I have over 1 million files on my 2 drives in my desktop computer. To find any one file is quite difficult. I have used the Windows version of search and Cortana’s search and it almost impossible to find a file. I have tried re-indexing my hard drive. I have found It takes many, many hours to do so and it really doesn’t improve my search.
Last year, at my local computer user group meeting, someone suggested that I look at a program called “Search My Files.” I found this program to be very good. However, it took several minutes to look through every file on both hard drives. [https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/search_my_files.html]
This past week I found an article that talked about another program, “Everything.” It comes in 2 flavors. You can install it or you can run a portable version without installing it. There is also a 32-bit and 64-bit version. [https://www.voidtools.com/]
When installing or running Everything, a pop-up window asks If you want to go to the administrator level to access files. That concerned me, but the article that I read stated that there was no malware or problem with the program using Everything. When I put in the phrase or word that I was looking within a file name or a folder name, it found it instantly. I don’t know of any way that it could be faster. It creates a list of results. When I clicked on one with a file associated with that type, the file opened. If it was a folder, it opened the folder in Windows File Manager. I tried the portable version first just to be safe and was so happy with the program that I installed it. I have placed an icon on the system Taskbar. [https://antibody-software.com/web/software/software/wizfile-finds-your-files-fast/]
I have also found WizFile to be a very fast file search program. It also comes as a 32-bit or 64-bit version which can be run as a portable app or installed. When I first ran it, it scanned my drives, which took about 45 seconds. After that, no scan was necessary. The search was instant. I expect that scanning will have to be done as the files change. You can manually rescan, as well.
Searching your files with Cortana does not give you complete results. Once you click to look at a file, unlike the apps above, the list goes away, and you have to search again for another file or folder.
For those of us who have been around since DOS days can always do a command line search. The command is dir “search term*” /s. Do not use the quotation marks and substitute your search term for those words. This took me 15 seconds for the C-drive and 21 seconds for the D-drive. It is a list of each folder & subfolder and they are not clickable.
Windows File Explorer is also a way to search your drives. However, it does not work well unless you start in a folder or sub-folder. If you start at the root of a hard drive you may only get a few results, if any.
My 2 favorites are Everything & WizFile. They are the fastest and have replaced Search My Files as my search program.