Search the disk at lightning speed in Windows

searchWindows has a built in search engine that can be used to find documents, apps, settings and other files on the disk drive. It is actually quite good at finding Windows settings and apps, but it is quote poor when it comes to finding files on the disk. Poor is actually an understatement and if you want to search the disk at lightning speed, you need a different search engine. There are several alternatives to choose from, but in this article we look at a free utility that is surprisingly good.

First, let us see how Windows search works. On the Start screen in Windows 8 you can simply start typing and the search panel opens on the right side of the screen to show the search box. It displays results below as you type. If you are using the desktop instead of the Start screen, hold down the Windows key and press S to open the search panel.

I have several Word documents on the disk drive called Tips, such as Tips328.doc, Tips329.doc and so on. You would think then, that typing tips???.doc into the search box would find the documents. It doesn't.

 Search Windows 8

(When you search for anything you can use the ? character to indicate that any number or letter will do, so Tips???.doc would find Tips followed by any three characters then .doc, which matches the names of the files I want to find perfectly.)

Instead of using Windows search facility, download Everything Search Engine. This is a free utility and there are several downloads to choose from. I selected and this is a zip file that does not need installing into Windows. You just right click the zip and select Extract All, which copies the contents of the zip file into a folder.

To run the program  you open the folder and double click the Everything program (there's only one file). It tells you that it needs to be run as an administrator in order to work, and there is a button to do this, so click it. Next time, right click the program and select Run as administrator, then you won't get that message.

A program that does not need installing is called a portable app and I prefer them because they don't mess around with Windows and install junk into them. I chose the because I have 64-bit Windows, but if you have 32-bit Windows you must download the version.

OK, let's try that search again. Running Everything and entering Tips???.doc instantly produced the results I wanted. It really was instant and the speed of this program is amazing. The documents I wanted to find were listed. Now why can't Windows search do this?

 Search Windows with Everything

Having found the files you want, you can double click them to open them as you would with Windows Explorer, or you can right click the file to access a menu. If you want to open an Explorer window to view the folder containing a file, right click it and select Open Path.

 Search the disk with Everything

To sort the list of files into order, click the Name, Path, Size or Date Modified headings at the top of each column. Click again to reverse the order.

Everything works with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and is free. Grab a copy, it is really good.

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