| By Ian “Gizmo” Richards |
For a piece of software to get onto my personal PCs, it must win a fierce Darwinian battle with the hundreds of other freeware programs I review each year.
Of all the software I looked at in the last year, only two utilities won the fight for survival, impressing me so much I installed them on all my office computers.
Fast search utility piggybacks on NTFS
There are dozens of utilities that allow you to find files quickly on your hard drive by searching on the file name. Most of these programs share a common weakness: they create large index files that eat up your hard disk space. Worse, the maintenance of these big index files can slow down your PC.
The Everything file-search program doesn’t suffer this problem. The index files that Everything creates are very small — just a few megabytes. Furthermore, the program updates these indexes so quickly you won’t even notice it. Yet this doesn’t affect Everything’s search performance. The tool can find a file anywhere on your drive nearly instantaneously.
Everything achieves this near-miracle by employing a clever trick. Rather than building totally self-contained search indexes from scratch, it leverages the information already contained within the NT file system (NTFS).
The results are spectacular. Everything can index a fresh install of Windows XP SP2 (about 20,000 files) in about one second. Yet the index files it creates are a tiny 3MB to 5MB.
Blink and you’ll miss seeing it work
In a fraction of a second, Everything can locate any file or folder anywhere on your PC, including attached USB drives. On startup, Everything updates its indexes automatically and displays all files and folders on your PC. The updating is so quick, you won’t even notice it.