From the Kenosha News on 9-18-05

     Use the Google Desktop Search to find lost documents

      When I'm pretty sure I've written a document but can't remember what I called it or what folder I stored it in, Google Desktop Search comes to the rescue. Most people are familiar with Google's internet search. Desktop search does the same thing for the contents of your computer. It's a free tool that's easy to download and use.

      Google Desktop Search works differently than the search function built in to Windows. If you know the file name you're looking for, then the Windows search will probably work better. However, if you're looking for something where you only know a few of the words in the body of the text, Google desktop search will save you tons of time. For example, I couldn't find a vacation planning document I was looking for, so I searched for " Carlsbad," which was a snippet of text contained in the file. It came up right away.

      To get Google Desktop Search, point your web browser to http://desktop.google.com. Select the language you use and click the Agree and Download button. Click Run to run the installer. It will prompt you to close other applications and will do it for you. The next screen will display various options, including how you want the search box to be displayed and if you want to index your Gmail account. I chose to display the search box on my taskbar, and I don't have a Gmail account. You will be given the option of enabling advanced features; I opted not to. It will then index the contents of your computer so that they can be searched later; the screen updates progress as it works. You may be prompted to re-boot your computer when it finishes.

      To search for an item on your computer, type the words contained in that item into the search box and press Enter. (If you don't have the search box on your desktop or on your taskbar, you can access the program through the Start menu by going to Google Desktop Search on your list of programs through the Start menu.) You will get back a list of items that contain those words. You might be surprised how many items are listed! By default, Google Desktop indexes not only documents but past web pages that you've visited, e-mail messages, chat conversations, and many other file types. You can change the types of files that are searched by using the Preferences option, which is accessed by clicking on the down arrow to the right of the search box. Since I don't store my e-mail messages on my computer and I'm pretty uniformly looking for documents rather than past web pages, I have it only index Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents. Once you have selected the type of documents you want to index, click the Save Preferences button.

      You do not need to worry about re-indexing. Google indexes newly created files as they're saved. Surprisingly, this doesn't seem to slow down computer performance.

     By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 9-18-05