Dropout, USB, Dropbox Search Tool

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 17, 2011
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Search, Software

When you connect an external USB drive to a computer you may run into the problem that finding files on the drive is not as easy and fast as it could be. The main problem here is that the operating system did not have time to index the files and folders on the drive yet so that search may take a long time. While it is possible to search for the file manually or wait until the contents have been indexed, it is usually faster to use a third party program.

The portable freeware Dropout for the Windows operating system is a search tool that has been designed for exactly this purpose. All you basically need to do is to place the program executable in a directory, for instance the root of the USB drive or your Dropbox folder, to have a sophisticated search application at hand when it is needed.

Dropout displays a search form right on the startup screen. You can use it to find files in the particular directory structure or switch to the more advanced search under the advanced tab.


Dropout indexes all files that are stored in its root directory structure and saves the search information in a folder that it creates in root. The program indexes the contents of some text based file types like txt, pdf or doc so that content matching results are displayed as well in the results list.

The searching itself usually takes less than a second after the initial indexing. The search supports the query parser syntax of Apache Lucene which includes boolean operators, wildcards and grouping options. Search examples provided by the developer on the program homepage include:

  • Tests NOT NUnit - Finds all instances of the work Tests but NOT with NUnit
  • Scripts AND Tests - Requires the words Scripts AND Tests
  • Dev* - Words starting with dev, i.e. Development, Develop, Devious, etc
  • type:doc AND Tests: Searches for the word Tests only in *.doc files
  • modified:201109* - All files created from September 2011
  • modified:[201105 TO 201106]: Files modified between May and June 2011

Results can be sorted by all values including name, modification date or containing folder. The search tool furthermore assigns a score to each hit and makes those scores sortable as well.

A double-click on a file opens it in the default viewer for its file type. A right-click displays a context menu with an option to open the containing folder in Windows Explorer.

The advanced search form offers to search contents, file names, types and filter the results by a start and end modification date.

Windows users can download Dropout from the project homepage over at Codeplex. The program requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0. It is compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Alternative search tools are Everything or Locate.


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