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Windows filename search replacement: Everything

Posted by jpluimers on 2010/09/13

When searching for files, I almost exclusively search for filenames.
This becomes easier when naming files carefully (like “20100525 – PSO – KONING en HARTMAN – Windows Embedded Standard 7 Seminar – WES7.pdf”, “The Delphi Developers Guide to”, “20090226-Jeroen-Pluimers-BASTA-Shoot-M-Up” or “bo.Windows.Forms.SendPololuCommands.csproj”).
I know those filenames are long, and sometimes you bump into tools that suffer from MAX_PATH pathname length issues, but most built-in Windows functionality is OK with this, and the quality tools are too.

Finding files that I know is crucial for me, regardless of the file attributes (hidden, system, et cetera) or filename extension.

Up until Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the built-in Explorer Search would just adhere to the Explorer settings for hidden and system files.

If you enabled those, you could find any filename you typed (except for .lnk, .pif and a few other extensions).

Not so with the “indexed” search options in Windows Search (the only search option in recent Windows versions): besides being resource hogs, they not only skip hidden and system files, but leave out a lot of file extensions.
The settings don’t help much to solve this.

In short: I cannot rely on those “indexed” searches to find filenames that I know exist.
And I’m not the only one having this problem.

Recently, Felix Hünteler pointed me to a tool that solves this: Everything.

That name covers it well: it indexes everything that is stored on your local NTFS volumes.
But since it indexes only filenames, it is very resource friendly.

In addition to local NTFS volumes, you can also search remote NTFS volumes by installing Everything on the remote machine and have it serve the search results as an ETP server.

I know that Everything won’t search the file contents (and also know that Explorer Search and the indexed search tools don’t search all content of all file types).
I’m only after filenames, so that is pretty OK with me.

I’ve been running Everything a couple of months now, even indexing my Windows 2003 storage server (which has backups of a truckload of stuff – totaling close to 8 terabytes).
Everything works great, hence my answer on the question mentioned above.


via: Everything FAQ.

3 Responses to “Windows filename search replacement: Everything”

  1. […] than 4 years ago, I wrote about the Windows filename search replacement: Everything. Since then, Everything has even gotten better: though the “stable” 1.2 version dates […]

  2. I love Everything and use it about 30 times a day. It is so fast that I use it as my “normal” way to open files.

    Huge productivity saver. Can’t say enough about this great tool.

    • jpluimers said

      The more I use it, the more I love it.
      It is blazingly fast, even on my RAID machine that has a zillion files on it.

      A lot of windows extensions integrate in Windows Explorer and bloat it with rarely used context-menu entries, spuriously locked files and frequent explorer crashes.
      None of those with Everything.
      It works the opposite way: it just incorporates the same context menu as explorer does (so explorer plugins beware: Explorer might not be the only host using you!).

      I only found one glitch: when selecting two files in Everything, and using the context menu to perform a Beyond Compare, Beyond Compare thinks there are no differences.
      From Explorer that works always.

      Simple work around:
      1. Select first file
      2. Right click and select it as a Beyond Compare target
      3. Select second file
      4. Right click and perform the Beyond Compare comparison


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