What is a windows search protocol host?

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What is a windows search protocol host?
Windows Search hunts through the files on your computer. (computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from Fotolia.com)

Windows Search Protocol Host is a program found in Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is part of Windows Search 4.0. This utility enables searches of a computer's file system, including searches through the contents of the files and the metadata, which is information about each file.

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The Windows Search utility has three elements: Search Indexer, Search Protocol Host and Search Filter Host. The task of Search Protocol Host is to coordinate protocol handler programs. Each store type has a different handler. There is a File System Protocol Handler, an Outlook Protocol Handler and an IE Cache/History Protocol Handler for Internet Explorer history files.


Windows Search 4.0 is the successor to Windows Desktop Search. The utility is also known as "Instant Search." An earlier version was called "Windows Index Search." Windows Search maintains an index of all files on the computer's hard drives to facilitate speedy search results.


Windows Search Protocol Host is implemented by a program called SearchProtocolHost.exe. This, together with the other programs used to run Windows Search, is found in the System32 directory of the Windows directory on the C: drive.

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