How clean and organised is your hard drive? For some, finding the right file and folder is a breeze due to their file management practices. For others, however, it can be a little trickier! Even if you’re incredibly neat with your files and folders, you can have the odd moment where a file seems to “vanish” from where it’s meant to be. In these cases search tools can be useful for finding out where it went.
Windows 10 does come with its own search tool, so you can use it to find what you want. However, there are third party options developed to be more efficient than this default search option. Sometimes they give you more search options, sometimes they add more functionality to your searches, and sometimes they’re just plain faster.
Whatever your searching needs are, here are five search tools you can use to hunt for files on your Windows 10 machine.
Starting off with one of the most highly recommended search tools available, Everything is a powerful choice. Its name derives from the fact that it displays every file and folder on your PC – hence, “Everything.” So what is Everything like to use?
Everything can be installed and used on any Windows machine from XP to 10. When you first boot it, it goes through your files and folders and indexes them. The developers behind Everything state that this is a fast process.
“A fresh install of Windows 10 (about 70,000 files) will take about 1 second to index. 1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute.”
Once done, you can then use Everything to search all your files and folders. The main boon of Everything over Window’s own search is that it works instantaneously; the files that match your search are shown the moment you type each letter. This means less time waiting for the search function to trawl through your files and folders and more time getting what you want. It’s also incredibly light, with an index of one million files taking up only 50MB of RAM and 15MB of hard drive space.
Sometimes, however, you want your search engine to be quick and easy to access. This is the strong point for Listary, which works hand-in-hand with Windows Explorer. If you want to find a specific file, simply go to the folder it’s contained in (or its folder’s folder, or it’s folder’s folder’s folder…) and type the name of the file you’re looking for. No need to open any windows or boot up any software: just start typing wherever you are in Explorer, and it’ll hunt for the files that match it.
It also comes with some nice features to enhance your search. You can scroll over the results of the search, and Listary will automatically jump to each file’s location in the folder. Once you’ve found the file, press “Ctrl + O” to select from basic options to perform on the file, such as copying or moving it to the current folder you’re in. Press “Ctrl” in this search bar to make it span the entire computer, while also including software links for the quick opening of software.
Search My Files
But perhaps what you don’t want primarily in a search engine is ease of use. Perhaps you’d like something a little more advanced that can handle really specific and intricate searches. Maybe you want to search how big the file is, when the file was created, and if it’s marked as read only or not. Basic search engines can’t really handle such specific searches; this is where Search My Files comes in.
It may not look particularly flashy, but it can definitely get the job done for those looking for very precise and targeted search terms. It supports every Windows OS from 2000 all the way to 10 and prides itself in its ability to perform complex searches. Even better, once the search has finished, you can export the results to a document or your clipboard for easy sharing, if need be.
Launchy is an interesting piece of software, as it’s useful even if you know where everything in your computer is. At its base, Launchy allows you to launch and run software at any time; all you need to do is press the Launchy hotkey and enter the software’s name. It works best when locating and running software where you can’t quite remember where it was installed. On top of that, it can also be used for a faster alternative than even mouse clicking. Should you find yourself buried in windows and can’t get to the desktop, a quick Launchy search will pull up what you need without having to wade through windows or the Start menu.
Auslogics Duplicate File Finder
The above are all well and good if you’re trying to find specific files, folders, or software. But what if you’re trying to find duplicates of a file to help clean up your system? Even better, what if you’re trying to find duplicate files which may have different names? This is a tricky problem to solve, one that Auslogics Duplicate File Finder sets out to fix.
As you can probably guess, this search engine doesn’t just look at the filenames and report duplicates. After all, it’s possible for two identically named files to contain completely different contents, which wouldn’t be a case of duplication. This search engine goes deeper, making sure that two files are actually duplicates before presenting them to you for deletion. Even better, Auslogics can find two duplicate files with different filenames from one another, making it even more powerful.
On The Hunt
So, there you have it: a few tools to find what you’re looking for, one to help you launch programs easier, and even one for finding duplicates on your system. Hopefully these tools should cover your needs as a computer user so you can quickly find what you need. That being said, there are all kinds of search tools out there that perform searches in their own unique way. If you have a favourite that fills a particular niche, let us know below.