Most people have at some time used the built in search function that Windows provides allowing quick access to your files. And it does have some advantages such as the indexing of the files and retaining the information about them to speed up subsequent searches. Unfortunately the indexing feature itself also has a few disadvantages such as creating a bit more disk activity than it perhaps should while building and maintaining the index. It also appears to consume more system resources than you’d like. You also need to know your search syntax pretty well to get the most out of it. Because of that, quite a few users turn off Windows search completely and simply stop it running in the background, and I’m one of them.
With SSD’s becoming pretty common now, Windows Search with the indexing feature is perhaps only really of use on standard hard drives anyway. But with huge capacity hard drives and the possibility of the number of files in a system running into the millions, it is still a real benefit to have something to be able to quickly and efficiently search through your files. One such utility called Instant File Searcher Professional can perform fast searches but doesn’t consume any unnecessary resources when you don’t need it.
The program is a standalone portable executable of around 600K so can be used only once or placed in a more permanent location for regular use.
Experienced users will probably be quite at home with the interface and the search options available, but it isn’t too difficult for anybody to get their head around. The search process can be a plain and simple one or more complex if you like. A simple search can be performed by typing in the name in the box, selecting a folder from the dropdown list of common locations or browsing for another drive or folder. If you want to also search by extension, either type in your own or select from a number of predefined ones such as audio, video, archives, images etc. Pressing the ‘Go’ button will start the search process.
Although the search is pretty quick, it is by no means instant as the name might suggest and searching for executables on my ‘M:’ drive with 240,000 files took around 50 seconds on first run. Any subsequent searches to the same location will obviously be a lot quicker while the program is still open.
Where Instant File Searcher Professional does start to prove its usefulness is with the options available to apply filters to the search such as using the date and time properties and then selecting whether to search for earlier or later than that specified. Creation or modified dates can be chosen.
On the other side of the window are some more options to filter the search like whether to include only files and/or only folders, include hidden and system files, disable the icons from showing in the results which helps performance, and looking only for certain file sizes above, below or equal to a user specified size.
Once the search has completed the results window will be shown. If there are still too many files to your liking, the results can be filtered even further by typing in another search term into the box at the top. The results in the list can be double clicked to be taken to that file’s location and right clicking will produce the standard Explorer context menu. There is also an ‘Export’ button which will save the results in a CSV file.
It would be nice if there was the ability to search several locations or drives at once, as it is, only one at a time is permitted. Also, because there is no function to search the content of files and no form of indexing is used, things like searching for music file tags or EXIF meta data in images is not an option. As it is, Instant File Searcher Professional is a useful addition to the USB toolkit as long as the machine you use it on has .NET v4 installed.
If you want a faster, more basic file search and index of all NTFS drives on the system, have a look at a utility called Everything which has been written about before.
.NET Framework v4.0 is required
Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 32bit and 64bit.