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Searching Windows.

Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:49 PM (#1) User is offline   James (Jim) Hillier 

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    The native Windows Search feature seems to change dramatically with the advent of each new operating system. The Search feature in XP is highly customizable and flexible but extremely slow. Don’t know about you but I do not have the patience to sit around waiting for up to 10 and 15 minutes for a search to complete. The Search in XP is also renowned for its habit of occasionally missing files.

    Next came Vista and this time, amazingly, Microsoft got it right! The much maligned Vista may not have a lot going for it in many peoples’ eyes but there is no doubting the Search feature in Vista is excellent; fully customizable, very flexible and extremely quick.

    Now we have Windows 7 and Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, decided to change it yet again. Why they would deem it necessary to fix something which was near perfection (in Vista) and present us with the underachieving Search feature that is now part of Windows 7 is totally beyond me!

    So, many among us seek out third party freeware ‘Search’ alternatives and there is some good news on that front: Software developer Mythicsoft has finally released a new version of the very good and popular search program Agent Ransack. The program had not been upgraded for almost a decade so it is indeed a welcome event.

    The new version offers a much improved user interface plus adds the ability to search inside PDF and Microsoft Office files. Boolean expressions are now supported as well as regular expressions and a 64 bit version is also available.

    Please Note: Agent Ransack is now also available under the name File Locator Lite (the programs are identical).

    Agent Ransack/File Locator Lite does not utilize indexes and because it scans sequentially, files and folders plus file content too, it is a tad slower than those products which do employ an indexing system. On the other hand, because building and maintaining indexes is not required, it is much lighter on resources.

    That said, Agent Ransack/File Locator Lite is remarkably fast for a sequential search program, certainly much faster than the unindexed version of Windows Search in XP. Performing a search for a file name on my main drive completed in just 23 seconds (76,000+ files). When searching PDF’s for a specific phrase it located and searched all my saved (36) PDF files in less than one minute, displaying the location of the search term within the PDF file... highly recommended!!

    If you are looking for something to search only files and folders by name you can’t go past the terrific freeware program Everything Search. Everything involves virtually zero indexing overhead and does not search content but it is, consequently, lightening fast. A portable version is also available.
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