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