Windows comes in with a built in search feature, in both XP and Vista. The search feature in Vista is, by all standards, far supperior to the one in XP; however you can always download Windows Search  and get the same search tool available to Vista users on your XP machine. The only problem with Windows search is that 1) it is slow and 2) indexing can cause slowdowns on some of the older machines. Today I am here to introduce you to lightweight and lightning fast solution, aka “Everything” search engine:
I was first introduced to “Everything” in January when I was looking for free alternatives to Valix NetSearch . “Everything” is a lightweight application that can search your computer at lightening fast speeds. “Everything” index is independent of your Windows index so you can even turn off Windows indexing after you install this program if you wish.
When you first “Everything” it creates an index of the files on your computer. Whenever you run “Everything” after that, the index is updated. According to the developer, “A fresh install of Windows XP SP2 (about 20,000 files) will take about 1 second to index. 1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute.” My personal experience is that it took ~5 seconds to index ~140,000 files on my Vista Home Premium machine. Yes five seconds – I kid you not. After your files are indexed, just type in what you want to search for in the text box located under the file menu and you will get your results almost instantaneously. The above screenshot you see is before the indexing occurred. This is what the program will look like after the indexing has occurred:
With all my files indexed, “Everything” only uses ~9.5MB of RAM while sitting idle and hardly increases when performing a search. CPU usage fluctuates but the highest I saw it was at 9% during a search. Also worth noting that the total installation size of “Everything” under Program Files for me is 1.5MB (the more/less files you have on your computer the more/less the size of this folder will be since it contains the database).
What “Everything” can do:
- Search the file and folder names on your computer.
- Index your computer very quickly.
- Use boolean operators, wildcards or regex in search queries to filter your searches.
- Case and word match the search results.
- Allow remote access to your computer for searching purposes.
What “Everything” can’t do:
- Search network drives.
- Search drives that are not NTFS format (“Everything” only works with NTFS drives).
- Search the contents of files.
- Help you get a date (or can it?).
All things considered, “Everything” is a great application.
For more information on “Everything”, including supported regex commands, you can read up on the FAQ . If you are ready to download “Everything”, you can access the download from the developer’s website  or click here  for a direct download link.