Have you ever searched for a program, file or folder on your computer only to discover that the default search in Windows takes longer to display your search results than it would for you to go find it manually yourself? I sure have, and I’d imagine that most Windows users have as well.
Although there are some things you can do to improve searching with the Windows Search there are some excellent alternatives to the default Windows Search that you should consider. These applications are all free and allow you to get your results quicker and more efficiently and some even display more accurate results.
Search Everything is probably the most renowned search application. It’s portable, free and just an all around great program. Upon starting it for the first time with your computer, it will build a database of all your files, but it does this fairly quickly and updates all of the displayed files and folders as you type, narrowing down your search in a “live” sort of way. There isn’t really an “advanced search” option, but it doesn’t really need it because it is it’s own advanced search.
UltraSearch offers the essential features and a few extras while still keeping it simple and remaining fast – giving you search results in seconds. It works by directly searching the Master File Table (MFT). Within the search window, all of the important file information is displayed. It also displays all of your computer’s partitions and their total size and free space. Additional options include showing folders and/or files in a search, exclude filters and printing the search results.
If you love Windows 7, but prefer the style of the Windows XP search, this is the program for you. It has portable capability and a familiar search interface. It also uses minimal system resources. However, there is one drawback. The free version is a trial. Not in the sense that the program itself will expire, but the search window will timeout. If you choose to use this program, just be aware of that. Open the window, complete your search and close it. If you do this in a timely manner you should be fine.
Super Finder XT
Super Finder XT has a very nice interface and performs at a good speed in displaying your search results. It’s interface mimics the Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 versions. It’s not overly complicated, but offers a decent amount of features.
Locate32 finds files and directories based on file and folder names stored in a database. Locate32 saves to a database the names of all files on your hard drives. Once the file indexing has occurred, you can locate files quickly by using the application’s search form. It uses databases to store information about directory structures and uses these databases in searches. The use of these databases provides very fast searching speed. The software includes a dialog-based application as well as console programs that can be used to update and access the databases. Locate32 is not primarily meant to find text or data within files, but it has a primitive feature to do this. Supported operating systems: Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7.
Launchy is a free cross-platform utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager. Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!
Now that you have more search options than you know what to do with, it’s up to you to make the right decision. My best advice would be to try one out that you feel suits you and if you find yourself using it a lot than it’s probably a good fit. If not, either you need to change a habit or there’s something about the program that just turns you off. This isn’t a bad thing, just find another option that sounds good. Bottom line though, you really can’t go wrong with any of these options. They are all great and all fast at displaying your search results – although some are faster than others. Others may offer a few more features or an interface that you find more appealing. It’s up to you!