Help Me Find Good Desktop Search

Hi everyone. I have been having a hard time finding a good desktop search tool. Do you have any suggestions? So far I’ve tried several, but none have done the trick — here are the pros and cons:

  • Yahoo Desktop Search: This is basically just a version of X1 that Yahoo has bundled. I had an older version and it worked fine. Then I made the mistake of upgrading to a newer version and it doesn’t work anymore. I use MS Outlook on XP (yes, I know, I know — time to switch to a Mac!). Yahoo Desktop Search (when it was working) was the best I’ve used mainly because it was lightning fast and immediately stopped indexing when I used the computer — with no appreciable delays. No other tool I have tried was as polite in letting go of system resources. Unfortunately there is little to no technical support on Yahoo for this product.
  • X1 Enterprise Desktop Client: This application crashes my Outlook every time I install it. As far as I can tell there is not much support for it at X1’s site. They want people to pay for premium support, but why should I pay for that if I can’t even get the app to run without crashing my Outlook? There was no information on thier support site to explain the particular problems I found with their app.
  • Google Desktop Search: This app has several weaknesses. The most annoying issue with this product is that it is constantly indexing and is a massive processor hog. While indexing, it does not let go of system resources fast enough (ie. immediately) when there is user activity (such as typing), causing delays or slowdowns before the computer is fully available. Google does not provide an advanced setting to control indexing politeness, unlike all the other products. Another weakness is the lack of a preview pane in the results — it just shows a brief blurb, but that is not useful for example when searching emails.
  • Copernic Desktop Search: This app wasn’t bad, but lacked a toolbar to integrate directly into the Outlook interface. It also seemed a lot slower to find results than the other apps — getting search results usually required a delay of up to a few seconds. On the indexing side it also did not pause indexing as quickly as Yahoo Desktop Search (which was the fastest I’ve tried so far).
  • Microsoft’s Built In Desktop Search in MS Outlook. Oh please. Don’t even get me started. Not useable at all. Whoever wrote it should be ashamed.

And we have a winner….!

  • MSN Desktop Search: Thanks to a suggestion from Shashi, I am now trying out this app. So far so good. This may be the solution I am looking for. Too early to tell. I will update this with info once I have some time to test it. Thanks Shashi! Yes, folks MSN Desktop Search is flawless so far. It’s the only desktop search for Windows XP that I’ve tested that meets my stringent requirements for speed, politness, functionality, and stability.

If you have other suggestions or ideas, please add comments to this post — Thanks.

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4 Responses to Help Me Find Good Desktop Search

  1. peter royal says:

    yeah, a mac is your answer.. i use spotlight for my search needs, and it works well enough. i also do some structured storage of information as well, utilizing notebook from .. spotlight peers into it, but if i know that information is in a specific notebook, it has excellent search as well along with index pages to look things up.

  2. shashi says:

    Have you tried MSN desktop search? I find it to be fairly good and featured(I am using WinXP. Office 2003).
    For outlook search I like Lookoutsoft Outlook add-in, which is awesome (acquired by MS)

  3. Nova,
    I would second Shashi’s suggestion of LookOut’s Outlook search. It is one plugin I used almost literally every single day I am using Outlook. So much better than the built-in search it isn’t even funny.
    (though I do find myself still using the outlook “find” feature to limit searches to a given folder for organizing tasks – however this is such a painful process often I do get annoyed with outlook on a daily basis (and have moved to gmail for the bulk of my day to day mail needs)

  4. bblfish says:

    Since you are interested in Semantic Web technologies, you may want to try out Aduna Autofocus. It is a java app, using the Sesame triple store. I tried it out over a year ago, and it worked fine on my 1.33Ghz PowerBook. But with Spotlight it did not seem quite so interesting.
    (Not that Spotlight is any real good to tell the truth. It is pretty slow)