Windows 7 / Getting Started

Using Federated Search

Federated Search enables users to use the familiar Windows Explorer interface to search content located on repositories such as Windows SharePoint sites, intranet sites, and other types of remote data sources, including sites on the Internet. The goal of Federated Search is to allow users to work with files stored on these repositories as easily as they can work with files on their local computers' file systems.

Note Federated Search in Windows 7 does not interleave results from multiple sources. You must search each source separately.

How Federated Search Works

Federated Search uses search connectors, which are XML files that store information on how to connect to a remote data source. Search connectors are installed using OpenSearch Description (OSDX) files, which are XML files that have the .osdx file extension. When opened, these files create a .searchConnector-ms file in the %UserProfile%\Searches folder on the computer and a shortcut to this file in the Favorites area of the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. For example, the XML for a search connector named MSDN.OSDX that enables searching of content on looks like this.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns="">
  <Description>Search MSDN. Powered by</Description>
  <Url type="text/html" template="
  <Url type="application/rss+xml" template="

Double-clicking this search connector to open it displays the dialog box.

Clicking Add in this dialog box installs the MSDN search connector (MSDN.searchConnector-ms) in the Favorites area of the navigation pane of Windows Explorer to allow the easy searching of content on MSDN.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Search
  2. Search and Indexing Enhancements
  3. Search in Windows XP
  4. Search in Windows Vista
  5. Search in Windows 7
  6. Understanding the Windows Search Versions
  7. Search Versions Included in Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  8. Search Versions Included in Windows Server 2008
  9. Search Versions Available for Earlier Versions of Windows
  10. How Windows Search Works
  11. Understanding Search Engine Terminology
  12. Windows Search Engine Processes
  13. Enabling the Indexing Service
  14. Windows Search Engine Architecture
  15. Understanding the Catalog
  16. Default System Exclusion Rules
  17. Understanding the FANCI Attribute
  18. Default Indexing Scopes
  19. Initial Configuration
  20. Understanding the Indexing Process
  21. Modifying IFilter Behavior
  22. How Indexing Works
  23. Rebuilding the index
  24. Viewing Indexing Progress
  25. Understanding Remote Search
  26. Managing Indexin
  27. Configuring the Index
  28. Configuring the Index Location Using Group Policy
  29. Configuring Indexing Scopes and Exclusions Using Group Policy
  30. Configuring Offline Files Indexing
  31. Configuring Indexing of Encrypted Files
  32. Configuring Indexing of Encrypted Files Using Control Panel
  33. Configuring Indexing of Similar Words
  34. Configuring Indexing of Text in TIFF Image Documents
  35. Other Index Policy Settings
  36. Using Search
  37. Configuring Search Using Folder Options
  38. Configuring What to Search
  39. Configuring How To Search
  40. Using Start Menu Search
  41. Searching Libraries
  42. Advanced Query Syntax
  43. Using Federated Search
  44. Deploying Search Connectors
  45. Troubleshooting Search and Indexing Using the Built-in Troubleshooter