Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Copernic Desktop Search: No "Refine Search" Window

I was using Copernic Desktop Search Professional 3.4 (CDS) on Windows XP SP3.  I ran a search.  I wanted to narrow the search.  Using Copernic's online help, I gathered that I was supposed to be seeing a "Refine Search" section, with lots of different options, in the main Copernic search window.  But then I was also seeing some Copernic screens that didn't have it.  Mine didn't.  There was the option of just using Boolean operators, but I wanted the Refine Search section.  Besides, there wasn't a Boolean operator for file types, and I wanted only PDFs.

Copernic's own support webpage didn't offer any support forums or knowledgebase, which seemed bizarre.  Then I found that their so-called FAQ option was actually a knowledgebase search.  That page didn't seem to be functioning in Firefox, so I tried it in Internet Explorer.  No joy there either.  A search for a forum turned up a few alternate possibilities but nothing major.  So, using their Standard Support page, I asked them about it.  Their support page was enough of a hassle that I decided to ask some additional questions while I was at it:

(1) I don't see the "Refine Query" section on the main CDS window. How can I make it visible?

(2) Is there a support forum where I could have taken this question?

(3) Why does your support form say "All fields are required"? I don't have a firewall.

(4) For purposes of the support form, is the "serial number" the same as the "license key"? If not, please tell me where I can find my serial number. I don't see it on my invoice (downloaded software) and it's not visible in CDS via Help > About.

When I didn't see a forum, my first thought was that this was a company that didn't want to let anyone criticize its product -- wanted, in other words, to try to control discussion.  When I encountered these other obvious glitches (as they seemed to me, anyway) in the support form, which was apparently the primary avenue for customer questions, I found myself hoping that this would not turn out to be a place of poor support and/or crappy attitudes.

Fortunately, Copernic's tech support did get back to me.  Their first reply did not address my question -- it was one of those poor responses that try to send you off on a wild-goose chase.  But I persisted, reasking my question, and in the end the answer was simple, although odd.  The reason I did not see a "Refine Query" section, in my copy of Copernic Desktop Search, was that it was not available when the tab selected at the top of the screen was the "All" tab.  Don't ask me why, but apparently their belief was that my first step, in any refined query, had to be a decision about the file type I was looking for.  I had to click on one of the other tabs -- Files, or Emails, or Pictures -- and then they would allow me to refine my search.  The rationale may have been that the Refine Query space took on somewhat different shapes for each type of search.  But whatever the reason, I now had my answer.



I may be missing something, but it seems Copernic could also benefit from offering an option to specify folders that should be excluded from indexing.