The Best Desktop Search Engine

by Preston Gralla

Microsoft released the final version of Windows Desktop Search (previously called MSN Desktop Search), just in time for me to give it up.

I wrote a while back that it beats Google Desktop, hands-down. It still does. Google thinks of your hard disk as if it's the Web, while Windows Desktop Search thinks of it as what it is, a hard disk, and so gives you many more searching options.

But as an article in WindowsDevCenter by Jake Ludington shows, there's a search tool that beats Windows Desktop Search at its own game --- Copernic Desktop Search.

Like Windows Desktop Search, it recognizes that your hard disk is a hard disk, and so gives you many ways to find the exact file or email you're looking for. It can also search mapped network drives. The interface is much cleaner and easier to use than Windows Desktop Search. And the deciding factor, for me, is that unlike Windows Desktop Search, it's not a resource hog. You won't even notice it's there.

That being said, it's not perfect. It won't search through OneNote, something I hope will be fixed eventually. And it leaves out some of Windows Desktop Search's niftier features, but only a few of them. But those are small prices to pay.

So for now, at least, Copernic is the one I use. How about you? Let me know your favorites.

Tell me which desktop search tool you use most.


2005-05-17 18:51:20
Which desktop search engine do you use?
Spotlight. The more I use it the more want to use it and the better my computer productivity is.
2005-05-17 22:05:04
But isn't worse better?
OS/2 was "better" than Windows. Now a company of the web age has a worse product than the tired old established company. Google being "of the web age" makes it better. Even if it's worse.
2005-05-18 05:27:13
Re: Which desktop search engine do you use?
What he said. Times 2.
2005-05-18 07:52:40
Re: Which desktop search engine do you use?

I intended to wait before upgrading, but once I saw Spotlight in action...

I also love Dashboard. The dictionary/thesaurus widget alone is worth the price of the whole upgrade.
2005-05-18 11:15:05
Copernic is nice but ... doesn't let me tune the ID3v1 tag
metainfo by which it searches.

I'd love to search by YEAR or COMMENT
but it only allows TITLE ARTIST GENRE.

2005-05-19 15:15:41
Which desktop search engine do you use?
2005-05-24 09:48:25
X1 beats all
I've tried Google, Copernic, and X1.

X1 beats everyone handsdown in my opinion.

Google indeed suffers from the illusion that your harddrive is the web.

Copernic is nice, but you cannot beat X1 for the previews it gives you for almost any format you throw at it, for its speed, and for its usabiliy (if you are a power user)