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Want search/indexing program for Win7

Posted on 2016-07-30
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Last Modified: 2016-08-03
I want an app that will index every file name (possibly excluding system folders), folder name, and the contents of every file (again, perhaps excluding system folders).  I want a simple interface for doing what, therefore, should be instantaneous searches.  I despise the stock search utility.  The Win XP version was a little better; at least the results were understandable.  Suggestions?  Items to avoid?
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Question by:LostInLG
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by:John Hurst
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You might try Ultra Search by Jam Software. I use Tree Size Pro by Jam and it sort files and sizes very quickly. I have not yet tried Ultra Search. I might, but Windows Indexing and Search works better that you suggest.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 350 total points
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For indexing and searching, I strongly recommend dtSearch:
http://www.dtsearch.com/

I have been using it for around 20 years — extraordinarily good piece of software!

When it indexes documents that are mixed binary and text files (such as a PDF Searchable Image file that has been created by scanning and OCR), it has an option to filter out the binary. This makes the index much smaller than other products which also index the binary code (for no good reason). dtSearch has an interesting filtering algorithm that scans a binary file for anything that looks like text using multiple encoding detection methods. The algorithm detects sequences of text with different encodings or formats, and ignores the binary. This is perfect for PDF Searchable Image files created by OCR.

It has built-in viewers for most common file types (PDF, of course — see below), but can also launch an external program automatically when the hit is on a file type for which it doesn't have a viewer. You can control whether or not the external viewer is launched on a case-by-case basis, that is, you can have different actions for each and every file type.

It has special handling for PDF files, allowing you either to view the PDF file in place (in dtSearch) or in a separate instance of Adobe Reader (and in both cases, hits are highlighted). Also, to improve performance, there's an option that lets you tell dtSearch to automatically open Adobe Reader for PDF files (the point is that Adobe Reader runs embedded in dtSearch and it opens PDF files much more quickly if Adobe Reader is already running separately when a PDF is opened in dtSearch).

It has extensive search options, including stemming, phonic, fuzzy, proximity (within 5 and within 25), synonym, any words, all words, Boolean, and exact/specific phrases. Here's the search request dialog:

dtSearch search request
It utilizes the Windows Task Scheduler to update indexes. I currently have more than 50 indexes set up and configured it to update (a subset of) them every day in the wee hours. Of course, you may set it up to update the indexes as frequently/infrequently as you want (and you may specify which ones get updated — if some data is static, there's no need to update its index). You may have any number of indexes, each of which may index any number of folders/files, and searches may take place on one or more of the indexes. I often build an index on the fly for a folder/subfolders that I want to search – indexing is very fast (as is searching).

The capabilities go on and on, but at $200, it is not an inexpensive product. Depends on how important search is to you. In my opinion, it is worth every penny — you are getting what you pay for. But if that's too much money, two very good search tools for just $50 are Copernic and X1:
https://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/
http://www.x1.com/products/x1_search/

A final comment about the high initial cost of dtSearch. One positive point is their approach to technical support and product updates. Their store page says, "Technical support and product updates are free for a minimum of one year with all purchases." The "minimum of one year" statement is vague and there is no fee mentioned. Also, the dtSearch Desktop/Network Upgrades page says it is a "free upgrade", but it's not clear if these upgrades are forever free. So I wrote to dtSearch asking for a clarification of the policy and here's what they wrote back (with permission to share the answer publicly):

----- Begin dtSearch response -----
I appreciate your email, and sorry for the confusion!

Our setup licenses provide for a minimum of one year of support and upgrades on all licenses. That said, we have provided support and upgrades at no charge since Year 2000 for all end-user Desktop / Network licenses (!). Because of the higher average cost of developer support, we have been charging annually for developer (Web / Engine / Publish) upgrades and support, but again not Desktop / Network upgrades and support.

I can't always guarantee that this will be the case until the end of time, but that's why you don't find any "upgrade charge" indicators for Desktop / Network on our site currently.
----- End dtSearch response -----

Amortized over a large number of years for technical support and software upgrades/updates, the $200 license fee becomes much more reasonable. dtSearch was careful to say in the response that they "can't always guarantee" no upgrade charge, but I have been using dtSearch for around 20 years, have received technical support and product upgrades on a continuous basis (am currently running the latest release), and have never paid anything beyond the initial license fee. So it's a pretty good bet, if not a guarantee.

As a disclaimer, I want to emphasize that I have no affiliation with dtSearch and no financial interest in it whatsoever. I am simply a happy user/customer. Regards, Joe
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by:John Hurst
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I am running Ultra Search now. It does not have an index so if search a whole drive for a common item, it will take a while. Nothing (not anything) this general will be instant. Forget that.

I looked through Joe's recommendation as it has a lot to offer. I do not want to be making large indexes for something I do not need a lot.

I have 3 ways of searching:

1. Indexed items (maybe 20 GB of files and documents with content) and a specific item. Very fast and accurate. Do this from Windows Search.

2. Go to the top level of folder where the data is and search non-indexed. Quite fast for as normal top level folder. Do this from Windows Explorer.

3. Find something on the hard drive. That is running now with Ultra Search. Not fast for a large area of searching but looks very useful it you can let it search for an hour.
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by:NVIT
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I have used X1 and dtSearch.

I love X1 user interface. Very intuitive.

dtSearch has some catching up there.

In the past versions on some stations, X1 sometimes crashes and  needed reindexing. It seems more stable with the latest version.

I've never had crashing with dtSearch.

X1 support is very responsive.

Never had to call dtSearch for support, so cant comment.

X1 has 1 index for everything.

dtSearch indexes can be created per folder that is indexed.

You can index local and network files for both programs. I think X1 can index cloud also, e.g. Office 365, gmail but I've never tried that.

When making an index, i usually do it after work hours. So its ready in the morning.

After the initial index, maintenance indexing can be done daily, which is faster.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 100 total points
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If you are trying to search once (that is, find something) try the free Ultra Search tool. It is not fast, but faster than building an index.

It searched 250 GB in about 2 hours for text I wanted and found the text in DOC, XLS, PPT, Scanned TIF, ODT, TXT and VMDK files.  Quite impressive for a one time find.
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Author Closing Comment

by:LostInLG
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Joe Winograd: Top notch, detailed answer
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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Thanks for the compliment — much appreciated! Regards, Joe
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by:LostInLG
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Thank you all for contributions.  I think I'm going to try X1, on the basis of Joe Winograd's and NVIT's suggestions.  Also, not insignificantly, X1 offers a free, 14-day, no credit card needed trial.

John Hurst, thanks for your thoughts, but they don't answer my question.  What they say is, "Your question is wrong.  Here's a better question."

Thanks, again.
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by:LostInLG
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I'm having difficulty with the awarding-points interface.  I tried to split the total 3 : 2 : : John : NVIT.  Sorry if it didn't work.
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by:NVIT
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LostInLG,

At your original question, pick the Request Attention. Then explain your reason. The question will be reopened. You can then award points again. Hope that helps.
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