The Best Windows Search Tool Ever Created?

by Preston Gralla

Every computer user suffers from it several times a day: premature dementia. There's an important email you've sent or received, but for the life of you, you can't remember when you read it, or in which folder you've stored it. Or there's a spreadsheet or a Word file that you absolutely must get your hands on right now.

But you can't remember its name. Or where you stored it.

Windows, Outlook or Outlook Express offer little or no help. Sure, they have search tools. And if you have an hour or two to wait while they chug through your hard disk, they might actually find what you need.

We've been told that Longhorn will solve the problem, but I'm like you and can't wait the two or more years until it's actually released.

Well, I'm here to report that there's a solution to the problem close at hand. It's called X1, search software that I've been using for more than a month now, and it's the fastest search software I've ever seen. It literally searches as fast as you can type. Type in your search term, and by the time your fingers leave the keyboard, the search is done. It lets you fine-tune your search as well. When searching for email, for example, you can limit the search by folder; by To, From, and Subject fields among others, including even the BCC field; by size of the email; by the .PST file…well, the list could go on, but you get the point.

It indexes not just your email, but your files, contacts and email attachments as well. The first time it does its index, it will take a while, depending on your hard disk size and processor. It did mine in about 15 minutes, and I have an email box stuffed with thousands of messages going back more years than I want to remember, and a hard disk clogged with the manuscript of dozens of books and hundreds of articles. Regularly throughout the day, it freshens the index, and it behaves well when it does it, not slowing down your normal work.

Is this software perfect? No, certainly not. It doesn't do Boolean searches, for example, a clear shortcoming. And it's introduced some flakiness into the way my Outlook works. (Of course, there are those who might say that flakiness is inherent in the way Outlook always works.)

But it's so fast that you can live with its limitations, and speed makes up for the lack of true Boolean searches. It's try-before-you-buy software, so you can download it from the X1 site, try it for free for 15 days, then delete it if you don't want it anymore, or else pay $99 to keep it. Yes, the price is a bit steep. But after all, how much is your time worth?

Do you have a favorite search tool? Have you tried X1? Tell me what you think.


2004-05-10 10:13:35
Hi Just wondering Did anyone try how safe is it to run X1 if an application or email etc may contains some harmful virus or scripts.