Hidden Feature: Searching Your Entire Network
Ever wish you could see all the pictures or music you have shared on your home network?
With Network Magic, you can search across all of the files you have shared in Shared Folders. The feature is somewhat buried, but read on and I'll show you how to uncover this little secret.
First of all, I should explain that one of the cool features we have had in Network Magic all the way back from version 1.0 is what is called a 'Shell Extension'. Using a Shell Extension, an application can extend the Windows Shell to make its own information available. We expose "Network Magic Folders" inside the shell as a virtual folder that shows where all the shares are on your home network.
If you right-click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose 'Explore' you can see the entire hierarchy of your computer. Here is a picture of the explorer window on my home pc:
Under the Desktop folder, you can see a "Network Magic Folders" node that is expanded and contains all of my Shared Folders, so I can easily get to them from anywhere.
Using this Shell Extension is especially useful when you are running other windows applications like Word, Windows Media Player or even notepad. When you are inside the File Open or File Save As dialogs of your favorite application, you can simply change the "Look in" drop-down and select Network Magic Shared Folders to open and save things to your network.
Now, lets use this same concept to perform a search across my entire network. Follow along with these steps:
1. Open a Windows Explorer window by double-clicking on My Computer.
2. From the View Menu, select Explorer Bar then Search.
3. A search panel should have opened. In the file name field enter *.jpg to look for all jpeg picture files on your network.
4. In the Look in: drop down, select Browse...
5. From the Browse for Folder dialog, choose the Network Magic Folders node and click OK
6. Back in the explorer window, hit the Search button and watch as your image thumbnails appear.
That's all there is to it.
I'd be interested in hearing from existing Network Magic users if they are using this Shell Extension feature and in what applications do you find it most useful. Anybody else have some cool tips or tricks?
CTO, Pure Networks