PDF files not included in Windows Search on Windows 7 and 8

As you probably know searching is the most efficient way to find documents, applications, and settings in Windows 7 and 8. By clicking on the Start button and typing you can quickly find files containing specific text and phrases.

The mechanism that allows this is Windows Search that runs as a Windows service. Windows Search has it’s roots in the Indexing Service that first appeared in NT4 and Internet Information Services (IIS). Indexing involves building a catalog (index) that contains the meta-data for files and applications. The meta-data is retrieved via plugins called IFilters.

Windows Search by default includes IFilters for common filetypes, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, HTML files, text files, MP3 and WMA music files, WMV, ASF and AVI video files and JPEG, BMP and PNG images. PDF files are indexed by Windows Search using an IFilter installed automatically when Adobe Reader is installed. However, on 64-bit versions of Windows the IFilter is not installed and the Indexing Service is unable to parse and index these files. Fortunately, the fix is easy and can be done without a reboot.

First, to confirm the IFilter is not installed you need to open Indexing Options in the Control Panel. To do this click on Start and enter the text index. Windows will search for anything with “index” and display the Control Panel option Indexing Options.

Search for Indexing Options

When selected the Indexing Option window appears. This window tells you the status of the Indexing Service, the number items in the catalog, and the options to add or remove search locations. In the following example my computer has indexed 12,033 items.

Indexing Options before installing the PDF IFilter

Click on the button Advanced and then click on the tab File Types. Scroll down to the PDF extension. If the IFilter has not been installed the filter description will state Registered IFilter is not found as in the following screenshot:

Missing IFilter in Indexing Options

After confirming the IFilter is missing you can close the Indexing Options window and download Adobe’s IFilter for 64-bit Windows. The current version as of the time of this writing is PDF iFilter 64 11.0.01 and can be downloaded from Adobe’s HTTP site or FTP site.

Once downloaded, you can install it using an elevated command prompt (run Command Prompt as administrator) with the following command:

msiexec /i “C:\Install\PDFFilter64Setup.msi” REBOOT=R /qb /L*v c:\temp\install_ifilter.log

After the installation completes go back into Indexing Options and confirm the IFilter was installed and registered. The following screenshot shows that the Indexing Service will use an IFilter named “PDF Filter”.

Installed IFilter

Now, all that is left to do is to rebuild Windows Search index. Click on the Index Settings tab and then on the button labeled Rebuild.

Rebuilding Windows Search index

After clicking the Rebuild button Windows will display a warning, click OK to start the rebuild.

Rebuild warning

The status of the rebuild can be monitored on the Indexing Options window. While you are using your computer Windows will reduce the speed of the indexing operation.

Eventually (within an hour or two, depending on size of catalog) the index will be rebuilt and now contain search items from PDF files. On my computer the number of indexed items increased to 40,913.

Indexing Options

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How to re-enable Recovery Media creation on Lenovo T530

I had to restore a Lenovo T530 laptop running Windows 8 back to Windows 7. I tried to use the recovery media that I put on an SD card but, the laptop couldn’t boot from the SD card. So, I decided I would just recreate the recovery media using DVDs.

I went to another T530 laptop running Windows 7 to create the recovery media but, was presented with the following message:

You can have only one copy of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
The Product Recovery Media Creator will exit now.

Apparently, I had already created recovery media from this machine. Setting aside the stupidity of this tactic or it’s implied meaning (creating recovery media = piracy), I needed to trick this machine into letting me do this.

A quick Google search shows just how common this problem is and fortunately a fix. Unfortunately, many of the results are for older Thinkpads that reference a file that no longer exists. Fortunately, the latest fix was found in this forum post on superuser.com.

To fix, just run this command from a CMD prompt:

echo 0 > Q:\FactoryRecovery\RECOVERY.INI:Done

After running go back into ThinkVantage Tools and retry creating recovery media – it should work.

Create custom wallpaper for your servers

I like to set the Windows Desktop to a specific color to easily identify it from other desktops I may have open. This way when I have multiple Remote Desktops running I can quickly see which one I need to click on. At a minimum I usually set the background color of the Desktop.

Recently though, I started making custom images that I use as wallpaper that incorporate color idea and adds information to positively identify the server I am working on. This information usually includes the host name, IP address, a brief description, and the type of OS running.

I try to make the color the same as the color associated with the primary software installed on  the server. For example, our Prophet21 server is purple since that was their primary color in their logo, orange is used for our Shoretel server, etc. Some servers just have a color that was picked randomly years ago and stuck. Our database server uses olive while our webserver uses teal.

I use Gimp to make the images and put them on the root of the C: drive of the server. Since these are servers themes are usually disabled. To make the image appear as wallpaper I have to open them in Paint and from the File menu select “Set as Wallpaper”. The following are examples of wallpaper for a few of my servers.

This is a screenshot of my Taskbar showing how helpful these wallpapers are:

Use 7-Zip to install ISO files

Challenge: You download an ISO (like Office 2010 from Microsoft) but, cannot install it because your computer doesn’t have a CD-ROM.

Solution: Use 7-Zip to extract the contents to a folder and install from there.

Note: Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 can mount ISOs to virtual CD drives natively but, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 cannot. However, Microsoft has created a utility to enable this functionality which can be downloaded from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38780

Search for a type of file in Windows 7

Challenge: You want to find all files of a certain type (like pictures or music) in Windows 7.

Solution: Use Windows Search Filters. Search filters are a feature in Windows 7 that make searching for files by their properties (such as by author or by file size) much easier.

You can even stack filters to narrow down the results:

Additional information: Microsoft

How to copy path AND filename in Windows 7

In order to share a file using UNC names you have to join together the file’s name and the file’s location or path. In Windows XP this meant clicking on the file as if to rename it and copy the name then click in the Address bar and paste the name at the end of the path. It is a small inconvenience but, an inconvenience none the less. At first glance it appears this shortcoming was carried over in Windows 7.

Hold down the Shift key and then right-click on the file. A new option in the context menu is available named “Copy as path”. This will copy the path and file name adding quotes around the address. You can then paste the address anywhere you need it.

Context menu in Windows 7

Blank Control Panel

Problem: Control Panel on Windows 7 is empty.

Fix: Using Task Manager kill explorer.exe (all if more than one exist) and start a New Task (on Applications tab) typing “explorer.exe”.
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