The best free desktop search program

Desktop search has transformed the way we use our computers. Gone are the days of carefully filing everything away in hierarchically arranged folders. Today, with desktop search you can quickly find anything on your computer, regardless where it is located.

This is particularly true of email. I have over 10,000 emails stored in my PC, all located in a single folder, yet with my desktop search program I can find an individual email in seconds. That’s why email search has become the single most important application for desktop search.

Indeed the ability to quickly locate email is THE most important attribute of a desktop search program. Sure, it’s nice to find program files, images, mp3s and contacts on your PC quickly but all this is for naught if you can’t find a wanted email quickly.

I’ve tried all the major free desktop search programs and while they are uniformly excellent in searching, I found big differences in the way email search results were presented. It’s all a question of format. Some formats facilitate the task of quickly scanning your eye over the results list while others made it hard.

In the end I rejected all the free desktop search program and settled instead on a commercial desktop search utility. I didn’t shell out $99 for this lightly. I did it because it gave me what I wanted without a lot of features that I didn’t want.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2006-07-20: