Searching in Windows has always been painfully slow but Microsoft have just announced the launch of Windows Search 4 which aims to bring searching up to speed with applications such as Google Desktop. Windows Search 4 uses the same indexing style approach that Google Desktop does meaning that your data is always indexed and instantly searchable. Search results are now returned in seconds rather than minutes under Windows older search tool.
Be warned however - the indexing file can be huge especially if you have a large amount of data on your PC so make sure you have plenty of disk space free before installing Windows Search 4 otherwise you'll find it locks up your system before finally warning you that your disk space is low. In this release, Microsoft have finally ensured that you can also index and search encrypted files which was something missing from previous versions.
This is something that should have already been included in Vista and is yet another area where Microsoft are adding and completing aspects of the system that should have been ready before it was released. I don't quite understand how tools such as Google Desktop and Copernic Desktop Search have been on the market for years now and yet Microsoft have only just been able to implement such a basic feature into their operating system.
You can see Windows Search 4 in action here.