A look at VX Search, a desktop search program for Windows
VX Search is a powerful desktop search program for Windows that is available as a free version and commercial versions.
Windows Search, the built-in search function of the Windows operating system, does not have the best of reputations. While it is good enough for launching programs, file searching is anything but enjoyable.
VX Search is not slow either but the program's main strength is its functionality. Interested users can download the free (for home use) version of the search program from the developer website. The free version is limited to 500,000 file searches per search. Other features may also be limited, e.g. the number of search profiles that you may create.
The program is offered in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and it is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows XP.
The main program interface looks clean; you can start searches with a click on the button or open the options or layouts first to make adjustments before you start using it in earnest.
The options list plenty of preferences that range from various logging and report options to enabling an ODBC interface and changing program shortcuts.
The Layouts and View buttons in the main interface change the look and feel of the program. Layouts switches between three different toolbar layouts that change the size of icons. View may be used to add or remove columns from file listings.
A click on Search options the search menu and you get an impression of the powerful features that VS Search offers right away. You may run one or multiple queries, select target locations that you want the program to search, and may set a number of rules, actions, and limits as well.
Search supports lots of parameters including searching by file name or extension, size, dates, text strings or hex code, or JPEG tags to name a few. These can be combined, e.g. to search for files with the .JPG extension that have "vacation" in the name and a size of at least 1 Megabyte.
Searches support single and multiple locations. You can run them on a single directory, a single hard drive, multiple folders, all hard drives, and even network locations.
The options list several interesting settings. You may use them to exclude directories from search, change the number of threads, and change the maximum number of search and display results. Actions allow you to create reports in various formats or to run custom commands.
VX Search lists all matching files and folders in the interface when you run searches. Each result is listed with its name, path, size, and modification date by default but you can add more columns or remove some to change the information.
Statistics offer an overview of the searched locations. VX Search displays the total number of directories and files of the selected locations, the total space, disk space of the found files, processing time, and information about errors.
A double-click on a file opens a detailed view. There you find options to open it with the default application or another program, or to open its directory. You may right-click on files in the results listing to display additional actions such as copying or moving the selected file or files, deleting them, or compressing them before moving or copying.
VX Search may create several charts, e.g. search results by extension, location, or last access time.
Another useful feature is the program's wizard as it makes available search profiles that you may run right away without configuration. You may use the wizard to find all files created or modified in the past week, files that were not accessed for a year, search large files used a long time ago, hidden files, or files with long file names.
VX Search supports the creation of custom search profiles that you can save to run them directly without any configuration.
Other features of interest are support for command line searches and regular expressions.
VX Search is a very powerful search program that you can automate to a degree. The free version is limited to 500,000 file searches per operation which limits its usefulness unfortunately. You cannot use it to search across an entire drive usually, e.g. C:, as you will run into the limit pretty quickly.
I'd give VX Search a five out of five it the limit would be higher or non-existent, but since it impacts searches significantly, I cannot give it more than 3 out of 5.
It is a great tool if you need to run searches that won't hit the limit or if you don't mind buying the Pro version as it raises the limit to 25 million files.
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