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Can't search for tags over server

Nov 7, 2013 at 1:05 AM
Great piece of software, it's exactly what we're looking for. We need to be able to tag 3DS Max files and this does the job.

Problem is, when tagging files on a server, Windows won't recognise the tags via a search. It does, however, work perfectly via a local search.

Will this require an install on the server? I don't have the ability to do this myself, so hopefully there's a way around. If not, then I'll have to pester the server admin to install this on.
Nov 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM
I don't have the setup to reproduce your environment, but I will tell you what I can to try to help you to solve this.

There are three key players: the indexing service in Windows Search; the property handler provided by File Meta; and the tagged file.

In a local search, all three pieces are on the same machine, and there is obviously no problem. When the files are on a server, there are two cases to consider: the indexing service could be running either locally, or on the server. I am pretty sure that, in either case, for the indexing service to pick up the File Meta tags, the property handler must be installed on the same machine.

So, if the indexing service is running on the server, then File Meta will need be to be installed there too (though you can omit the optional part of the installation). But if the indexing service is running on a local machine with the files on a network share, and the indexing service can be persuaded to include the network share in its crawl, then File Meta would only need to be installed locally.

You can configure the local indexing service using Indexing Options in the Control Panel. I don't have a suitable setup to try this, but you may be able to persuade it to include the required network location, and thus avoid the need to install anything on the server.

Do let me know how you get on.
Nov 15, 2013 at 1:44 AM
2 strikes unfortunately. Firstly we tried the indexing service, but there is no way to add network drives. Secondly, when we approached IT to get it installed on the servers, they declined. We're still unsure why, it shouldn't change the servers behaviour in anyway apart from allowing us to tag files.

Shame, because this would have made life easier for us.

If we get our way and they install the fix to the servers, I'll let you know how it goes.
Nov 19, 2013 at 1:25 PM
I am sorry to hear that you are still blocked.

I do have some sympathy with the position of the server people: after all, they are the ones who will get it in the neck when things go wrong.

I did have one thought that might help you to persuade them to help. It is possible to very considerably reduce the footprint of what needs to be installed on the servers, compared to running the standard setup. The following steps should give you indexing support with the least impact:

a) Copy FileMetaPropertyHandler.dll (almost certainly the 64-bit version) to a suitable folder on the server.
b) Run, from an administrator prompt, the command “regsvr32 FileMetaPropertyHandler.dll”

This gives you an installation consisting of one 17K DLL and some registry settings. The server guys should be able to check all the source code for this installation quite quickly, and can of course build it for themselves if they want to.
Nov 20, 2013 at 5:08 AM
Thanks for the tip, further convincing is required, but we'll give it a shot.
Jan 15, 2014 at 6:16 PM

I am the "server guy" in my office, and I would like to see this work on our office servers. Our user environment is mostly Windows 7, and the servers are 2008 R2. I didn't quite follow that last post, is that all that would be necessary for the server to "see" tags added to files on another machine that had the property handler added for a particular file type? I would have assumed that I would need to add the property handler for each file type on the server itself, but that is just a guess on my part.

The other question is, do you think I need to have indexing enabled on the server for the folders shared on the network? It currently is not, and I guess it's something I just hadn't given much thought to until now. I found this and it seems pretty straight forward. I don't want to change more than I have to on the server, but I do want to be able to add tags from my workstation, and then have them come up in a search.

Also, I would like if possible to be able to add and edit tags from the server as well. But that would probably not be something I would do on a regular basis.

Jan 16, 2014 at 8:21 AM
Hi shadow98cat

Yes, you're right, for the server to be able to see metadata properties on the files, the File Meta Property Handler will need to be to be registered for each extension.

As for your second question, I'm afraid that I don't know. I've never done this myself, and I don't have access to an environment with a server, so I have no good means of finding out, either. If you do figure out the safest way to put this capability on your servers, it would be great if you could post back to this thread and share your insights. I will promote the material to a more visible location on the site.

As for editing tags on the server, once the Property Handler is configured, it should be possible to do this using Explorer on the server. There is also a command line option, with a little more work.

Jan 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Thank you for the quick response. I have successfully installed FileMeta(x64).msi on one of my servers (no errors). I was able to open the association manager and add the "Office DSO file" profile to several different extensions. After logging off the server and back on, tags I had added from my workstation and copied the files to the server, are showing on the server. I also tested adding more tags to my test txt file on the server, alternating adding from my workstation and from the server and it seems to work beautifully. So far, doing a tag search from my workstation of a server folder does not get me results of a file with that tag. I have yet to turn on indexing on the server, so that may be it.

The one issue I noticed is from my workstation, when I right click on a file (on the server share) I've added tags to, at random I get this error message.
Then explorer crashes and restarts. I have repeated this several times, and it really seems to be at random (2 or 3 normal right clicks, then error). I was wondering if it might be related to this issue. I have also reproduced that right click explorer crash as well.

I well let you know when I try turning on the indexing.

Jan 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Edited Jan 17, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Hi shadow98cat

Thanks for the progress report, I will be very interested to hear about the final outcome.

On the error on right click, I think that is very likely to be the same issue, which will occur whenever the underlying file cannot be accessed for whatever reason (please see the comments I have added to the issue). I have a fix for the problem: with what urgency do you think I should release it? I will, in any case, give you access to a test version first, to verify that the problem has been fixed in your environment.

Jan 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM
Hello Dijji,


After several failed attempts, I got it working. I will post a complete list of all I did to make this work as soon as I get a chance. And yes, I would be happy to test fixed before you release it.

Mar 5, 2014 at 5:31 PM
Hello Dijji,

I apologize for not getting to this sooner. The steps I took to get server shares to yield the tagged search results are as follows:
  1. The server share folder has the NTFS permission 'System' - Full Control. I believe this is needed for indexing.
  2. Install FileMeta on server and workstation(s).
  3. Use FileMeta to add extensions as needed. Make sure that if you add to Workstation, also add to Server.
  4. On Server 2008, add the File Services role -> then the Windows Search Service role (not the Indexing Service role).
  5. On Server 2008, open the indexing options and add the Server share folder to the indexing locations.
That was what it took for me to get searches working.