Windows search is nowhere near as good as it could be. How nice would it be to find the right content directly on the PC as quickly and reliably as with Google? With these free tools it works.
Windows is not perfect. Example search: This is a permanent construction site, but despite many changes, the bottom line is not a really good result, at least the Windows search does not manage to work as precisely as the Google web search.
Searched files and folders often appear delayed or not at all because the indexer in the background is too slow or simply does not capture everything. Anomalies also spoil the fun – if you type in three letters, the right program is found, if you type in the fourth letter, it disappears or unexpectedly slips down in the search results ranking.
But you don’t have to stick to the Windows search, there are plenty of alternatives. We present these to you here.
Give Windows Search a chance
Before moving on to the alternatives to the Windows search, you should try the built-in search. As I said, Microsoft tinkers with it a lot and it is worth trying the search with the latest Windows version. You can get it through him Windows 10 Update Assistant. Even if many users are not satisfied with the Windows search, it doesn’t have to be the same for you. What is cool, for example: You tap the Windows key once and then immediately type in a search term. This type of integration alone is great.
You can use the Windows search in this way to start programs, for example, or to search for specific documents. The Windows search also brings settings to light or you issue command line commands. Whatever you’re looking for frequently, give Windows Search a try. If it does your job well with you, stick with the on-board resources for the time being.
It is also important that you can specifically set what the search index should record. So if Windows can’t find what you’re looking for, the preset search mode may be inappropriate. You can set the setting “Advanced” in the settings under “Search Windows”, then the entire PC will be searched. If the Windows search still fails, you can continue to the alternatives. You can also use it in a relaxed manner parallel to the Windows search, so the best for every purpose.
For the fast: Everything, the instant search
Many users do not want to start programs via the search or fire command line commands, they are more concerned with the very simple search for files and folders. The most popular tool from this category is Everything. You don’t have to know a lot, you type in the search term and the tool goes off and shows “everything” for the entered search term.
For Everything users, the trick is now to skillfully narrow down the abundance of results with filters so that in the end what you were looking for comes out. Everything pleases mainly because of the speed, but users can also be overwhelmed by the abundance of results. It is worthwhile to briefly familiarize yourself with the possibilities here.
Everything can even search for file contents, but since there is no index this function is very slow. Nice plus: You can even browse network drives with Everything.
Search support in Explorer
You can search in different places in Windows. What is of course useful when researching files and folders is to search in Explorer. The tool takes a different approach than Everything Listary. The little program hooks into the Windows file explorer and offers search support there. You don’t even have to start Listary, just type in the search term in an open Explorer window.
Similar to Everything and unlike the Explorer search, Listary works quickly and requires few resources, which many users like. But here, too, there are usually a lot of search hits. Via the shortcut [STRG] + [O] you can open an action menu, for example to unpack zip folders or to copy files.
Search with many setting options
Not every search can be done with a simple term. If you want to make more complex search queries, a tool like SearchMyFiles. You can set extensive placeholders and exclusions in the interface, control the search for file size and include the creation date. So if you want to pull out all the photos that you have edited in the last month, you can do that with SearchMyFiles.
Spotlight clone from macOS: Fluent Search
Spotlight from macOS is often cited as a model for searching. In fact, Apple is doing a good job here. A shortcut is used to call up the search, which then appears as an input line on the screen. When you type in, Spotlight will find entries and you can preview them. It is not unimportant that Spotlight also looks visually appealing.
With Fluent Search there is a free program that retrofits a kind of Spotlight clone on Windows. The main shortcut is [WIN] + [Y]that opens the search box. Otherwise just type in the search term and off you go. Fluent Search does not have its own index, but uses other tools, such as Windows search or Everythingif that is installed. The classic file search is not necessarily in the foreground, rather the tool helps you to find your way around many open windows or browser tabs.
Special search for duplicates
An often asked task that Windows fails at is the simple search for duplicates. Duplicate files or folders are not that uncommon, often the result of unsuccessful copying operations, for example. There are some specialty tools that will take care of what is most popular AllDup.
The procedure of the program is simple, you choose where you want to search for duplicates, adjust the search parameters and let the software do its job. This is also pretty fixed, although larger databases of course also take longer to crawl. A tip for everyone who wants to free up space on a hard drive or SSD.
Start programs quickly
A classic desktop search is actually the search for files and folders. But there are now also interesting additional functions, such as starting files. Anyone who has installed a lot of programs will certainly not want to scroll through the start menu every time. A launcher is then helpful. Incidentally, Microsoft has recognized this itself and delivers within the framework of its PowerToys a launcher, but it doesn’t really have a lot of features.
Our current favorite on Windows is Ueli. It also starts programs wonderfully, but has even more tricks on it. For example, it can be linked to everything, finds system commands in Windows, acts as a calculator and can also search the web.