This Vista search gadget from the System Center SDK UA team (and special kudos here to Chris Scoville) is really useful, as well as cool. And it’s available for you to download from the Windows Vista Gadget Gallery.

 

Download link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=118338

 

[Note: As with all downloadable gadgets on the Vista Gadget Gallery, you will see a notice that it’s a third-party application.  However, it is signed by Microsoft so that you know it comes from us.]

 

In case you haven’t heard about it, this gadget allows you to more efficiently find technical information for System Center products by using Live Search macros to search sites scoped to selected System Center products instead of searching the entire Web.

 

The gadget was demonstrated at MMS, but has been recently upgraded to include new functionality, a new look (incorporating the new server product branding logos), and fix issues that were reported. If you installed the previous version, go ahead and install the new version - it will detect the previous version and upgrade appropriately. The original version was v1.0 and this new version is v2.0.  

 

To check which version you have installed:

  1. Click the + icon at the top of the sidebar.
  2. Click the System Center gadget in the window, and then click Show details
  3. The bottom of the window shows the full name and version for the gadget.  The new version displays: System Center Content Search 2.0.0.0.
  4. Close the window.

 

In its default configuration, search results are returned in a tabbed window as follows:

  • TechNet
  • MSDN
  • Microsoft.com
  • Downloads
  • Videos/Media
  • Webcasts
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Microsoft Learning
  • Web

 

The default configuration includes results for all System Center products. But it gets to offer really smart searching when you scope your search to just one product – for example Configuration Manager. Now the tabbed results are more specific, which explains why the tabs displayed are dependent upon the product selection.

 

What I like best about this gadget: It gathers together all relevant blogs in one place.

 

What I like second best about this gadget:  I don’t have to worry about including “Configuration Manager” “ConfigMgr” and “SCCM” in the search.

 

As an example, let’s say that you have a particular question or problem related to Configuration Manager native mode. A standard search for “native mode” might return results from Wikipedia as a generic computing term, or provide documentation related to other products’ “native mode” settings.

 

But with the search gadget, right-click it, select Options, and then select search results for Configuration Manager:

 

System Center Content Search Options

 

 

This will change the gadget display so that it now shows Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (previously, it was just Microsoft System Center). This is an excellent reminder of how you have configured the gadget search scope! Then type in “native mode” and press Return to see the following results:

 

 System Center Content Search Example Results

 

 

Tabs:

  • The TechNet tab displays content from the Configuration Manager documentation library.
  • The MSDN tab currently gets results from topics from Systems Management Server (SMS) on the Microsoft Developer Network, but as soon as the Configuration Manager SDK documentation is published to MSDN, the gadget will search that content.
  • The Blogs and other sites tab includes posts from our team blog, Adam Metlzer’s blog, myITforum, SMS&MOM blog, Steve Rachu’s Manageability blog, Michael Niehaus’ Deployment Forum.
  • The Forums tab displays content from various TechNet forums that have posts that include native mode issues.
  • The Knowledge Base Articles shows any KBs to date related to native mode.

 

At this point, you might be wondering which blogs are included for Configuration Manager. Here are the blogs that are currently included (no particular order), but new ones might be added at any time: 

  • www.myitforum.com/articles/42/
  • faqshop.com/configmgr2007/
  • www.systemcenterforum.org/
  • blogs.technet.com/inside_osd
  • blogs.msdn.com/rodneyj/
  • blogs.technet.com/smsandmom/
  • blogs.msdn.com/rslaten/
  • blogs.msdn.com/steverac/
  • blogs.technet.com/jasonlewis/
  • www.deploymentforum.com/
  • blogs.technet.com/wemd_ua_-_sms_writing_team
  • blogs.msdn.com/ameltzer/default.aspx

 

Know a good blog that isn’t on the list?  Send an e-mail to scsdkcfb@Microsoft.com for future inclusion. 

 

Want to personalize the gadget by adding your own blogs or sites?  Follow instructions from this blog: http://weblog.stranger.nl/extending_the_system_center_content_search_windows_gadget

 

You can also use scsdkcfb@Microsoft.com to send feedback (problems or praise!) and send in any suggestions for similar utilities to help you gather the information you need to do your job.

 

Like this search functionality but you don't have Vista? Use the Web version at the very top of the System Center team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/systemcenter and read more about the gadget here: http://blogs.technet.com/systemcenter/archive/2008/06/06/new-system-center-vista-sidebar-content-search-gadget.aspx.

 

 

Happy (smart) searching!

 

 

- Carol

 

This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties and confers no rights.