As I researched the Search Filter Host problems plaguing my Surface Pro 3 — which results in hot temperatures and low battery life — I am reminded that functionality isn’t the same thing as usability.
The search index is a good idea. Windows builds an index of your files as unobtrusively it can, so when you search for something, results instantly appear. It’s a wonderful thing when it works. This is an example of high functionality; all modern operating systems should have it.
However, Microsoft’s implementation comes at a sacrifice to usability. While you can specify which locations and file types to include in the index, Windows will try to index everything within those specifications. Good, right? Nope.
The problem is that something unseen may cause certain files or file types to be unprocessable. Yet, no matter how long it takes (forever?), the program will keep trying again and again to index a troublesome file. And so it gets stuck, wasting CPU cycles and battery, and not moving on to other files.
If you’re having this problem, check out this post, which investigates the issue to great depth and found the solution: installing Adobe’s iFilter 64-bit. Basically, the Surface Pro 3 was missing something that caused PDF files to force the index process to slow to a crawl. PDFs…hardly the most exotic file type!
Indexing every file you ask it to is high functionality; but it is also low usability because inevitably the indexer fails to process a file.
The fix is simple. If the indexer can’t process a file in a timely manner, it should simply skip it.
Send that list along to Microsoft HQ to analyze, so someone can find out why certain file types failed, and what can be done to fix it.
High functionality, high usability.
If you’re an entrepreneur or product manager, it is an important lesson to keep in mind. Features are important, but the overall experience is even more so.