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The Net Takeaway: X1 starts to open up...


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X1 starts to open up... · 03/01/2007 11:19 AM, Search

No, they aren’t going open source or anything like that, but they’ve finally let slide some features which can basically enable all that stuff they’ve turned off.

UPDATE: The below refers to 5.6.3, in later versions they’ve gone back to being disrespectful and scummy. See X1 says ‘New business model: Take away features, charge more!’.

If you haven’t been following, you can see my past articles on Desktop Search with this link. Basically, I was a huge fan of X1 Desktop Search, even paying for it, but I disliked their continuous “phone home” process to check for piracy. I recommended the still awesome Copernic Desktop Search, now in version 2, still incredible, including network drive searching and FREE.

Then, X1 released a free version… but removed network drive searching (and removable drive searching, btw). So, it was reduced but free… and in my hatred of misleading marketing, I expected them to point out that this free version is not the same as the former commercial version. They will not do this, but at least they are finally allowing us to get it back up to speed.

You have a couple of options: if you like most of the defaults, and just want network search back, you can enable it on Windows XP Professional. If you are on Home or want to re-enable everything (or disable stuff you never use to just remove it from the interface), then you have a longer process, but still doable.

This is all free and poorly documented, but once completed, it puts X1 and Copernic pretty neck and neck.

So, first off: download the X1 Client Deployment Kit which includes an MSI file for the client, and some configurators. If you unzip it to a junk directory, you’ll see a zip file inside the overall zip which has an ADM file. Unzip that and put it somewhere static (say, windows directory).

As these forum topics reveal Network shares and Accessing network shares (among others), you can then open the Group Policy editor, open up the ADM file (which exposes X1 Admin features), and start to change what’s allowed and what’s not. Restart X1, and bingo. That’s the easy way.

The harder way is to configure the MSI to make a new installer for yourself. Forum Topic 3 gives the step by step for this. There are more features to be configured this way, and its more involved, but if you can’t do what you want with the group policy editor, this will work.

Oh, and changing what tabs display? That’s well hidden; its not in the Options or View menu like you’d expect. It turns out that they are hidden in that left hand window (click on the dots, or View | Searches Pane). Delete from the “top” and panes go away. I removed Music, for example.

So, comparison? Copernic nicely mixes attachments and email in one search results window; I have to use separate panes (or the ALL tab) to do this in X1. Copernic does not allow you to perform actions on group results such as deleting all the mails you’ve found; X1 does this with ease. X1’s index is smaller. Both have trouble with wildcards. X1 searches Tasks and Calendar; Copernic does not. X1’s display of Contacts info puts more on the screen at one time.

So, still a big Copernic Desktop Search fan, esp. in this latest version 2, and still recommend it in most every case. But if you are technically savvy and want to try a powerful option, you might consider giving X1 a shot.

Oh, and guess what: It doesn’t phone home for piracy anymore, and you can turn off all its other optional phone home stuff.

Finally, a question I get all the time: doesn’t Vista’s desktop search rock? Won’t it kill these other options? Well, to be fair, I haven’t tried it yet, but I expect it will take at least one more rev to be where it needs to be, given past experiences with MS search products and knowledge of how things work there. But that 2nd release will be impressive.

And remember, for my reviews of other tools and what I liked and didn’t, feel free to check out Desktop Search.

* * *


  1. This all sounded really good and helpful, until I got to the link for ‘download the X1 Client Deployment Kit which includes an MSI file for the client…’ Is the ONLY option to download the “Entrerprise Client”, which requires you to “be contacted by a representative who will ensure your environment is compliant”? Is there just a download link somewhere for those of us who want the ADM thing without the 30-day trial hooP? Thanks in advance for info…
    What did you do, for example? Did you fill out the form? Did you download the “Enterprise Client” so that you could get the “Client Deployment Kit”?

    Lyberty    May 14, 08:45 PM    #

  2. Good point. You do have to fill out the form in order to get to the next step. If you really don’t want to be bothered by them, fake all the info except for the email, and use a account for the email. This will allow you to get emails for codes and such (though I don’t recall actually needing any, since I wasn’t using the Ent Server trial).

    The 30 day trial is for a separate component that they want you to try, the “Enterprise Server”, and you can safely ignore that. The Deployment kit is not a time-locked trial.

    The Enterprise Server would be if you had lots of people indexing the same data: instead of duping all those indexes, you’d store it on the central server. Its only for big companies; indivs or small groups with a file server don’t need it.

    Finally, note that the X1 Forums actually has lots of good advice on this. Search on "deployment kit network", for example.

    Michael Wexler    May 14, 10:46 PM    #

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