XSearch: classic portable search for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 3, 2016
Updated • Jan 13, 2016

XSearch is a free portable search program for the Windows operating system that enables you to find files based on a variety of parameters that you define in the program's interface.

When it comes to search, Windows users have several options to find files on PCs they work on. They can use the built-in search tool, or use third-party software instead.

While the built-in search tool may be sufficient at times, it is neither fast nor overly customizable.

Third-party search programs come in two main flavors: those that index files and those that don't.


XSearch does not index files or contents. In fact, you can run the program from any location after download and unpacking, and start searching right away.

The interface itself displays search parameters in a sidebar on the left, and the search results on the right.

The following parameters are available:

  • Search for strings in file names.
  • Search for text in files.
  • Select the root location you want searched.
  • Set file size, date/time and misc parameters (file flags such as hidden or read-only files, sub folders, include folders)

Most parameters provide additional controls that you can make use of. While you can simply type part of a file name and hit enter, you could also open the file name options menu to search only for the exact phrase, have the program only return files that don't contain it, or run a case sensitive search.

The program's search routine is fast, especially if you don't let it search across a whole drive or partition but select a root folder that you want to start searches in.

Results are displayed on the right in tabular format. Each result is listed with its name, size, type, modification data and other parameters, and you may click on a column header to sort the list based on that.

All Explorer view formats are provided which means that you can switch from list view to thumbnail view or any other view format if you prefer it.

Files can be opened with a double-click, using the keyboard, or by using the appropriate option in the right-click context menu.

There you find additional options listed, for instance to open the file in a Hex Editor or to perform file operations such as deleting or moving right from the program's interface.

Searches can be saved so that you can load them again at a later point in time from within the interface. There is also an option to add a search option to the context menu in Windows Explorer, and several advanced preferences in the program's settings.

Among the options are preferences to ignore content searches if a file exceeds a selected size, change the default font used by the program, or allow operations for multiple selected files (e.g. open).

Closing Words

XSearch is a handy, fast on-demand search program for Windows that does not clog the system with background processes or endless indexing sessions. Since it is portable, it can be used on any Windows PC it is available on, for instance when it is put on a USB Flash Drive or tools collection CD.

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  1. pd said on February 7, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I have an underpowered software RAID NAS unit. I would love a search facility like “everything” that only scans the MFT of the NAS unit and provides a search facility that way. However the NAS appears to run the ext3 file system (though possibl the JFFS2 file system).

    Does anyone know of a search tool that scans the MFT of an ext3 FS?

  2. Gary D said on February 4, 2016 at 11:10 am

    @ Ann
    The references to SwiftSearch which you found about viruses, ads, etc, are about a Browser plug in.
    If you want to try the REAL SwiftSearch, you can download it from SourceForge or Downloadcrew.
    You can read the review at PC Advisor.
    The program does not need to be installed. It is a small .exe file (750 KB).
    It was tested by VirusTotal on 3.2.2016 with 0/52 pass.
    I have been using it for nearly a year with no problems.

  3. goddert said on February 4, 2016 at 9:20 am


    You can’t compare both because one is only for Staroffice and OpenOffice documents the other for all kind of files. Apples and oranges.
    And instead of complaining here why don’t you write a nice mail to the author of XSearch what you’re missing. Who knows maybe the next version gets search capabilities in Office documents and you’ll have best of both worlds. Being constructive ….

    1. jfjb said on February 4, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      5 lines about a user’s comment and none about the product? Nice cubicle touch, dude, but I shall follow your kind advice to see how ‘complaints’ are perceived, maybe you work there, in which case you know what to expect… my 2 ¢ again

      1. T J said on February 5, 2016 at 7:48 pm

        @ jfjb

        What is a “cubicle touch”, DUDE ??

        Only references I could find on the Internet was for toilet fittings. Kinky !!

        My 10 Cents

  4. DV said on February 4, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Hi all !

    Does anyone know how XSearch compares to DocFetcher (http://docfetcher.sourceforge.net/), which I’m using with +/- success for full text search ?


  5. jfjb said on February 3, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    no virus or attached BS, thanks Martin
    File (content) search doesn’t work with compressed ODT files (Star/Open/LibreOffice), be that created or imported from other application/extension sets. Also, footprint = 3,092 K.
    I’ll keep using o3find @ http://web.tiscali.it/fanelia/sw/o3find/ Footprint 1,832K…
    my 2 ¢

  6. S0215 said on February 3, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    As for file management, voidtools’ Everything is on the top of my own list.

  7. George said on February 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    How can it be very fast without indexing? Not doubting it’s fast, just asking.

    1. Jeff said on February 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      IMO, it isn’t very fast. It’s ‘ok’ for a search tool that’s portable and has no index, but Everything search blows it away for speed. Everything indexes extremely quickly since it only scans the MFT, and then its results are instantaneous.

      With Xsearch you tell it where you want to look (drive, folder, etc) and it does an average speed file scan.

      If all you need are filename searches, it’s faster to go to Ninite and quickly install Everything and use that than it is to have XSearch do a multi-drive file scan.

  8. vvvlad said on February 3, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    so how it compares to Everything?

    1. Jeff said on February 3, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      If all you need is to search file names, Everything is the best due to its superior speed. But XSearch searches text inside of files, where Everything does not.

      1. Ann said on February 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm

        hi Jeff,

        just tried to search for swift search and the first page was full of “SwiftSearch Adware – how to remove” or ‘Remove “Ads by Swift Search” virus (Easy Removal Guide)’
        not saying that this does contain a virus but I’m on alert now.
        Then the download sites I see are blocked coz of know virus sites, again not that site like softpedia and alike are virus sites, but the download often do as there is little control.
        Not seeing an official page in the first hits is not a good sign.

        Short to say i’m trying Everything now.

        Sorry Martin, but the short discriptions here it suits better my needs.

      2. Jeff said on February 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

        “I am not a shill for SwiftSearch. :-)”

        Haha. I know. I’ve heard good things about Swiftsearch. I should try it, but have been very happy with Everything.

      3. Gary D said on February 3, 2016 at 4:49 pm

        Another program to try is ” SwiftSearch “. It does not look for text inside files but it is lightning fast at finding files in all directories, including system and windows directories.
        I recommend trying it. I’ve used it for nearly a year.
        NB for Jeff. I am not a shill for SwiftSearch. :-)

  9. Tom Hawack said on February 3, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    @me and @Edd…, as well as to all those who rely blindly on one of those whatever phony anti-malware produced by one of those unreliable anti-this, anti-that softwares, please confirm your suspicions with VirusTotal before screaming to the world your discoveries. You cannot accuse on the basis of a simple anti-malware : like cancer, multiply analysis/diagnostic sources : that’s exactly what VirusTotal does.

    XSearch is clean.

  10. Edd... said on February 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Confirmed: Contains trojan. DO NOT DOWNLOAD!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 3, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      No it does not. Any proof of that, please post it.

      1. Jeff said on February 3, 2016 at 2:05 pm

        Martin, why not delete obvious troll posts like this? You replied earlier with a virustotal 0/51 proof, which this person ignored.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 3, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        Good question, will keep that in mind next time.

      3. David F Mayer said on August 10, 2022 at 4:42 am

        I have used it for MANY YEARS, and have NEVER found any such problem.

  11. me said on February 3, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Contains a trojan!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 3, 2016 at 12:11 pm

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