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 PostPost subject: Windows Vista Saved Search chronicle        Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:20 am 
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Vista 5212.winmain.050726-1915
For this topic there is intention to chronicle the major changes Microsoft made to its Saved Search feature for Windows Vista during development of the post-reset operating system in released builds (a transition from one build to another in this list indicates the build in which the change occurred). I notice in older documentation and even recent foreign language blog postings that there is still significant confusion regarding the direction and purpose of the feature, as well as the feature itself. For example, in this Chinese article [translation by Microsoft Translator] for "Longhorn" 5048 there is confusion regarding the AutoList extension / feature where the author speculates that is is related to Windows Media Player.

Image Image
Image Image

Additionally, the confusion is compounded by various changes made to the Saved Search feature throughout development of the operating system. Enthusiasts might recall that Microsoft replaced the links to traditional folders on the Start menu with Saved Searches, only to twice regress from this vision before shipping an operating system experience that is unfortunately much more similar to that of Windows XP. For clarification purposes, here is a chronological arrangement of the names (with formats in parentheses) of Saved Searches throughout development of the post-reset Windows Vista: AutoList (autolist) → Virtual Folder (vfolder) → Search Folder (search) → Saved Search (search-ms). All of these are XML files that define the user's query: items for which to search, search parameters, item presentation and icon size, scopes, and view information for the Shell.

From Windows "Longhorn" 5048 to Windows Vista 5308 the following features for Saved Searches were available:

  • Folder sniffing that populated the navigation pane of Windows Explorer with queries that corresponded with the predominant type of content in a folder or that matched a folder's template
  • Metadata painting, which allowed users to drag and drop an item(s) into a stack or into a group to write the referenced metadata property to that item(s)
  • Saving of items—or dragging and dropping items—directly to Saved Searches, which placed these items into their corresponding traditional folders (e.g., dragging to All Documents placed the item in Documents)

From Windows Vista 5112 to Windows Vista 5219 the following feature for Saved Searches was available:

  • Save Ghost, which from within the Shell depicted a preview of the item about to be saved, and which allowed users to actually navigate into metadata properties from the Common Item Dialog to write those properties to the yet-to-be-saved item

From Windows Vista 5219 to Windows Vista 5259 the following feature for Saved Searches was available:

  • Rich tooltips for metadata painting

These features are not present in Windows Vista RTM or in later versions of Windows. The purpose of these features was to transparently abstract the traditional folders from the user, especially when these features were used in conjunction with other features such as filters, stacks, and static lists. The following illustrations demonstrate the extent to which metadata painting was ultimately envisaged for the Windows Shell, complete with rich tooltips:
Image Image

Saved Searches in Windows "Longhorn" 6.0.5048.0.winmain_idx02.050401-0536:

  • Documents: All Documents; Authors; Keywords; Recent Documents; Types
  • Music: Album Artists; Albums; Favorite Albums; Favorite Music; Genre; Music; Ratings
  • Pictures: Events; Locations; People; Photos

NOTES: Saved Searches referred to as AutoLists (with the .autolist extension). Earliest known post-reset build to include Saved Searches in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer. Events, Locations, and People Saved Searches included in this build are unfortunately later omitted before Windows Vista RTM.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5112.0.winmain_beta1.050720-1600:

  • All Items: User's Files
  • Documents: All Documents; Authors; Keywords; Rating; Recent; Types
  • Music: Albums; All Music; Artists; Favorite Music; Genre; Rating
  • Pictures and Videos: All Pictures and Videos; All Videos; Date Taken; Keywords; Rating

NOTES: Saved Searches—previously AutoLists—now referred to as Virtual Folders (with the .vfolder extension). First known released post-reset build with Saved Searches on both the Start menu—where traditional folders for documents, music, and pictures are replaced—and in the navigation pane, which is in keeping with previous pre-reset "Longhorn" concepts and, along with other features illustrates the direction of Microsoft's vision for this feature at this point in development:
Quote:
We actually considered at one time not having folders. It was all going to be virtualized storage with search queries and so on. We would just completely abstract the file organization stuff from the physical folders and disk structure. But that was too much of a leap over the chasm, too confusing for users.
Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5219.0.winmain_idx02.050830-2010:

  • All Items: Library; User's Files
  • Documents: All Documents; Authors; Documents Shared By Me; Keywords; Rating; Recent; Types
  • Music: Albums; All Music; Artists; Favorite Music; Genre; Rating
  • Pictures and Videos: All Pictures and Videos; All Videos; Date Taken; Keywords; Rating

NOTES: Earliest released build known to include the Library and User's Files Saved Searches; this build represents the first significant departure from the previous setup of this feature—individual types of content are now aggregated based on the Library Saved Search with unique types of content, and their respective metadata properties being listed in the navigation pane in place of the Saved Searches of previous builds. As a result, all Saved Searches—excluding Library and Recent Documents—are no longer present in the navigation pane. The Common Item Dialog does not display Saved Searches—other than Library with its associated subqueries—but the option to create new items from within the context menu of Saved Searches in Windows Explorer is still available; users can also still save items directly to the the previous Virtual Folders, although this is not readily accessible as before. The "Save Ghost" feature that depicted within the Shell a preview of an item about to be saved, and which allowed users to navigate into metadata properties from the Common Item Dialog to write those properties to a yet-to-be-saved item, is not available.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5231.0.winmain.050912-2020:

