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July 21, 2008

Windows Search 4.0 to Become Available on Windows Update

My good buds on the Windows Search Team have asked me to relay some exciting new information regarding Windows Search 4.0:

Since Windows Search 4.0 (WS4.0) was released to the web on June 3rd, we’ve seen a good number of downloads, and a number of positive responses from customers who started using it.  Users are telling us that they’re seeing better performance and reliability of search after WS4.0 is installed.  As a result, we feel it’s time to make WS4.0 available to the broader audience.

In late July WS4.0 will become available for installation off Windows Update. Customers using Windows XP will see WS4.0 available as an Optional update, meaning they can manually install it from  Windows Vista customers will see the update as a recommended update. Depending on the Windows Update settings on your Windows Vista SP1 client, WS4.0 may be installed automatically, updating the search capability in Windows Vista SP1. 

Not everyone will get it on the same day; the release of Windows Search 4.0 will be very gradual.  While every user will be able to install the update off the Windows Update site interactively, the automatic update may not come to your machine for some time. The update will go to a small percentage of Windows users each day, the percentage increasing gradually. If you want to have the update installed sooner rather than later, you can do it by opening the Windows Update control panel and installing the update manually.

It should be noted that installation of WS4.0 requires a reboot, and after that, your data is indexed by the newly installed search engine. This is done due to the significant performance and reliability work that was done for WS4.0, which required changes to the structure of the search index. As we observed in our internal testing, the indexing process doesn’t take too long and won’t lock your PC: any action you take in the UI or application activity on your PC will make the indexing process back off and release most of computer’s resources.

For those organizations that prefer to take control over the deployment of WS4.0, we provide a mechanism to block the automatic delivery of WS4.0 to Windows Vista SP1 computers in environments where the Automatic Updates feature is enabled: However, an update management solution remains a recommended method of managing the schedule of updates. Visit Update Management Solutions for more information.

Later this year we are planning to make WS4.0 available for installations via WSUS. Keep an eye on the Microsoft Update Team Blog for more information.