Searching for a particular folder or file on a PC can be a real pain — especially when you run up against Windows’ built-in search limitations.
If you’re looking for more comprehensive search capabilities, two third-party apps can help.
There’s an art to successfully using Windows 7’s built-in search engine — a skill that many of us never master. If what you’re looking for isn’t relatively simple, Win7’s search might turn up many more results than is helpful — or it might not turn up anything at all.
Search gets only more complicated in Windows 8 — primarily because, by default, Win8 searches include Bing. So you get not only local results, you also get a plethora of results from the Web.
Some online sources, listed below, can help fine-tune Windows’ built-in searches.
- “Advanced tips for searching in Windows” – Microsoft how-to
- “Open the Search and Indexing troubleshooter” – Microsoft how-to
- “Windows 7 | 8 Search indexer tips” – The WindowsClub site
- “How to fix PDF search in Windows 7 and Windows 8 64-bit” – DocumentSnap page
But as is so often the case, third-party tools give more options and capabilities. The two reviewed below are Copernic Desktop Search and Agent Ransack. The former is a powerful, paid search tool; the latter is free and fast. There are, of course, third-party search tools such as Everything Search Engine and FileSeek. Locate32 was once a popular choice, but it doesn’t look like it’s been upgraded for a couple of years.
Copernic Desktop Search: Fast and easy searches
Copernic (site) supports all versions of Windows from XP on. You can download a free version that’s limited to 75,000 files or purchase the full edition for U.S. $50.