Search function in Remote Desktop Services

By | April 1, 2011

Many people do not realize that the search function in Windows 7 offers important functionality. When you press the Windows key you can directly enter a keyword for “Search program and files” in the startmenu. When you get used to this, it’s a quick way to start applications without clicking with the mouse or find documents. When implementing Remote Desktop Services, people also want to use this functionality. Besides searching in the startmenu, they also want to search in files and contents of files on fileshares, e.g. homedirectory. By default, this is not working as expected. There are some pitfalls:

  • Typically, access to local disk is prohibited on RDS servers. This is most often implemented as a policy. As a result, the search function does not find the shortcuts of the user’s startmenu. To make this work, you have to permit access to local disk on the RDS server. You can still hide the local disk. Hiding and access to disk are two different policies.
  • To search documents and in contents of documents on network shares, you have to install the File Server role with Windows Search Service on the RDS server. Without this role, you cannot search in contents on fileshares.

  • To enhance performance of searching in shares on fileservers, also install the Search Service on the File Server. The search job will then be performed by the File Server instead of the RDS server.
  • To search in document contents, you have to enable “Always search file names and contents” in Windows Explorer.

After you have solved above problems, users can use the “Search program and files” function on RDS the same way as on Windows 7 clients.