About a year ago I was looking for a good desktop search program. I couldn’t stand the built in search for Windows XP. I don’t have Vista so I can’t speak to that one at all.
Anyway, what I was looking for was the following:
- Index my email, including sent items
- Index folders of my choice, including network folders
- Track emails or files even after they have been moved
- Fast to search, like in milliseconds
- Pretty much invisible when indexing
- Able to index both the item and the contents for multiple file types
The built-in XP search failed many of the points above. The search, even with indexing turned on, was very slow, I couldn’t search my email and files at the same time, Outlook’s search was terrible (even when backed by Exchange), I couldn’t easily add additional file types to search, and more.
I love Google so naturally I tried theirs first. I was pretty disappointed. I added plug-ins to search for non-standard content such as c# files and such but this seemed difficult and it was hit or miss as to what was found. Also, I didn’t like the web interface. I felt that much of the screen space was wasted and it didn’t offer much value in the information it returned. It was also difficult at the time to determine exactly where and what it was indexing.
So, after searching for other, well, search systems (on Google :)) I found Copernic and decided to give it a go. It had a lot of good reviews.
Boy do I love it!
- It’s quick and extremely quiet, meaning I can’t even tell it’s there until I need it.
- I can search all my content at once (emails, photos, text documents, etc) or I can selectively search one category, like my email only.
- Results are near instantaneous. So fast it searches as I type.
- It has an auto complete function that searches as I type. I can type a person’s name or email address into the From box (if I’m searching email) and it shows me a list of valid entries so I really only have to type a few letters
- It has a preview pane. 95% of the time I don’t even have to open the actual item. It shows me it in the preview and scrolls to the first hit in the document. For emails it even shows the attachments so I can open the attachment straight from Copernic rather than having to open the email first
- Setting indexing of non-standard file types is easy. I just set the extension and whether or not I want it to index the contents (for instance with .cs files I want the contents but photos I may not)
- I can search network drives. I hardly do this but when we have all our documentation on a shared drive on a server this is invaluable
I’m sure there are other wonderful desktop search engines out there but I’m sold on Copernic so I doubt I will be looking for a replacement anytime in the near future.
If you’re sold on it to and looking for an enterprise solution, Copernic even allows enterprise discounts and integrates with Active Directory. You can set the configuration via Group Policy. That’s pretty neat when you have a department that is non-technical. You can set up a department to automatically search files they need and on their shared directories.