Some things about Windows certainly bother me. Don't get me wrong. I like it—Windows does most things well. But something that does irritate me is the Windows search function. It's... lacking.
Have you ever gone to search for something and Windows just couldn't find it? Yeah, me too. Now, have you ever tried to find something that you knew was in your computer and Windows still couldn't find it? Yeah, me too.
There Is A Better Way To Search
Everything by Voidtools. It's lightning fast, easier to use than Windows' search, indexes your files quickly, and updates in real time. In other words, you'll always be able to quickly search through all the files on your computer.
The program itself also loads quickly, doesn't slow your computer down, and takes up a tiny amount of space. Plus it has convenient advanced search options for when you want more customized results. It finds exactly what you're looking for—saving you time and trouble.
Getting started is straightforward. As long as it's already running, go to your hidden icons—the white triangle/arrow in the bottom right corner of Windows—and double click the Everything magnifying glass icon. This summons the search window that looks like this:
It returns any matches as you type. When I say it's lightning fast I mean it's like, really fast. You'll see. But Everything has more to offer.
Find Exactly What You're Looking For
The regular search works well, but sometimes you get multiple pages of results. Or maybe you don't remember the file name, but you do remember the file type and some of the letters it contained. Everything can handle that.
Operators are modifiers that you can include in your search text to get more specific results. Here are the most useful operators and their explanations:
- OR - | - If I type " .mp3 | .aac " Everything will find any files that are MP3s or AAC files (two common types of music file)
- AND - The AND operator is just a space in this case. If you type "fishing saltwater" it finds any filenames that mention both fishing and saltwater.
- NOT - ! - This ensures that a search does not include something. "fishing !saltwater" finds any filenames that mention fishing, but not if they also mention saltwater.
- Wildcard - * - The wildcard—an asterisk—replaces a section of text. " fishing*saltwater " will find any files that mention fishing and are followed at any point by "saltwater."
- Exact Match - " " - Using quotes around your criteria will only find files that match exactly—which means that you can include searches that have a space ("Fishing Article")
With File Types
You can also limit your search to a certain type of file. You can choose between audio, compressed files (e.g. .zip files), documents, executables (programs), folders, pictures, and videos so that Everything only selects the types of files you need.
Everything makes this easy. Select the search menu at the top of the window and then choose a file type at the bottom of the list. This instantly filters your search to match.
With Advanced Searches
Advanced search makes it effortless to apply all the methods we've discussed—put together with a simple form. To get to the Advanced search window, go to the search menu at the top of the window and select 'Advanced Search'
'All these words' is equal to AND; 'This exact phrase' is the same as exact match (quotations); 'Any of these words' equals OR; and 'None of these words' corresponds to ! (NOT).
By Saving Searches
Do you look for the same things over and over? Or maybe you created an advanced search that has found all you desire? Everything allows you to create a reusable search. Simply add a "bookmark" and your set to run it over and over again.
To do this, select the bookmarks menu at the top of the window and then click 'Add to Bookmarks' (or press CTRL+D on your keyboard). This opens a window that asks you to name your bookmark and allows you to change search options. Saved searches are found on the bottom of the bookmarks menu.
There are several more search options. If you want to learn more look at the Voidtools support page under the searching section, found here.
There are two ways to get Everything up and running: a normal installation, or a portable version that comes in a zip file. They are nearly identical, except that the portable one can run from a flash drive—meaning you could easily transfer it to another computer and run it.
You can find the download page here. The options are 'Download Installer
' and 'Download Portable.' You must also choose between the 64-bit version and the 32-bit version (If your unsure, choose the 64 bit version first. If that doesn't run, the 32-bit version will).
I don't think I've covered even half of what Everything offers. I tried to pick the most useful features but I'm sure there's more Everything can do that I'm not aware of. Luckily, Voidtools has great documentation. If you do want to learn more, look to the support page.
I hope you find Everything useful. Since I discovered the search tool, I've used it nearly every day. It's saved me more time and trouble than I know—Everything is ridiculously fast, has every search option you could need, and all of this is completely free. Just download it already.