Windows 7 Search operates based on the principle that the text you are finding for may be contained in either the file name itself, or its contents, or even both. Because of this, Windows Search generally needs to index files first in order to find them, which doesn’t give you the instant results you might need. Moreover, the Windows Indexing service hogs up a lot of resources and might impact system performance.
As an everyday user, you may not be looking for such advanced search functionality — perhaps you might just want the ability to search for the file name only and want your search results at a faster pace. This is where one simple free Windows app is going to help you.
Everything is a small download (under 1 MB), which is free and takes away the pain of finding files in Windows 7, Vista and XP. In essence, it just tracks the names of all files on your system and keeps a handy (yet minimal) database and searches from it. Results are next to realtime, and once you start using it regularly, you kind of get addicted to it. It makes Windows Search 7 times faster (so to speak). To give you an idea of this database’s size, the size on my desktop is merely 315 KB despite having more than a million files strewn across all my hard disks.
Find Files In Windows Search 7 Times Faster
Let’s get started with Everything.
- Download Everything, install and run the app.
- You’ll notice a small icon in the notification area, which you can use to run and find files in Windows. The basic configuration should be good enough for most users. However, we’ll cover some advanced settings below.
You’ll be presented with a search window and you may begin typing in your search query. Notice that the results are narrowed down almost instantly.
- Go to Tools > Options
- From the General tab, select “Start Everything on Startup”. Also, choose a keyboard shortcut for the app to invoke it quickly.
- In the Volumes tab, you can specify a location for the database so that you can keep it separate from the remaining configuration files. Also, in case there are some hard disk partitions you want to exclude because you don’t use them much, you can select those in this tab.
- Finally, the Exclude tab can be used to specify particular exclusions. You can add specific folders/file types to be excluded from your search results from here.
- Apart from these, there are further tabs that you might want to explore if you really end up falling in love with Everything like I did.
As a fairly regular user over Everything, I find that it is pretty much indispensable once it becomes a part of your regular workflow of searching in Windows 7, Vista and XP. Need to open an office document, quickly? Check! Can’t find those vacation photos? Check! Don’t remember the name of that playlist you saved somewhere? Check! Everything makes an easy task of all file searching and enables Windows to find files instantly, and it does it all in a very small package.