Saturday, October 09, 2004

File Search Tool -- Copernic Desktop Search (version 2.3)

Copernic Desktop Search
Copernic Screen Shot of File Search (click on the image to enlarge)

I decided there had to be a better tool to search for files on my C drive than the one that comes with Windows. I set out on a mission to find one and tried several before I found “Copernic Desktop Search”. This one is definitely a cut above the others. It indexes the content of your C drive so that when you do a search, the results are displayed almost instantaneously. It does take a while to index but you only have to do it once if you set it up to load at startup. It can then index changes and new additions to the files as they are made. It works extremely well with finding text in e-mail and text files. It searches text files, music, pictures, videos, web page favorites and history and email and contacts in Outlook Express/Microsoft Outlook.

Something that is really cool about the e-mail search option is that it not only searches Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express email messages but also the attachments. The default installation option does not search deleted e-mail but an option can be changed so that it does.

The file search option includes default search options for Microsoft Office documents (Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel worksheets), WordPerfect documents, Adobe Acrobat documents, HTML pages and text/RTF files. Both the e-mail and file search options have a really good file preview option. Most file preview options that come with file managers show gibberish at the beginning of Microsoft Office documents. That is not the case here. The program works by looking for certain file extensions and indexing the contents. Additional file extensions can be added in the advanced options.

The options to search music, pictures and videos are limited to finding text in the file name and properties. This may seem limiting but the file properties of MP3 files usually include title, artist, album and genre which are searched.

The Copernic web site says that Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP is required. The download consists of a single file, copernicdesktopsearch.exe, which you double click with a file manager to install.

Update 12/6/09: Unfortunately, version 3.0 of Copernic Desktop Search is a downgrade from version 2.3. I still think it is the best free desktop search tool available. Version 3.0 removes the search as you type feature, along with other features like saved searches, it no longer indexes network drives and it now has forced ads. Fortunately, build 30 of version 2.3 is still available for download here (click here).

After you install Copernic 2.3, you will also want to disable the "update feature" so that you can continue using the 2.3 version without the nagging prompts to update. Just follow these directions:
First, exit the Copernic program by right-clicking the icon in the system tray and select "Exit".
Click on your Windows start button and select "Run". Type in regedit and select OK.
In Regedit, go to Local Machine-->Software-->Copernic-->DesktopSearch2-->System.
There are three entries of interest: "LastSoftwareUpdate", "LastSoftwareUpdateShown" and "UpdateAvailable".
Open your Windows system clock and change your system date to some date very far away, like October 2020. You can do this by right clicking on the time display next to your system tray and select "Adjust Date/Time".
Open Copernic Desktop Search again; you will get an "update" notification. Click Cancel.
Go back to Regedit and hit "F5". The "LastSoftwareUpdateShown" value will have changed. Copy the hex value in this key to the "LastSoftwareUpdate" key. Then change "UpdateAvailable" value to "0".
Change your system time back to today's date.

Copernic Desktop Search Home Page

Download Copernic Desktop Search


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