  • All Items: Library; User's Files
  • Documents: All Documents; Authors; Documents Shared By Me; Keywords; Rating; Recent; Types
  • Music: Albums; All Music; Artists; Favorite Music; Genre; Rating
  • Pictures and Videos: All Pictures and Videos; All Videos; Date Taken; Keywords; Rating

NOTES: This is the last known released build to include the "All" Virtual Folders—All Documents, All Music, All Pictures and Videos, and All Videos—and their derivatives, as Microsoft continues the transition to a single Library with its associated subqueries to aggregate and display content.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5259.winmain_idx02.051113-2100:

  • All Items: Library; Shared By Me
  • Documents: Recent
  • Music: Favorite Music; Fresh Tracks

NOTES: New Virtual Folders include Fresh Tracks and Shared By Me. The addition of new Saved Searches, however, presents uncertainty for Microsoft's future vision with Library. Nevertheless, the Start menu now includes a prominent link to Library.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5308.6.winmain_idx01.060202-1920:

  • All Items: All Drives and Devices; Computer; Shared By Me; User's Files
  • Documents: Last 30 Days Documents
  • E-mail: Attachments; Important E-mail; Last 7 days E-mail; Sent E-mail; Unread E-mail
  • Music: Favorite Music; Fresh Tracks
  • Pictures and Videos: Last 30 Days Pictures and Videos

NOTES: Saved Searches—formerly Virtual Folders (with the .vfolder extension)—are now referred to as Search Folders (with the .search extension); this is the second instance where the extension has changed from the previous AutoList designation. Additionally, this build represents the second significant departure from a vision for Saved Searches with the jarring omission of Library (which itself had previously replaced the Saved Search setup in use since Build 5048). This build is the first known released build to include All Drives and Devices and Computer Saved Searches, which are located in %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local; these Saved Searches are functionally analogous with the Everywhere and Indexed Locations Saved Searches, respectively, that later appear in Windows Vista RTM.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5342.2.winmain_idx04.060321-1730:

  • All Items: All Drives and Devices; Index; Shared By Me; User's Files
  • Documents: Last 30 Days Documents
  • E-mail: Attachments; Important E-mail; Last 7 days E-mail; Sent E-mail; Unread E-mail
  • Music: Favorite Music; Fresh Tracks
  • Pictures and Videos: Last 30 Days Pictures and Videos

NOTES: Computer renamed as Index.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5355.vbl_media.060329-2048:

  • All Items: All Drives and Devices; Index; Recently Changed Shared By Me; User's Files
  • Documents: Last 30 Days Documents
  • E-mail: Attachments; Important E-mail; Last 7 days E-mail; Unread E-mail
  • Music: Favorite Music; Fresh Tracks
  • Pictures and Videos: Last 30 Days Pictures and Videos

NOTES: Sent E-mail omitted. This build introduces Recently Changed. Most importantly, before this build Saved Searches—excluding All Drives and Devices and Index—aggregated and displayed content based on Known Folder GUIDs (e.g., the Photos AutoList in Build 5048 scoped Music, Public Music, and Desktop) for Shell folders; this was problematic because users often store content in other folders, but this content would not be aggregated or displayed. Starting with this build, these Saved Searches scope the Index Saved Search itself, meaning that all indexed content meeting defined criteria will be aggregated and displayed.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5456.5.winmain_idx03.060620-1700:

  • All Items: Indexed Files; Recently Changed; Shared By Me; User's Files
  • Documents: Last 30 Days Documents
  • E-mail: Attachments; Important E-mail; Last 7 days E-mail; Unread E-mail
  • Music: Favorite Music; Fresh Tracks
  • Pictures and Videos: Last 30 Days Pictures and Videos

NOTES: This build represents the third and final departure from the initial AutoList designation; Saved Searches are now referred to as such—instead of Search Folders—and include the .search-ms extension present in RTM. All Drives and Devices omitted. Index renamed as Indexed Files.

Saved Searches in Windows Vista 6.0.5472.5.winmain_idx01.060713-1900:

  • All Items: Everywhere; Indexed Locations; Recently Changed; Shared By Me
  • Documents: Recent Documents
  • E-mail: Recent E-Mail
  • Music: Recent Music
  • Pictures: Recent Pictures and Videos

NOTES: The previous "Last x days" Saved Searches have been renamed as "Recent x" for their corresponding content (Fresh Tracks has been renamed as Recent Music). Omission of Attachments, Favorite Music, Important E-mail, Unread E-mail, and User's Files. All Saved Searches are identical to those observed in Windows Vista RTM.

_________________
"We do not view the desktop as a mode, legacy or otherwise—it is simply a paradigm for working that suits some people and specific apps."
Windows Vista: Microsoft Speech Center | Windows Vista Saved Search chronicle


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