Award for the Silliest User Interface: Windows Search
Why is a dog asking me questions?
Who's been putting the mescaline in the Microsoft kool aid?
What if google used this approach?
Would google still be number one?
Unless Microsoft can correct this wrong-headed approach to search, WinFS promises to be so over-engineered as to be completely unusable.
Did you realise that if you purchase 'The Best Software Writing I' (edited by Joel Spolsky) then you can read this article as many times as you like, even when you are temporarily away from your computer? Baffles the mind doesn't it.
'Bill' on Sun, 05 Dec 2004 22:47:58 GMT, sez:
I wish the dog could be configured to take a Dump or a whiz if he doesn't find the files
'mike' on Sun, 05 Dec 2004 22:57:39 GMT, sez:
I don't know whether your question is actually serious, but agent technology, and specifically the dog, came from MS BOB. I believe the use of the dog for searching is meant to be suggestive of dogs' legendary abilities to sniff things out, whether drugs, truffles, or week-old squirrel carcasses. (Thus a fitting metaphor for most users' hard disks.)
Not that it isn't dumb. Aside from the fact that I could probably search the disk faster by opening up documents indivudually, I've always found the search options confusing. "Pictures, music, or video." Are they proposing that I could type in "ex-girlfriend posing provocatively" and Dr. Detecto the Wonder Dog is going to find those pictures? (Probably not if he knows what's good for him. Or for me, I suppose.)
'Angus Logan' on Mon, 06 Dec 2004 08:00:56 GMT, sez:
You're one f*cking funny guy.
But seriously - what is with people comparing functionality to search engines. "Its like a Yahoo... you know a Yahoo" or "It wasn't in the spec but its like a Google"
Whats up with that !
'blameMike' on Mon, 06 Dec 2004 11:46:19 GMT, sez:
'Josh' on Mon, 06 Dec 2004 18:22:14 GMT, sez:
'leon' on Mon, 06 Dec 2004 22:37:02 GMT, sez:
Yeh gus, i hear you --
what about people who say "can you paste an ebay in there? the sites gotta go ecommerce, but we want something like amazon wish lists for it too, so paste that in also."
'forgeman' on Wed, 08 Dec 2004 00:56:18 GMT, sez:
ROFL!! You guys rock...
Aren't pigs the one used for finding truffles?
'Sadistic Toast' on Wed, 08 Dec 2004 03:04:29 GMT, sez:
Just FYI. (Something I found while trying to kill the dog one day.) If you click on him you can choose to have a different search assistant! None of em are really better, but they each have their own super duper tricks that they can perform. So, check it out!
'Josh Baltzell' on Wed, 08 Dec 2004 12:33:40 GMT, sez:
Someone at Microsoft really likes Microsoft Bob I guess. They sure are dragging it along from one year to the next.
Really though the strategy of encouraging user communication with a virtual entity onscreen is probably a good tutorial on dealing with computers in the future.
Albeit people may start their experiences with future avatars remembering the frustration of the search dog or that little two-legged robot dealie.
'Robert' on Wed, 08 Dec 2004 14:57:23 GMT, sez:
They killed off Clippy, but have you looked closely at Search Dog’s eyes?
A paper clip in a dog suit?
'Sahil Malik' on Thu, 09 Dec 2004 14:26:24 GMT, sez:
This is hella funny !!
'Sahil Malik' on Thu, 09 Dec 2004 19:40:26 GMT, sez:
This should be called Moooooooogle !!
'leon' on Thu, 09 Dec 2004 20:02:49 GMT, sez:
good one Sahil
'Dog' on Sat, 11 Dec 2004 03:43:05 GMT, sez:
'Pierre' on Tue, 14 Dec 2004 19:20:54 GMT, sez:
One of the most brilliant remarks I've seen lately!
And then there is Sahil's suggestion of calling it Moooooooogle!
You made my day!
'Sahil Malik' on Tue, 14 Dec 2004 19:23:29 GMT, sez:
'rick' on Sat, 25 Dec 2004 10:43:01 GMT, sez:
Rick and Mike...Where the F#$%%k are you.. we are drinking port and Rum on Xmas day/ night.. and you have pike out..you sluck barstool.......'
