Over the years, I’ve watched the built-in search capability in Windows change and improve. Today, it’s inextricably intertwined with Cortana and isn’t half-bad. But half-bad isn’t good enough for me. I want a built-in search function that’s fast, lean, and easy to use and tweak to my satisfaction. That’s why I use voidtools’ (Search) Everything on all of my PCs. It is so fast at indexing that each time I fire it off for the first time on a PC, it’s normally finished by the time I’m ready to use it. Even better, it’s so fast at runtime that it normally finds what I’m looking for before I’m even finished typing my entire search string. Now, THAT’s fast!
Here’s how the product page at voidtools.com describes Everything, sans hyperbole and breathless hype:
Small installation file
Clean and simple user interface
Quick file indexing
Minimal resource usage
Share files with others easily
Best of all, every single claim is accurate and valid. Because I have over 16 TB of storage accessible to my production PC, I have LOTs of files to search. Everything does the job for me quickly, directly, and with little muss or fuss.
Working with Everything
Everything is free, and available for download from voidtools in 32- and 64-bit versions, either installable or in portable form. You need only download it and run it (the 64-bit installable download, which is what I use, is 1.41 MB in size). The program is well-enough architected that you can accept the installation defaults without worrying overmuch about leaving something in you don’t want, or leaving something out that you will want later on. Here’s a good example of the kind of thing I find Everything invaluable for:
If I type “win*.iso” into the search box, everything shows me all files whose name start with “win” (upper and lower case) and end with “.iso” — very handy when looking for certain kinds of files I work with often.
Everything not only recognizes all the wildcard and substitution characters familiar to most Windows users, it also provides Explorer-level access to items in its result list through right-click menus. In fact, for old programmers and Unix/Linux-heads, Everything also supports full-blown regular expressions (regex). That’s why I can open or mount the .iso file that Everything finds for me so nicely, simply by right-clicking the filename in the program, then selecting the appropriate menu entry. (Tip: if you right-click an .iso file in Explorer and you don’t get the Mount option in the resulting menu, if you click “Open with…” and then use Explorer itself to open the file, it will mount properly anyway.)
You can right-click files in Everything, and get the same options as in File Explorer. Here, I used “Open with…” and File Explorer to mount the selected ISO file.
[Click image to see full-sized view.]
voidtools is the website where programmer David Carpenter makes his software available, and where users can get together to ask questions and help each other out to make best use of those programs. Everything is a form of donationware, so Kari and I contributed US$10 to show our appreciation and respect. If you use this program, I hope you’ll make a modest donation to help Mr. Carpenter out, too. Thanks!
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.