Q. What's the difference between Windows 7 Federated Search and the Enterprise Search feature available in Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate?

A. One of the new features in Windows 7 that's available in all SKUs is Federated Search, which lets a Windows 7 client search a remote data source that supports OpenSearch 1.1 then locally show the results of the search that are sent back using RSS or Atom. All the searching is performed on the remote server using its own index. The only requirement on the client is a small OSDX file (Open Search Descriptor XML file) that tells the Windows 7 client how to talk to the remote server and the URL to actually use for the remote communication.

You can install multiple OSDX files on a client. A great example of this in action is to add a Federated Search to your organization's SharePoint site. Once the federation is in place (through the OSDX file), a user can perform a search on their desktop and tell the search to use SharePoint as the search target. You can also add federated search for Internet services such as Amazon.com, making it easy to quickly find the latest DVDs.

Enterprise Search Scopes in Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate lets organizationally defined search targets (up to five) be targeted to the client desktops so the organization can help guide where users should focus their searches. These search locations appear automatically anywhere a search is performed, such as on the Start bar or in Explorer (as Search Again links). Organizations would likely push their Intranet locations and SharePoint sites as enterprise-wide search targets.

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