'fiddlindoc' on Wed, 16 Mar 2005 07:06:45 GMT, sez:
I'd like to have that dog on my pc to do as I choose , think he's cute as hell..
'mr. nice guy' on Sun, 20 Mar 2005 17:10:20 GMT, sez:
if you do happen to kill the search dog, how do you get it back?
'GUI Junkie' on Tue, 21 Jun 2005 04:50:56 GMT, sez:
One thing bothers me, the dog doesn't search 'unknown' filetypes...
Like, the dog wouldn't sniff a 'tunned' car because it couldn't recognize its brand!
'ex-Microsoftee' on Tue, 21 Jun 2005 19:05:23 GMT, sez:
Why MSFT BOB is still there as search dog? because Melinda French who was in charge of the project has a new name: Melinda Gates ;-)
'Western Infidels' on Thu, 23 Jun 2005 11:30:20 GMT, sez:
I just don't get it. The search interface for Windows 2000 was simple, clear, and to-the-point. With less text to read and fewer pointless choices to make, it was less confusing for novices and faster for experts.
With so many serious security and usability problems in their software, why does Microsoft put so much energy into changing the bits that actually work OK?
'Ed' on Thu, 23 Jun 2005 22:24:25 GMT, sez:
My favourite is "Printers, computers, or people." Well, I would like to find someone to date, but this LaserJet will have to do instead.
'Hugh' on Fri, 24 Jun 2005 10:05:21 GMT, sez:
Not just unknown file types either. It can't be made to search scripts (like Ruby programs) which are plain text, even if they are associated with an interpreter. It needs a choke chain. BAD DOG!!!
'Edward Ross' on Fri, 24 Jun 2005 13:38:30 GMT, sez:
FYI: I use astrogrep instead: http://astrogrep.sourceforge.net/
'tharsan' on Fri, 24 Jun 2005 16:47:57 GMT, sez:
If you kill off the character, you can get the character back by clicking 'Change Preferences' in the bubble.
'*nix guy' on Sun, 26 Jun 2005 17:44:30 GMT, sez:
Mostly I use 'find' and pipe it into 'xargs egrep' which is right to the point, faster, easier to control, and makes me feel like an übergeek =^)
'[anonymous weirdo]' on Mon, 27 Jun 2005 12:23:32 GMT, sez:
You can make it search unknown files as well;
Set FilterFilesWithUnknownExtensions under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ContentIndex to 1...
'David' on Mon, 27 Jun 2005 13:32:56 GMT, sez:
Easier to control... If you can remember the command line switches to find that don't follow either GNU or POSIX conventions, what the eff xargs does, what was the egrep syntax again, all the while hoping you escaped semicolons in the right places and quoted what should have been quoted, yes, then surely it is ;P
Guess it's time to extend Ruby's Find module to search the files for regexps unless that's already there.
And yes, the dog is stupid. *huggles his wizard*
'utnapistim' on Tue, 28 Jun 2005 07:22:48 GMT, sez:
Stupid dog, you make me look bad!
--Courage, the cowardly dog
'fizay' on Wed, 29 Jun 2005 00:43:51 GMT, sez:
'TheWayItIs' on Wed, 29 Jun 2005 11:34:24 GMT, sez:
You might not know this but Bill Gates' wife was one of the head people on the Microsoft BOB fiasco (this is true, google it if you don't believe it). This is why the stupid-ass-annoying-as-hell office assistants keep getting dragged along although anyone with an ounce of intelligence can tell they are the 'most stupid thing evar!!1!1'.
In other words, we have to suffer through the pain and agony that are the office assistants because they were invented by Bill Gates' wife and he doesn't have the balls to tell her they suck.
'2Freaky@Edge' on Thu, 30 Jun 2005 00:54:48 GMT, sez:
What about the paperclip in Word? Who at Microsuck was trippin balls when they thought of THAT one?!?
