Windows and Search: A Work in Progress, Slow Progress

June 13, 2019

Unless you know a file’s specific name, trying to find it using the Windows search function sucks. The Windows search function is notoriously bad in each version from 1995 to the latest Windows 10. Searching on a Windows PC is so bad that Apple makes a point of stating how fast and accurate its Spotlight Search function is. In June 2019, Microsoft debuted its latest Windows version dubbed 1903. MS Power User explores how Windows’ 1903 has changed search (or so Microsoft claims) in the article, “How To Use The Enhanced Windows 10 Search in 1903.”

It is hard to understand how a company that revolutionized how people interact with computers cannot get a simple function correct. Yes, search has its own complexities that require well written code, but it remains one of the simplest machine learning functions compared to language translation, photo editing, and processing audio files. MS Power User agrees that Microsoft let the ball drop when it comes to search, but 1903 might be software patch it needs:

“Microsoft’s Windows 10 has had search as one of its pain points ever since it debuted. Search was often panned for being slow, inaccurate and sometimes just for not finding anything at all. With Windows 10 1903, Microsoft has tackled that. First. Cortana and Search were split apart so the Windows team could tackle both individually. This means that Cortana gets better at Cortana things, while search gets better at Search things. With 1903, those seeds have already borne some fruit.”

To improve search with 1903, users have to adjust the search settings. Windows 1903 has two options: “classic search” and “enhanced search.” By selecting the enhanced search option, the full power of Windows search is projected over a computer’s entire hard drive. Windows classic search sucks. Why is Microsoft still including it in their OS when there is a better option? In fact, why are they even forcing users to choose between the classic and the enhanced search?

A good OS should not make its user work harder. A good OS is a tool that is supposed to easily organize and communicate information. Windows, you are letting me down.

Whitney Grace, June 13, 2019

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