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Why Microsoft wants Outlook searching to be slow

It's obvious to me.

The really cool indexing and searching features are in Exchange Server ("Full Text Indexing"). If you use Outlook with an Exchange server, searches of multi-gigabyte mailboxes are lightning fast.

So, if Outlook could do all that, who would want Exchange Server?

Tim Long
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Or maybe, just maybe, the cost to fix it exceeds the value of refactoring a fast search.

Counselor Troi says something useful
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Or with the billions they have, they just don't care.
It's not like there are thousands of people bearing torches at their gates yelling for better search. Most people just receire, read and send e-mail.

Mauricio Macedo
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

> If you use Outlook with an Exchange server, searches
> of multi-gigabyte mailboxes are lightning fast.

Umm.... have you tried this lately yourself?

Waiting for Lightning to Strike
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Exchange has had this capability since Exchange 2000 yet if you do a straw poll of most deployed Exchange sites they will tell you they don't turn it on for 2 reasons:

1.  It would encourage people to keep email (Exchange Admins want it deleted not kept)

2.  If it was turned on it would mean re-spec ing the server and (probably) buying new ones.  Continuous indexing of mail traffic is very resource intensive.

Local search tools address the second problem (as long as they are architected to manage server access load) but not the first, which could be why corporate buyers in the past have not been outside the gates (scuse pun) with torches.  New Regulation is now forcing companies to have to keep email (much to the Exchange Admin's disgust) thereby nullifying the problem ... hence the sudden interest in local search.

David Gillespie
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Maurico has it nailed: people don't choose Outlook, they get it with their PC.  Unless it becomes enough of a problem to affect market share, why would they fix it?

That's the problem with near-total market dominance.

Rodger Donaldson
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I'd suggest that employees are told to use Outlook by their IT departments rather than that it's simply installed.  It's why you can get away with somewhat lower quality in corporate software than shrink-wrap.  The user doesn't have much say in the matter.  (See Joel's article about the Five Worlds of software development.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Thanks for telling me. Now all I have to do is give the sysadmin a tutorial on how it works.

Can it be done mailbox by  mailbox?

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

To throw fuel on the conspiracy theory, I think I should point out that searching USED to be pretty fast in Outlook.

I have a huge Inbox, with thousands of messages from the better part of a decade.  Until recently, I was using Outlook 98.  With that, doing a search of just headers was pretty much instanteous.  Hit the button, and -- BAM! -- my Inbox instantly had the results.  Doing a full search of message text was a lot slower, but still reasonable.

Then I got a newer, much faster computer with Outlook 2002 installed on it.  Now just searching headers takes longer than doing a full search of message text in Outlook 98.  And doing a full-text search now takes forever.  (Keep in mind that this is on a computer that otherwise is way faster, so presumably I'd get even worse results on a compter comparable to the one on which I was running Outlook 98.)

What did they do?

Some Ranting Idiot
Friday, July 23, 2004

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