'Peppepop' on Thu, 30 Jun 2005 07:57:09 GMT, sez:
Well, talk about pet peeve here :)
'Greg' on Sat, 02 Jul 2005 20:49:24 GMT, sez:
hey folks, figured I'd share this. I've used this and immediately restored my computer to "classic search." I suggest doing this...unless you actually LIKE the stupid, wide-eyed, time-wasting dog.
'Thomas' on Mon, 18 Jul 2005 11:04:56 GMT, sez:
Q: What happens after some minutes if you open (in my case: two) such (dog-)search windows on a laptop?
A: Your computer will make scratch-noises (the dogs are scratching themselves after a while). This is especially strange if you have the volume turned up and have completely forgotten, that you have the search windows somewhere on your desk...
'Steve Button' on Tue, 26 Jul 2005 08:37:32 GMT, sez:
Getting back to the original image, how about if Google did something where you could search your computer? Wouldn't that be cool?
Now I'm a Unix admin and I wouldn't even *think* about using find/egrep to search Win XP machines (it still takes ages). Google desktop indexes your hard disk (and emails, chats, ...) so it comes back in < 1 second, rather than several minutes.
Did I mention it indexes your emails too?
'me&thepizza' on Mon, 01 Aug 2005 06:22:12 GMT, sez:
I never used this freaking search functionality from Windows. It sucks compared to the functionality in Windows Commander (which, after its authors were threatened by Microsoft, was renamed to Total Commander). It has the old Norton Commander search functionality, which rocked.
Bleh for Windows Search
Bleh for Microsoft
'snati' on Thu, 15 Sep 2005 19:10:51 GMT, sez:
The following passage by Jorge Luis Borges reads like a comment on the dog's search criteria:
"These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies remind us of those which doctor Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese encyclopaedia entitled 'Celestial Empire of benevolent Knowledge'. In its remote pages it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies"
'Realist' on Thu, 15 Sep 2005 22:38:56 GMT, sez:
Click on "Change Preferences" and nuke the dog.
'secretGeek' on Thu, 15 Sep 2005 23:25:39 GMT, sez:
cheers snati -- that doctor Franz Kuhn was a nut.
'Me' on Sun, 09 Oct 2005 10:17:30 GMT, sez:
To get rid of that screen completely (not just the dog) hit change preferences, change files and folders search preferences and advanced.
'xminusone' on Wed, 09 Nov 2005 22:07:01 GMT, sez:
I like the dog and, besides, you can just turn him off if you don't want him. Jeez, guys, ever heard of "empowerment"? Or just too lazy to take control of your life? Flame away--just do yourself a favor: try to get a life and, failing that, try to keep these cheesy little incidents in proper perspective.
'kori' on Wed, 16 Nov 2005 05:43:41 GMT, sez:
yes, try to take control of your life and get yourself a working linux os, idiots
'Cath' on Wed, 16 Nov 2005 20:02:12 GMT, sez:
>yes, try to take control of your life and
>get yourself a working linux os, idiots
Kori, there are much worse usability problems in linux than this. Calling people idiots just shows your own immaturity.
A small issue like this one is not a reason to abandon an operating system. Just funny to read about.
'Don' on Wed, 04 Jan 2006 21:09:34 GMT, sez:
Why is it when you talk about something bad in windows there is always that dumb ass that stands up and says get linux it roxors. Face it linux on the desktop its not going to happen until linus makes it easy to program games on. Linux suffers from the same maladies that gave windows a bad name DLL hell aka dependencies hell. and then there is the dumb ass like me that bites. bad bad me.
'Antena' on Fri, 06 Jan 2006 07:45:50 GMT, sez:
Ka jus cia suda malat?
'Ghost Surfer' on Thu, 19 Jan 2006 21:09:37 GMT, sez:
Personer bakom denna web sida har oftast bara en talang och det är att klaga på allt alla andra gör som i detta fallet Windows som har miljoner och åter miljoner användare!.Om dessa individer nu har en sådan bra lösning på allt,varför gör de då ingenting mer än att hacka på de som redan försöker!?.Precis,brist på fantasi och IQ.
'Bugs' on Thu, 02 Feb 2006 06:49:51 GMT, sez:
"Why is a dog asking me questions?"
