Conduct extremely fast searches of your files with “Everything”.

2009-02-27_021756Windows 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.

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  • DoktorThomas

    @Gary: But Copernic uses a lot of power to run and is not free (or requires a substantial ad area on your desktop). If you can find 2.0, it was one of their better versions. Also there is that up-date reminder every time the program is opened. Left me with a general dislike of the company, so I’ll never purchase their software…

    Why can’t MSFT get it right?

  • seva

    @Jim: the only problem with goog desktop is it has a memory leak.

  • Brian



    >>If you don’t want “Everything” running in the background, then just ‘left click’ on the “Everything” Icon in the notification area!<<

    Your method (on Win 7): 1) click on icon to open the notification area, 2) locate the everything icon, 3) left click on the icon, 4) click on the exit menu item. About 5 seconds on a good day.

    My method: 1) click on the desktop shortcut which calls taskill. Total time: about 1 second.

    The taskill method is for lazy people like me who don't want to spend all day clicking on things. No overkill there for us! :-)

  • jayesstee

    @Brian: If you don’t want “Everything” running in the background, then just ‘left click’ on the “Everything” Icon in the notification area!
    To kill programs not shown in the notification area I use Windows Task Manager. Is TaskKill is overkill?

  • Tenderfoot

    Actually, I have used this program (Search Everything) very successfully for a number of years… It’s great.

    You can configure it to only search specific drives, and you can also tell it NOT to load at windows startup. (Faster windows startup)

    When you fire it up, it immediately indexes the drives you have designated, (this takes a few seconds) and then you can begin searching. Results appear nearly INSTANTLY as you type what your looking for. When your done, simply exit the program. you can also right click the icon in the task bar by the clock and exit the entire application which then releases the memory back to your PC.


  • mukhi

    this should actually be dottech favorite indeed. OSX guys are always proud of the mac search tool, and now, we got a really good free one for good old xp. works like a charm.
    two thumbs up Ashraf!

  • Brian

    Everything is one of the best things since sliced bread, IMO. However, I don’t need it running perpetually in the background since I only do that type of search every few days. I mention this because when you click on Exit, the program stays in memory. In order to completely close it, I had to make a desktop shortcut using TaskKill: C:\Windows\System32\taskkill.exe /IM everything.exe /T /F

  • Jim

    Google Desktop finds what you are looking for.

  • hyperman

    Awesome! Love it!

  • RobCr

    How would you like a program that is so good that you will never use Windows Explorer again ?
    And has a built in search capability, that searches the contents of files, AND DOES NOT BUILD AN INDEX

    There was an older version of XYPlorer which was free and was called XYPlorerFree
    It is free.
    You can change the font and size.
    You can change the colors (eg I have the whole selected line in a special color).
    It has Tabs.
    I have a Tab locked to a Folder called Downloads.
    All my downloads go into that folder.
    I have it(just that Tab) sorted by Date, so most recent are at the top.
    So say I was on a web page, describing a program.
    I can save the web page, and then click the download link.
    Later when I go to that Tab, the two files will be adjacent to each other, and I can move them to where I choose.
    And if you had the focus (in your normal tab), on the folder where you wish to move them, you can just drag them to the normal folder’s Tab.

    For searches –
    – IT DOES NOT BUILD A PRE-INDEX (I hate indexing).
    – It is very fast.
    When you wish to do a search, you press F12
    A panel appears at the bottom, defaulting to where you had the focus in the File Manger.
    You set the file names eg *.txt
    You set the contained words you are looking for, and start the search. It is a much simpler interface than the Windows one.
    You can filter on lots of other criteria.

    As I mentioned it is an older version, and is not readily availble.
    I have found a couple of sites that still list it –
    Even though it is older, it still works great.
    Since it does not require installing, it might even work in Vista and Win 7 ?

  • RobCr

    I have downloaded the latest free version .
    I notice a lot of flak out there, by users perturbed by the latest version automatically(by offer) upgrading, and they lost some features.
    Apparently ver 2.3 Build 30 was the last with those extra features.
    Which version are you using ?

    The lost features do not worry me, but I am curious as to which version would be the kindest to an oldish PC ?

  • Stephen Cohen

    Does Everything do anything that Search GT can’t do?

  • This is definitely the best free search software available. SearchGT is a bit faster, but it costs money.

  • RaV

    I’m using Agent Ransack and it’s great.

  • majisterludi

    Great find. Thanks for the Tip Ashraff. Everything is incredibly quick and finds what I am looking for.


  • Jean,

    The second paragraph in my article links to Window’s Search :)
    And as far as I know, it is basically the same thing as Vista’s search.

    Also, you can disable indexing on Vista:

    To disable Windows indexing:

    1. Click Start, then computer;
    2. Right click on Local Disk ‘C:’
    3. Left click on Properties;
    4. Uncheck ‘Index this Drive for Faster Searching’;
    5. Let it complete and select ‘Include subfolders and files’ in any subsequent dialog box

    From here we will go one step further and turn off Windows Search in your services

    1. Click on start/run and type in ‘MSConfig’ and hit ok
    2. Click on Services tab and find Windows Search
    3. Uncheck/Apply and Ok, you’re done!!!

    You can find more simple Vista tweaks at the guide posted by flamenko at Notebookreview.

  • Vista’s search is too crashy.
    Just look @ my brother’s event log.
    It’d be great if you could disable indexing on V’s search.
    BTW, did you know about Windows Search 4.0 for Windows?
    It’s like V’s search, but not on the start menu, and it doesn’t use billions of MB of RAM (my laptop has 1 GB, so I need light-on-the-resources stuff), and it too is indexed.
    I ? it.

  • reghakr


    That is by far the best standalone program that I’ve ever used.

    I downloaded this program from Everything about 2 days ago and didn’t install it until you recommended it.

    Thank You


  • Gary

    I personally like / prefer

    Very very fast.