Instant desktop search softwares are nothing new. In fact you are pampered for choice as far as local desktop search clients go. But the fact remains that almost all of them aren’t really instant search. Most of these tools take hours to index your computer, and build huge indexes before getting started. To make matters worse you need to have them running in the background to maintain an up-to-date index. Here are two desktop search tools that are able to almost instantaneously build their index (within a couple of minutes) and display results.
Everything is a lightning fast search tool. It doesn’t build an index from scratch. Instead it utilizes the data present in the Master File Table (MFT) in NTFS volumes. Unfortunately this means that it’s compatible only with NTFS filesystems, but this isn’t a huge deal breaker as most people use NTFS anyway. Everything took about 3 minutes to index my system the first time it was run and claims that it can index 1,000,000 in about 1 minute. Although you can have Everything running in the background it isn’t essential. Unlike traditional desktop search client Everything indexes only file and folder names and not the data contained by them (e.g. the text in a .txt file).
It supports wildcards and Boolean operators along with regex and has fairly advanced search syntax. Another plus is the context menu integration. This allows you to instantly view all the files present in the selected folder and subfolders and to search among them.
neoSearch was developed by Koshi John and in someways is similar to Everything. Although the website doesn’t explicitly mention the indexing methodology used by neoSearch, like Everything it was able to complete the detailed indexing procedure within 3 minutes. Although its not neccesary you can have neoSearch in background.In my testing I found that neoSearch used less than 3 MB ram (compared to 12+ MB used by Everything when running in background mode) – which is very impressive. Whenever you need to search for something you can bring up the quick search window (screenshot below) by pressing Alt+Space. neoSearch also doesn’t scan the data stored in a file but it does support ID3 tags. neoSearch misses out on the advanced search options provided by Everything but has a lighter memory footprint and a more professional appearance.
Both of these tools are able to index at a lightning speed and solve the problems associated with almost all standard desktop search software and are definitely worth a try. I am currently using Everything due to its more powerful search features. Don’t forget to share your thoughts on these new breed desktop search clients.