View Full Version : 2 free Windows desktop search tools can be a great help locating old data

09-09-09, 08:51 PM
For many years, I have saved things like copies of website pages, the social security numbers of my kids, and other various receipts using the Outlook Express "drafts' folder-- not a wise move because Outlook Express is simply not stable enough and e-mails can disappear for no apparent reason.

Two free programs available for download make it possible to reach into everything on your installed hard drive as well as everything on other installed exterior hard drives and pull out information in seconds that might take 5 minutes or maybe an hour to come up with -- assuming you can find it at all. They are a godsend to people who are by nature disorganized, including especially those with ADHD who have distraction issues.

The far more well known desktop search is Google Desktop Search, downloadable for free at less known but with a more polished interface is Copernic Desktop Search. Both have their own quirks and I would not bet my life on the stability of either. But each is better than Windows Search 4.0 by far, even though all 3 work using vaguely similar processes.

You will not be able to find things as soon as you install the programs. Both will possess near Houdini-like qualities only after they have spent some time indexing the data on your drive (or drives - they can also index exterior drives connected via USB). This process can take hours but once finished they will need to run only intermittently to update their indexes.

By no means is this intended to be a review of these 2 free programs and I know there are others. Copernic has been around a long time, having first come to my attention a decade ago with one of the first pieces of multi-search software, also free at the time. Google is, well, Google with the usual finger-in-your-eye attitude towards users of its 'products'.
Try them yourself and see what you think. I became a believer the first time I could remember just a few characters of someone's e-mail address, dropped them into Google Desktop Search and watch the whole address appear like magic. I have had many similar moments since then.