Microsoft has released an MSN Search toolbar with Windows Desktop Search, a suite of tools that help users to rapidly search for files and information across the web or their PC.
The solution will compete with desktop search solutions under development from Yahoo and Google.
The toolbar lets users search their desktops from within familiar applications such as Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office Outlook.
Incorporating free enhancements for Windows 2000 and Windows XP customers, the toolbar will make it easier for users to find and retrieve documents, e-mail, images, video and other files on their machines.
"Users can now search their PC as fast as they can search the web," said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft senior vice-president for the MSN information services and merchant platform division. "The new MSN Search toolbar makes it easy for customers to find precisely what they're looking for, no matter where it resides."
The current version of the toolbar is designed for all users, but Microsoft is planning to launch a version specifically for corporates in beta form by the end of the year. This version will have a number of customisable options for firms.
The toolbar is available as a free download at: