In real life (aka not digital life), my wife — and my mother — are the equivalent of desktop search. If I need to find something, a quick yell to either of the ladies usually results in Ashraf getting what he was searching for. (No, I don’t live in my parents’ basement… I have a room of my own, thank you very much.) Unfortunately, neither are very useful in finding stuff on my computer. (Fortunately? My porn collection is safe!) For digital searching needs, I tend to use Windows 7’s default search tool simply because it is conveniently placed in my Start Menu.
However, while Windows 7’s search tool is a significant improvement over the built-in search for earlier versions of Windows, it is still a bit slow. So if you want speed in finding files and folders and you don’t like any of the offerings we have mentioned in our review of best free desktop search tools, you may want to try the new kid on the block: FileSearchy.
WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO
FileSearchy is a file and folder search tool for your computer; it allows you to easily and quickly find files and folders.
Take note FileSearchy comes in two editions, Free ($0 for personal use only) and Pro ($24.95). The following table lists out the differences between Free and Pro:
- Supports searching by name, by directory location, by content (aka searching inside files of “plain text, office, PDF and other documents”), by modified date, and by file size
- Very fast — instant search results (but be sure to see Con list below for clarification)
- You can run multiple searches concurrently thanks to tabs
- You can search for mutliple different files in one search thanks to include/exclude filters
- Supports substring, whole word, regular expression, and case sensitive search queries
- Can add entry to right-click context menu
- Uses an index, which results in very fast search results and the index does not take very long to compile. And for those that hate indexes, you can turn off the index.
- You can select if you want to search all files and folders in your computer, only folders, only documents, only executables, only pictures, only music, or only videos
- You can filer search results by file type: doc, dot, pot, pps, ppt, url, xlb, xlc, xls, and xlt (Pro only)
- Keeps a history of previous search queries, for easy reuse
- Can be minimized to system tray, allowing you to easily recall the program whenever you need it (in fact, this is default behavior — you can disable this behavior from settings, if you wish)
- Supports indexing of internal and external drives
- Has Free (for personal use only) and Pro ($24.95) versions
- Searching by content (aka searching inside files) is not instant; in fact, it is relatively slow
- Needs admin rights if you want instant search results
- There appears to be no way to clear search history
- Does not support networked drives
- Only works with NTFS drives
- Doesn’t have a small floating widget or window for quick access — you have to open the main program window (or keep it open) to run searches
- You need to download Microsoft Office filters pack if you want “the best results when searching contents of Microsoft Office documents”. Although the file size of Microsoft Office filters pack is fairly small (less than 4 MB) and it is free, having to download it will annoy some people.
- Is not portable. I typically wouldn’t list not portable as a con for a program but when so many of FileSearchy’s competitors are portable, then not being portable is a con for the program.
Back in 2009 I came across a program called Everything. Everything is a free file and folder search tool and what impressed me about Everything was that it is extremely fast. And when I say extremely fast, I mean pretty much instant search results. FileSearchy provides similar search speeds. Unfortunately for FileSearchy, insane search speeds was a big thing… in 2009. In 2014, there are dozens upon dozens of free and paid desktop search tools that provide similarly instant search results. That is not to say FileSearchy is a bad program; it is a good program — I can’t fault the program for being new to the game. However, it does mean that what FileSearchy offers is something which is not too unique in today’s day and age.
But hang on a second. It looks like the developer of FileSearchy recognizes the fact that there are other very fast search tools out there, so the developer tried to stand out above the crowd by combining two features: a) making FileSearchy return fast results and b) supporting search of content inside files.
You see, most — if not all — of the superfast search tools like Everything only support search by file/folder name; searching inside files is left to the slower search tools because searching inside files, by nature, cannot return instant results. And unfortunately for FileSearchy, it doesn’t break the laws of physics.
The developer of FileSearchy states: “[FileSearchy] provides real-time search by file name. Unlike other search tools with instant file search, it also allows searching by content string, date and size.” Technically, this is true — FileSearchy does provide instant search results and it does support searching by content (searching inside files), date, and size. However, you get instant — or almost instant — search results when searching by name, date, and size but you do not get instant search results when searching by content — searching by content is the usual slow, aggravating task.
Of course, simply having the ability to search inside files as an added bonus to the ability to instantly search for files and folders by name has some value in and of itself, even if searching inside files isn’t instant. However, it is my duty to make it clear that searching inside files is not instant.
Conclusion And Download Link
Overall, FileSearchy is a good program… but it doesn’t provide anything groundbreakingly unique or new. The attraction to FileSearchy is it provides superfast search results when searching by file/folder name, date modified, or size plus has the ability to search inside files (even though search inside files isn’t very fast). If you need all that functionality packed into one desktop search tool, by all means get FileSearchy — it comes in both Free and Pro versions. However, if you already have desktop search tools that fulfill these roles or can live with having two separate desktop search programs — one that provides superfast search by name and one that offers the slower search by content — then FileSearchy doesn’t really offer anything to you.
So roll up your sleeves, bite down on your tongue, and make this gruelingly hard decision… while I go and have some cheese fries. And also be sure to read dotTech’s review on best free desktop search tool for Windows.
Price: Free (for personal use only), $24.95 — Pro
Version reviewed: 1.11
Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
Download size: 8.12 MB
VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/49
Is it portable? No