Getting Started with Parameter-Value Arguments

The search-ms ?application protocol is a convention for querying the Windows Search index. The protocol enables applications, like Windows Explorer, to query the index with parameter-value arguments, including property arguments, previously saved searches, Advanced Query Syntax (AQS), Natural Query Syntax (NQS), and language code identifiers (LCIDs) for both the indexer and the query itself.

This topic is organized as follows:

About Parameter-Value Arguments

The search-ms protocol uses the following standard URL-encoded syntax:


The syntax begins by identifying the protocol itself (search-ms:). The parameter/value pairs are arguments passed to the Search engine, as described in the following table.

Parameter Value Description Version
query URL-encoded text The query text entered by the user. Windows XP, and later
inputlocale Any valid LCID The LCID that identifies the input language for the query. Windows XP, and later
keywordlocale Any valid LCID The LCID that identifies the language of the international version of the Indexer. The default is 1033 (en-us). Windows XP, and later
crumb AQS statement This argument restricts the scope being searched. In Windows Vista and later, search-ms supports full AQS as well as a special implementation for a location argument. In Windows XP, search-ms also supports full AQS, except for a special implementation of kind and store. Windows XP, and later
syntax NQS, AQS (not case sensitive) The query syntax to use to search the index: either Natural Query Syntax or Advanced Query Syntax (AQS). AQS is the default and is always assumed parsed and supported. Windows Vista, and later
stackedby Any valid property from the property system A property that specifies the column to stack results by. Windows Vista, and later
subquery A fully specified path for a Saved Search file (*.search-ms) The results of the subquery are used as the source for the query. That is, the query terms are searched for against the results of the subquery. Windows Vista, and later
displayname URL-encoded string The name of the current search. Windows Vista, and later

For related information, see Registering an Application to a URL Protocol.



Locale Identifier Arguments

CRUMB Argument

SYNTAX Argument