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The three major storage areas of information that are accessed by users of an enterprise are

  1. their desktop
  2. the servers and applications of servers in the enterprise
  3. and last not least the web.

If users want to retrieve information from each of these three repositories mentioned above they are forced to perform the same search using different UIs. This is because different search applications have to be used to retrieve this data. While the desktop is searched by desktop search applications such as Windows Desktop Search, the data of an enterprise can be searched by SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search. SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search provides search capabilities through all connected sources of an enterprise. Either by using SAP‘s search engine in the backend or by connecting 3rd party search engines while the Microsoft Windows Desktop Search helps users to find almost everything that is stored locally on their desktops so that they are able to  retrieve e-mail messages, documents, and many other file types located on their PC. The Web is usually searched using the search engine configured by the user in its browser settings or it can be configured to integrate the Web search into the SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search.

Since every Search technology mentioned above comes with it’s own UI it would be advantageous if a user could perform a search in all three storage areas  using just one UI thus avoiding the need of entering the same data into different UI’s.

How can the three different worlds of local desktop search, SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search and Web Search be brought together ?

Using existing technologies one option is to use the Windows Desktop Search frontend which is usually used to perform a local search on the desktop. This can be achieved using appropriate configuration settings for the Windows Desktop Search client. Using such settings which can be applied using Group policies the Windows Desktop Search frontend can also be used to start an enterprise wide search in an intranet location such as SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search as well as a search on the web. Windows Desktop Search does actually not perform those searches itself. It moreover starts the search in SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search or the Web by calling the appropriate search URL’s offered by the search engines using the same search parameters that have been entered by the user into the Windows Desktop Search frontend (see Figure 1). 

In the following we show how  the Windows Desktop Search frontend can be used to start a search on the user’s desktop as well as a search with SAP Enterprise Search.

Search on the desktop and in the enterprise

In our example a user searches for content about the customer Palo Alto Airways. He thus enters the key words Palo, Alto and Airways into the Windows Desktop Search client. If the user presses the button Desktop the following search result is displayed:


Figure 1: Search Results from Windows Desktop Search

By just pressing the button SAP the web frontend of SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search is started. The query that has been used to search the local desktop is now sent to the SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search server. The query string is sent as a parameter of the URL The result if refined to business partners looks like the following:


Figure 2: Search Results from SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search

Drill down to SAP data

From the result set the user can now drill down to the applications themselves. In our example when clicking on the link SAPGUI is started showing customer details from the SAP ERP system.


Figure 3: Customer details stored in the SAP ERP system


The configuration steps that describe how to add a primary Intranet Search Location for Windows Desktop Search are described in the Windows Desktop Search (WDS) Administration Guide . Administrators can use Group Policy to apply the configurations settings.

In our example we enabled the policy Add Primary Intranet Search Location. By activating this policy a new button is added to the Windows Desktop Search frontend whose caption can be defined by the administrator using Group Policy. In our example we chose the caption SAP and therefore added the following value for the Primary Intranet Search Location:


The key words used by the user are passed to the SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Search using the parameter $w. We thus entered the following settings for the policy:


as shown in the following screen shot:


Figure 4:  Windows Desktop Search: Add Primary Intranet Search Location

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  1. Sascha Kuhlmann
    Hi Andre,

    the CTSC is alive!! This is cool….easy way to integrate Desktop and Enterprise Search….

    Is this also working with Live Search ?


    1. Andre Fischer Post author
      Hi Sascha,
      yes it will work out of the box if you have configured Live Search as your search engine in your browser.
      Then if pressing on the button “Web” the results from the Internet search will be displayed in the window.

      Best regards,

  2. Aijaz Buksh
    Thanks a lot Andre, I was about to write my own little .net app to do this until I came across your blog.  Thanks again you saved me hours of work.

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