Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to stop WDS 3.01 indexing via group policy

Microsoft recently pushed out what is an unwanted windows update for many: Windows Desktop Search version 3.01. I recently spent alot of my time removing this after I installed it on every computer along with Outlook 2007 , as it kept telling me I should install it to access full search functionality (it doesn't actually need it, you can still search the old way without it). My main reason for removing it was that it drastically slows down each users computer with indexing. All of our cad users were complaining to me that all of a sudden their computer decreased in speed, snoozing indexing fixed this (though it automatically starts again every restart), so I concluded it was time for it to go. Less than two weeks after removing it, I came in and received complaints once again - I was horrified to find that it had been reinstalled somehow. Some investigation revealed it was pushed out in a windows update - apparently accidentally - thanks Microsoft. Not wanting to uninstall them all again, not anytime soon anyway, I thought perhaps there was a group policy object to snooze indexing, or disable it all together, a google seemed to agree with me, so I set about finding the .ADM file. Turns out, in the latest version, it is located as part of the installer, to find it, you need to extract the installer, using the /extract switch, or winrar/7-zip. After extracting it, go to the 'update' folder, and 'desktopsearch30.adm' is the one you need. Snap it into your GP management, and away you go... well almost. Turns out, for some reason, Microsoft removed half of the group policy settings you can use in the latest version! 2.6 had all of them, but they were removed, God knows why, and this includes the option to disable it..Thanks again Microsoft! So what is there to do? How can you disable it? The answer is this, it's not the best option, but it will stop the stupid indexing(my kingdom for WINFS) from slowing down everyones computers!: In your Group Policy Object Editor on your imported WDS object - go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Search This will show you all of the settings you can change, the one you want to change is 'Stop Indexing on Limited Hard Drive Space', you can enable that, and set the MB limit to "2147483647" mb - unless your users have huge arrays of hard drives, I'm sure that they'll never have ~2147 terraybtes of hard drive space. Save that, and link it in, and when the group policy refreshes (you can force this by going to cmd and typing gpupdate /force) it should be set. If you don't know what I'm talking about with group policy - check here, for the guide on 2.6, it will help you up until "Under Administrative Templates, expand the Windows Desktop Search node." This is outdated now.


sam phillips said...

Don't use the extracted file. Instead use the one I link to and you won't have any issues. Here's the link again:

The custom adm file contained in the .exe for the WDS 3.01 release has no where near as many features as the following download!

This is the template you need to disable WDS and/or use many of its features!

poppy13 said...

I ended up using the "Prevent installation prompts when Windows Desktop Search component is not present" in the Outlook template under Tools|Options/Preferences/Search Options. That should do the trick.