Fast Searching in Public Folders

Heath Stewart

I respond to a lot of questions answered on an internal alias for Windows Installer support, some of which inspire posts on my blog. That alias is also archived in a public folder on our corporate Exchange server so there is a vast treasure trove of information for reading – far too much to use Outlook‘s built-in search.

For those also in an environment where public folders exist in Exchange full of information, there are many ways to find information quickly. I prefer to use Windows Desktop Search. To set this up, follow these instructions:

  1. Switch to Outlook’s Folder List.
  2. Expand Public Folders and find the folder you want indexed.
  3. Right-click the folder and click Add to Favorites….
  4. Set any options or rename the favorite and click the Add button.
  5. Right-click on Public Folders and click Properties for “Public Folders”….
  6. Click the Advanced… button.
  7. Click the Advanced tab.
  8. Check Use Exchange Cached Mode and Download Public Folder Favorites.
  9. Click OK to close the Advanced property sheet.
  10. Click OK to close the Properties property sheet.
  11. Select your favorite folders or otherwise synchronize your client to download all items. This can take quite some time and is not recommended over remote connections.
  12. Download and install Windows Desktop Search if not installed already.
  13. Open the Windows Desktop Search property sheet. You can do this currently in the following ways:
  • Click in the task bar search box, click the MSN logo in the lower-left corner, and click Desktop Options.
  • With Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer, click on the MSN logo on the left side, and click MSN Search Toolbar Options.
  • Click on the Desktop Search tree node.
  • Select Custom folders and e-mail locations.
  • Click the Browse button.
  • Expand My Email, then Outlook, and check Public Folders.
  • Click OK to close the Browse dialog.
  • Optionally, click Rebuild Index to rebuild the index now. This can slow your machine’s performance.
  • Click OK to close the Desktop Search properties.
  • You can now force a rebuild of the index or wait a while for the index to get built when your machine is idle. When finished you should be able to find mail, posts, and attachments from any favorites you have selected very quickly.


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