Google Desktop Search Registry Tweaks

Desktop Search Tools from Yahoo and Microsoft let you search web favorites and browser history by name. But Google Desktop Search is the only in this category that lets you search web history by actual content.

Google tracks and indexes all websites and local webpages you visit with IE or Firefox while Google Desktop is running. Google automatically stores a thumnail preview of every webpage in the browser cache and displays links to different cached versions of the same page in chronological order. Similarly with other files, Google Desktop not only indexes them, it caches file content each time you save the file. If you delete a file from the hard-disk or clear the browser history cache, it would still exist in the Google cache.

Google index size will continue to increase exponenitially and very soon, your hard-drive may no longer be able accomodate the ever-growing index. In this extreme scenario, you have a few options:

Option 1. Uninstall Google Desktop Search and Reinstall

Option 2. Selectively remove items from Google cache

Option 3. Delete Google Desktop Search Index files

> Exit Google Desktop and Open Registry editor.
> Goto HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop
> In the right-hand pane, "data_dir" contains the location of the Google Desktop index.
> Open that folder in Windows Explorer and delete it.
> This technique may require your to reinstall GDS.

Option 4. Move Google Desktop index to a different location

> Exit Google Desktop and Open Registry editor.
> Goto HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop
> In the right-hand pane, "data_dir" contains the location of the Google Desktop index.
> Open that folder in Windows Explorer and move the entire folder to a different drive.
> Change the "data_dir" value to reflect the new location of the Google Desktop index.
> Exit the Registry editor and Restart Google Desktop search.

Ideally, you should apply the above registry tweak as soon as you install GDS since Google preferences pages do not let you specifiy the location of index files.

Another variable "file_extensions_to_skip" under the same registry key lets you specify file extensions that you would like GDS to skip. If you use GDS to index GMail, your GMail account credentials will be stored in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\ Google Desktop\Mailboxes\Gmail