I hate that dog. --;
'dummy user' on Tue, 21 Feb 2006 04:03:25 GMT, sez:
The most useless dog on earth. Until you find your way to give him a usefull search job as user, you end up as a dog to sniff around where you should click on...
'dos' on Wed, 22 Mar 2006 14:56:25 GMT, sez:
If your searching by filename why not use good ol DOS...
dir *.jpg /s
'Michael' on Thu, 23 Mar 2006 15:32:44 GMT, sez:
Ahhh!! That damned dog has been the bane of my existence since it was introduced. I HATE that interface with such intense passion that I simply refuse to use it. If I need to find something, then it's gone. Simple as that. I will never, Never, NEVER use that PoS UI again.
'Sunil Tanna' on Sun, 26 Mar 2006 11:53:17 GMT, sez:
Aside from the stupid user interface, has anybody had any luck with the Dog actually finding stuff?
I either find nothing, or it misses most of the potential hits.
Meanwhile, back in Win98, the old Find function used to actually work.
'AndyB' on Mon, 27 Mar 2006 10:11:36 GMT, sez:
I'm not sure your analogy really works. I mean, if Google used that approach, we'd have a Google inteface that asked:
What do you want to search for? Images? News? Shopping Stuff? Newsgroup items? ...
So where's the difference between the dog asking if you want to search for a image or a document, and Google asking if you want to search for any of the myriad special interest searches it offers?
Sure Google doesn't have a cute dog, but it does have a cute cartoon that regularly changes... not really that different at all.
'Biggles' on Thu, 30 Mar 2006 00:07:11 GMT, sez:
"So where's the difference between the dog asking if you want to search for a image or a document, and Google asking if you want to search for any of the myriad special interest searches it offers?"
Very simple - Google doesn't get in the way or annoy people. So when I want to search for something, google gives me an edit box; I type in 'kill clippy' & it does what I want. If I want something else (almost never) I can click on images, news, shopping etc.
XP by default, when I want to search for something, sticks a bloody dog up & forces me to jump through a hoop before I can actually search; does anybody actually use dumb options like 'search for music?'
Meanwhile, I have drives mapped multiple ways for standardised compilation of C++ projects & the MS search goes and searches the same drive multiple times; tell me why searching _one_ drive takes 3 times longer when it is mapped 3 ways?
'yossi' on Wed, 31 May 2006 21:28:46 GMT, sez:
maybe an option to slaughter the dog if it can't find anythink........it'll probaly improve after a while.
Window should come with a utility like google search pre-instaled
'ZeRo' on Wed, 12 Jul 2006 05:32:33 GMT, sez:
Come on you guys......you r still argueing this..... ITS MSSOFT!!!! What would you expect from a company that puts a freakin' hound to find our PCs' crap......
'gwyneth' on Fri, 11 Aug 2006 19:39:53 GMT, sez:
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Apple's old moo-dog, the strange animal icon in early Macintosh systems.
'user 5429394111293' on Thu, 30 Nov 2006 08:54:43 GMT, sez:
i would pay seriously big dollars for a plugin where i could place the mouse over the dog while it was searching and fire bullets (with blood gushing results)... interactive-dumb-search-dog-killer... kind of a catchy name ya reckon?
if someone developed this i'd do hundreds of searches a day i swear
'Nicolas' on Tue, 26 Dec 2006 02:29:42 GMT, sez:
Here is Zune's new search tool:
'Stonehead' on Mon, 08 Jan 2007 20:35:04 GMT, sez:
The dog even annoys you when you want it gone. It's not just vanishing - it just HAS to make a little move and show me it's ass.
'lb' on Mon, 08 Jan 2007 20:39:35 GMT, sez:
>The dog even annoys you when you want it gone.
if they simply made the dog dissappear instantly, or possibly get blown up in an orgy of blood, at that point, then i think all would be forgiven.
'P' on Tue, 17 Apr 2007 17:13:17 GMT, sez:
I can't believe how bad Windows search is. I just lied to me. Again. It's 90% useless. A travesty.
