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Windows Search Alternative – Free Utility

Post image for Windows Search Alternative – Free Utility

by Steve Wiseman on December 9, 2010 · 4 comments

in Tips,Tools,Utility,Windows


Since Microsoft broke Windows Search in Windows XP SP2, I have been looking for a simple alternative. I just want something that can search everything. I hate the fact that Microsoft insists on skipping over files that it thinks are not important, or might be too scary for me to look at.

These days I end up using the search built into Visual Studio while I am writing code for our products. This is mostly because I still have not found a search utility that fits these requirements:

-Does not require an install. Just a simple exe I can drop on a USB drive, or network share

-Is simple enough to handle an easy text search, and complicated enough for me to search by date

-Does not take up a huge amount of CPU time.

By accident I found one that fits all three. It is called SearchMyFiles.

You can get it as a free download from here:

It is a simple download. Just one exe file. You can put it on a flash drive, or network share. Double click and you get a ton of options to find the file you are looking for:

Click on “Start Search” and it starts zooming through your hard drive for the files.

Even better, it can handle multiple search queries at the same time.

This is an awesome little utility. I highly recommend it.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 X December 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

1. Please remove the / at the end of the link
2. Too bad it doesn’t integrate into Explorer. You can’t even pass the current folder as parameter.

2 Steve Wiseman December 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for the comment. I thought I had fixed the article, but alas – the bad links was still there.

It is now fixed.

I just got a bunch of different suggestions on alternatives…I bet one of them does what you want….I will collect and publish in another article.



3 Stu March 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I use “Everything Search”. Stands alone, instant results (really), no indexing because it reads the MFT directly (also makes it always current), and it’s free. The only negatives are that it requires admin rights since it looks directly at the MFT, and WinServer 2008 doesn’t like it.

On my Win2008 server I use UltraSearch. many of the same benefits of Everything Search, and also free.

Many thanks for your excellent utilities and helpful site. Your Daylight Savings proggie saved me a lot of misery – a lot.

Warmest regards,

4 Tim March 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

We’re still using XP on our systems here; I find that this register entry simply brings back the ‘classic search’

Classic Search:

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Desktop Search\DS
Value: “ShowStartSearchBand”= 0 (Enable Windows Search), 1 (Enable Classic Search)

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