[Windows] UltraSearch is a very fast desktop search program — and it uses no index

us1Third-party file location software (aka desktop search programs) is not a new concept. Most users have their favorites already. For example, many dotTechies prefer Everything, the desktop search program featured by dotTech as the best free desktop search program. However, UltraSearch may be a serious contender. Let’s see if it’s worth switching to UltraSearch.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

UltraSearch is a file searching (desktop search) program for Windows. UltraSearch allows you to easily locate files and folders on your computer.

Pros

  • The file searching process is very fast
  • Does not use an index to find files (instead uses the Master File Table on Windows)
  • Supports patterns like *.extension to find all files with that file extension on the drive you searched
  • Can exclude certain folders or file types in search
  • Searches can be exported to several different types of files (e.g RTF, HTML, CSV or Excel file)
  • Can be accessed from within Windows Explorer vis-a-vis entry in right-click context menu
  • Search queries will be listed with a timestamp along with how large the file is (e.g last modified etc)
  • Has a portable version

Cons

  • Obnoxious banner in the top right hand corner advertises to the user about downloading other software by this developer
  • Works for local drives only — no networked support
  • Does not search the content of files

Discussion

us2UltraSearch is a pretty straightforward program. You want to find a particular file? You type it in. It’s that simple. Now, obviously the Windows software market isn’t running low on 3rd party programs that can search your drives for files. However, it isn’t necessarily a terrible thing to have variety. Besides, variety is the best part about being on such a widely used operating system. If one developer decides to call it quits, you have more to choose from.

A lot of dotTechies have stated in the past that they’re big fans of a program called Everything. While I agree that Everything is a wonderful program, I also think that UltraSearch can be just as useful (or potentially more depending on who you happen to be). I found UltraSearch to be a satisfactory searching program. Nothing really blew me away as much as the fact that the program was very, very fast… without using an index. Impressive.

As far as my favorite features go, the file pattern searching is very much appreciated. I love the fact that I can use it to filter my searches. It made everything a little bit more handy when my searching was relying on specific file types. Another plus that UltraSearch has is that there’s a portable version that you can download instead of the installer. That can always come in handy if you’re the type of person that likes to move around to different machines.

There weren’t too many criticisms that I can think of, but I do have one major one. I hate it when programs integrate some sort of advertising inside their applications. It’s so obscene and it’s not necessary. I don’t know why so many Windows developers find it so hard to advertise any other way. If you have another program that you really want to advertise, and you’re a well respected developer, the users will come to you. They’ll see that you’ve made really good tools, and if they want to see more of your work, they will find it. Trust me. You don’t need to cloud your user interface with what is essentially a banner ad. It’s just not necessary.

Overall, UltraSearch is a pretty decent program, but not one that I’m comfortable using in place of what I currently use on Windows. UltraSearch is well put together, very fast, packed full of features and deserves a look or two. This is a program that many people will find useful, and if I was in the market for a new searching program, I’d put this into serious consideration.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

If you’re not happy with other file location programs for Windows, you should give UltraSearch a shot. It has some very interesting features, it’s very simple but very powerful and fast. Who knows, UltraSearch could quickly turn into your go-to file searching program (no pun intended).

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.71

Supported OS: XP/Vista/7/8

Download size: 3.16 MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46

Is it portable? Yes

UltraSearch homepage

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13 comments

  1. RobCr

    Derrick,
    A few time I have asked Ashraf to disclose his preferences (what he uses). Often it is like ‘pulling teeth’ trying to get such info.
    You said -
    “Overall, UltraSearch is a pretty decent program, but not one that I’m comfortable using in place of what I currently use on Windows”
    Dare I ask what you currently use ?

  2. Netpilot

    [@Ashraf] [@Frank] If I’m not mistaken, Everything maintains several indexes, but only to facilitate adding records from the USN: File Name, Date Recently Changed, Folder FRN, Folder Generation, and Run Frequency. Sorting on any of these columns is literally instantaneous.

    If you sort a large result by Path or Extension, Everything briefly displays ‘Sorting…’ in the lower left. I suspect that it is reading the MFT when displaying ‘Sorting…’.

    If you sort on any of the remaining columns, Everything pops up a window warning that gathering and sorting data cold take several minutes. Hence, no indexes appear to be maintained for the Size, Type, Attributes, and the three regular Date fields.

  3. Frank

    [@Ashraf] well, there might be a tiny difference in using no index and no *own* index. No index is what you had built into Win95-early XP*s (before MS desktop search and content indexing) where it took ages to search through a drive. Compare that to Everything ;)

    * I might be wrong about that and that kind of search was improved in XP already

  4. Frank

    [@jipy] well, jipy, what do you think the MFT is? A database (index) that is updated ‘free of cost’ (as its been updated anyway by the OS). Unfortunately that index only contains file properties, not file content. Which is the only and hugest weakness of those programs like Everything. On the other hand (using meaningful names) I use file content search 3-4 times a year, Everything almost daily.

  5. Netpilot

    A ‘hidden’ feature of Everything (I’ve got v1.2.1.451a) – Right-click on the column headers and add the Date Recently Changed column. Click on that column to sort by date descending and you’ve got real-time monitoring of the USN journal; files and folders whose attributes have just changed (size, attributes, or any of the date fields.).

    Try that with any search program that doesn’t use an index.

  6. Frank

    [@jimbo] yeah, “New: Directory Opus find-as-you-type support. Latest beta version of Directory Opus is required.”
    So you just need to spend 49$ (should DO light be enough) or 89$ to be as fast as Everything is for free.
    Seems like an excellent idea (for dopus).

  7. jimbo

    [@Ed]
    In the Listary Beta you can access any file using a search box (is fast like Everything). Can be used in relation to
    1) a File opening context
    2) a file search in “Explorer”
    3) in ANY app!
    Really very impressive – the develeper is on steroids just now.

  8. Ed

    “…search is being taken to a new level by the new beta version Listary by having search much more readily to hand – “built-in search”..”

    Could you explain this a bit more? I don’t understand what you have written. Are you saying that Windows Search is being taken to a new level? How? When? beta Library? in Windows?, what is “built in search”, Windows?

    Thanks.