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What’s the fastest desktop search tools you’ve used on Windows?

Is there a Windows program to efficiently search for files that does not wear down the disks?

Minimum functional requirements:

  • Search for names of files and folders

  • Search with modification date, before/after. Ideally in a range.

  • Search with file size, smaller/larger. Ideally in a range.

  • Manual control of file/folder indexing

By efficient I mean it keeps a list of all files and folders (file/folder name, size, modification date, creation date) without the need to scan the disks for every search. And by not wearing down the disks I mean it should not try to keep the list of files updated. I am fine with doing this manually. I don't want constant disk activity on my system.

I have a lot files of my system and I am looking for a tool to efficiently search for files. I am currently using FreeCommander's search facility. It is very powerful and much better than Windows XP's. But it does not cache anything.

I want complete manual control over when the list of files is updated and do not want to use the built-in search Windows.

Platform: Windows XP Professional x64 bit Edition.

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marked as duplicate by Mehper C. Palavuzlar, BinaryMisfit Mar 10 '10 at 11:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I would like to have reopened this question. I have 4 very specific requirements, I am not looking for a list of alternatives to Windows' search. – Peter Mortensen Mar 10 '10 at 15:04


It's by far the most efficient search tool I know

You couldn't stop the database auto-update actually (it will be implemented), but it's blazing fast because it use the NTFS USN journal... And there's a special version of the tool with update disabled there

(Personally I launch it at startup, and let it monitor changes, it's lightweight enough...)

alt text


Quick file indexing
Locate files and folders by name instantly.
Clean and simple user interface
Small installation file
Minimal resource usage
Share files with others easily
Real-time updating


Works only with NTFS drive 
Need administrative privileges, so need to deal with uac...
Doesn't search content   
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Thanks. I have read through the FAQ now. Indexing can be controlled by simply quitting Everything. But can it use modification date and file size in the search? – Peter Mortensen Mar 10 '10 at 9:40
Yes it can. Incredible tool that it is. – outsideblasts Mar 10 '10 at 9:41
@outsideblasts, @fluxtendu: can you give a hint on how to use modification date and file size in the search? I have downloaded and run Everything, but can't find the place to set these options. – Peter Mortensen Mar 10 '10 at 10:08
I don't think it's possible to search by filesize. But for changed files look at this post:… (and maybe you will need a beta or alpha version) – fluxtendu Mar 10 '10 at 10:35

I use to use agent ransack. Ugly as a Win95 program, but low on RAM and damn efficient !

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The first search through my 2.5 million files with Agent Ransack took 52 minutes. I think it is significantly slower than with FreeCommander, but I have to confirm it. I searched for files larger than 300 MB that were modified after 2009-07-10 (73 matches). – Peter Mortensen Mar 10 '10 at 19:59
The duration of subsequent searches was about 1 minute. But I think this was caused by caching by the RAM rich 64 bit version of Windows I tested it on. After a restart of the computer the search time was back to about 50 minutes. – Peter Mortensen Mar 11 '10 at 10:59
@Riduidel: is there some setting I can change to make it more efficient? I used the 2010 Beta version, 64 bit version. – Peter Mortensen Mar 11 '10 at 11:00
Well, I don't know, I must confess I never use it on such huge volumes. – Riduidel Mar 11 '10 at 16:51

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