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The Also-Rans

Turbo Searcher



I knew I had a problem with Knownsoft's $30 Turbo Searcher utility as soon as I realized that I couldn't limit the folders or drives it indexes. Still, even with its global approach, the program completed its indexing in less than 2 minutes (though it didn't notify me of how many files it had indexed or how much data they represented). By default the program searches for Word (.doc), text (.txt), Excel (.xls), PowerPoint, application (.exe), video clip (.avi), MP3, HTML, and MPEG-2 files; you can add other file types. Turbo Searcher lets you search network drives (I didn't test this feature), but you have to index the whole drive or nothing, whether it's networked or local. This was the only program whose searches actually had me drumming my fingers: Turbo Searcher took 8.963 seconds (by its own reckoning) to find my missing file. (It doesn't search Outlook or any other e-mail program.) Its broad file-type support notwithstanding, you'll find standard, everyday files faster with one of the other programs.

Enfish Find



Some programs are just too eager. If Enfish Find had waited for me to change a couple of its default settings instead of going full steam ahead with its initial index, I would have found my test files much faster. Instead, I had to wait 20 minutes for the automatic index to complete, only to have the default settings overlook my test data folder, which was located in one of the C:\Documents and Settings subfolders that Enfish skips. After my first search attempts came up empty, I set the tool to re-create the index, manually removing several folder paths from the default "skip" settings. When I reran my tests, Enfish located both files in less than a second.

I have some other beefs with this program's initial settings. For example, by default it won't index the contents of .zip files until you change the setting manually in its Properties dialog box, and it loads at startup without asking. The only way to change the automatic startup is through Tools, Preferences, a dialog box that most people are unlikely to stumble across.

Sleuthhound



You'll get fast search results from this sleek, $20 shareware file-search utility; but this low-cost version doesn't work with Outlook and, more important, it searches only for Word (.doc), text (.txt), and HTML files. (You can add more file types--including Outlook--via plug-ins, though you'll have to buy the $35 Sleuthhound Pro to support those. If you spend $96 for the Sleuthhound Pro Power Pack, you get all available plug-ins.) But there's a better reason to avoid this download: It adds itself to your system tray and to Windows' Startup group without asking.

Sleuthhound couldn't find the Outlook e-mail attachment I was looking for (of course), but it did find the other file in my test folder. The program shows its search results in its own browser, with the search term highlighted in context. Also shown are the file's name, folder path, type, last-modified date, and size, as well as a preview. If you don't mind the cafeteria-style file support, Sleuthhound may be all the file-search tool you need; but for a little more money, you can buy a much better finder.

At a Glance
  • dtSearch Corp. dtSearch Desktop With Spider

  • Lookout Software Lookout

  • Lycos HotBot Desktop

  • Blinkx

  • Caelo Software NEO Pro

  • Stata Labs Bloomba Professional

  • X1 Technologies Inc. X1 Search

  • Enfish Software Enfish Find

  • iSleuthHound Technologies Sleuthhound

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