Quickest way to search your PC

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Windows has its own search function built in. You just click in the Search field, type a file name or a program name, and hit Enter. The problem is, a search can take a long time – especially if you have a lot of data stored on your computer. But there’s a new way to search your computer now – and it’s a LOT faster than the one that comes with Windows.

computer search


Thanks to my friend Roger for tipping me off to this great tool, called “Everything”. You can get it (free of course) at voidtools.com.

When you get to that site, you’ll have a few options about which version to download. Unless your computer is pretty old, you’ll want the 64-bit version (if you have problems with that one, go back and try the plain “Download Installer” option).

everything download


Once downloaded, click to run the installer. It’s pretty straightforward and it doesn’t try to sneak anything bad into your computer.









These are the default options for installation, but you can choose based on your preferences.

everything options


Using Everything couldn’t really be any easier. When you first run it, you’ll see a window that lists a bunch of folder names and file names, like this:


everything program


Don’t worry about none of those names looking familiar. Doesn’t matter. My auto mechanic could dig into my car’s engine and pull out a part and I would have no idea what it is or what it does – but it doesn’t matter because I don’t need to know. Same thing with your computer – there’s a lot going on in the background that you really don’t need to know about.

To try out this program, just type in the name of a file on your computer (or just part of the file name) in the search bar at the top, and hit Enter on your keyboard. You’ll see, anything that matches that search comes up almost immediately. It’s pretty awesome how fast this thing is!

When I ran it, I did a little test to see how quickly it could find something – a file that I really had no idea where it was stored on my computer. Years ago when I lived in Maine, I did some advertising in a local newspaper called the Lincoln County News. So I knew, “somewhere” in my computer was a copy of those old ads.

All I did was type the word “Lincoln” and immediately there were about a dozen different files, all of my ads from back in 2003 and 2004. This is what they looked like back then:

computer tutor ad


That was even before I had my current website, and I didn’t even need to include the area code in my phone number (since the whole state of Maine has just one area code).

The point is, I didn’t know where to go looking for those files, but the Everything program found them and displayed them for me in less than one second. Incredible!

And whatever you see displayed in the search results, you can double click to open it right from there.

Here’s the warning: this program searches your entire hard drive. So it might show you some search results that you have no idea what they are. Leave them alone. I’ve had some people see something on their computer and think, “Hmm, I have no idea what that is – better just delete it.” That’s a bad idea! You might be deleting a file that Windows or some other program needs in order to run properly.

So go ahead and try out this great little program and see if you’re as impressed with it as I am. The real question is, if a free program can search your whole computer and show results almost instantaneously, why can’t Microsoft just build that same function into Windows to start with?

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george e lasch
July 23rd, 2018

I have been using this search tool for awhile. Its database update is quick and I find Everything very useful.

Paul Cheall
July 28th, 2018

Great little instant utility in “Everything”, thanks. Windows takes absolutely ages to run a search against the entire hard drive these days. So long sometimes you think your PC has frozen. Everything is just stunning. It’s now pinned to my taskbar alongside Snipping Tool and is going to be used every day.