Copernic Desktop Search Home
There's no reason not to install Copernic Desktop Search Home on your PC: It's free, it's fast, and it's easy to use. And it can come in very handy when you're trying to track down a file that you know is somewhere on your PC--especially when you're not sure just where it is.
After you install it, Copernic Desktop Search indexes the contents of your PC. This process can take a while--it took more than an hour on my XP system--but you have to do it only once. When it's done, it allows for much speedier searches than a non-indexed desktop search utility, like the one built in to Windows XP. Results appear within seconds of typing your keyword into the Copernic search bar.
The Home version searches e-mail messages (Eudora, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Outlook only, not Lotus Notes), almost all file formats (including Office documents, PDFs, text files, and hidden system files), multimedia files (such as images, audio, and video), contacts, and your Web favorites and browsing history.
Results are organized by file type. Hovering over the file brings up a small window with some basic information; clicking on it brings up a preview in the bottom of the screen, which shows you where your keyword can be found.
Copernic Desktop Search isn't strictly for searching your PC: It also includes direct links to a Copernic Web search engine. You can access it from within the application, or from the Copernic search bar that is automatically added to your browser with the program. Copernic's Web search isn't as impressive as its desktop search, though; I found its results inferior to Google's.
My advice: Ignore the Web search, but install Copernic for its desktop searching features. The first time it helps you track down a long-lost file, you'll be happy that you did.