I do not really search that often on Windows, as I usually know where my files are when I need them. One of the first things that I usually do is disable the indexing service, and if I really need to search, I prefer to use third party programs such as Everything as it usually provides me with faster and better results.
SwiftSearch is an Open Source search program for the Windows operating system that works on all hard drives that uses the NTFS file system. It does not index data, which is great for performance and storage. It tapes right into the Master File Table of drives on the system to do so.
The developer notes that it needs administrative privileges for that.
This means that it can compete speed-wise with indexing programs. As far as performance goes: results were displayed instantly when I searched for files on a 128 Gigabyte Solid State Drive, and in about one to two seconds on a 2 Terabyte conventional hard drive.
Results are displayed in a table in the main program window. Each file is listed with its name, directory, the size, and dates when it was created, and last modified or accessed.
A double-click on any result opens the containing folder in the default system file browser. You can alternatively open files directly with a right-click and the selection of open from the context menu.
The context menu looks identical to the Windows Explorer context menu, which means that it makes available options such as "open with", properties, the send to menu, delete, or copy that you can run from here directly.
It is only possible to search a single drive or partition though, which is a limitation as you may need to run searches several times - for each partition once - if you cannot remember where a file has been stored in.
Swiftsearch supports advanced searches that you can make use of:
- Path-based searches: To search for paths, use the syntax "*foldername\*". You can add as many folders as you want here.
- Regular expressions: To use regular expressions, start the search pattern with the > character followed by the regular expression you want to use. The program offers a basic help file on the use of regular expressions.
SwiftSearch is one of the fastest non-indexing search programs for Windows. It works right out of the box without installation and as long as the drive is NTFS formatted, should provide you with great results.
It could use a couple of features, like the ability to run searches on all drives, changing the double-click action, or saving searches so that you can access them whenever you need to.