'NP' on Wed, 16 May 2007 08:03:57 GMT, sez:
Windows Desktop Search - One word Crap! Who in their right mind would design search software which decides not to search certain types of files? Also if you force it to search, for example, asp files by hacking the registry then it decides not to find words between quotes!!!
'thug' on Sun, 08 Jul 2007 19:33:37 GMT, sez:
'cat owner' on Sun, 25 Nov 2007 14:35:44 GMT, sez:
Dogs find things by smell and they can't see colors. That's why the stupid mutt never finds my files - he can't smell the difference between a day old jpeg and year old source code.
'Jorge' on Tue, 04 Dec 2007 14:45:13 GMT, sez:
In reply to 'Ed' on Thu, 23 Jun 2005 22:24:25 GMT, sez:
"My favourite is "Printers, computers, or people." Well, I would like to find someone to date, but this LaserJet will have to do instead."
Well, someone back in Redmond, WA seems to read this blog because the option now is called "Computers or People". So, Ed, now is time to leverage your experience with LaserJet and date HAL!
'BAM' on Fri, 11 Jan 2008 14:09:22 GMT, sez:
Try to keep the flames down after reading this, but...
Apple's Spotlight search in OS X.5 is AMAZING! Everything is indexed, just start typing and whatever contains those words is listed, dynamically. So, as you continue typing the search gets refined.
AND - the OS has a Preview function that let's you see what is in a file, without starting the application.
AND - the OS has a window in the file manager application that looks like the pages of a book as they flip from left to right, with the contents of the file displayed.
Fantastically intuitive, easy, and fast.
- Lifelong Wintel user, new Mac convert
'The Clever One' on Wed, 27 Feb 2008 17:14:40 GMT, sez:
Now seriously guys!!
You are all losers, im serious!
some of you need to get outside and smell the fresh air because even Though i might sound a ickle bit hypocritical if your sad enough to write on this web page you really must not have a life or anything to do.
Your writing about sad little computer facts, that actually if you think about it, really does not matter. OK
just felt like saying.
'inSane' on Sun, 16 Mar 2008 18:45:02 GMT, sez:
I'll just add that in Polish version od Windows XP the name of this search function is badly translated - it's something which in english would be "anonimated" I think. There is even no such word...
'Drug Rehabilitation' on Sun, 25 Jan 2009 18:03:57 GMT, sez:
I just love these things. I find them very relaxing, especially if it happens to work all day long on the computer and you have a very stressing boss that wants you to finish faster!
'igotapochahontas' on Thu, 20 Aug 2009 00:25:40 GMT, sez:
umm idk if yall know this but u actually can creat a program to shoot that dog. type msagent in google. its vbs scripting, not that hARD. ive personally made that d!ckhead files and transfers wizard "merlin" pull a trumpet out of his butt and say that he pulled it outta there. easy sh!t yall.
'bub' on Tue, 03 Nov 2009 11:11:29 GMT, sez:
Here's the thing that always irritated the f*ck out of me: when you go to 'Change preferences' and tell it to get stop showing the dog, it makes you wait while the little bleeder walks off into the sunset... I'm a busy, I just don't want the dog. I hate looking at him in fact. The last thing I want to do is sit around watching him *animating* his way off my screen.
'Mike' on Mon, 09 Aug 2010 19:15:39 GMT, sez:
AARRGG!!! I just had the mis-fortune of trying to use Windows Search on a new server.
Totally useless! I need to find and delete all of the ~* files that Microsoft Office leaves behind. So simple with the old search.
I suppose this is what happens when you have a "technology" company run by marketing people instead of engineers!
'Manjunath Mahashetti' on Thu, 01 Dec 2011 04:18:21 GMT, sez:
I once used Lucene and command prompt for searching. It performed and due to lack of time I could not build UI. The performance is good and the querying methods are amazing, unlike the 'MS Dog' where it is inefficient as useless and limited search options. It is also not so heavy as Google Desktop, but needs index updating and creates Temp files for Parsing PDF docs, which can be scheduled and deleted programatically by Perhaps Quartz, rather than Windows scheduler which again offers better CRON Options.