Best free Windows Search Alternative Tools for Windows 10

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Shiwangi is a qualified writer and a blogger, who loves to dabble with and write about computers. While focusing on and writing on technology topics, her varied skills and experience enables her to write on any topics which may interest her. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.


  1. Tamago Ed

    Ever found a way to avoid the admin prompt while launching “everythign”?

  2. I will post a tutorial on it tomorrow. 🙂

  3. Andrea Tavazzani

    XSearch is also emerging, I use it in conjunction with Everything that takes a bit on indexing (useful for whole searches).

  4. Al

    There is only one for me – Ive been using it for years, Agent Ransack

  5. jensenjs

    Hello Shiwangi

    I have for some years used UlstrSearch

    After your description of the first program, it seems a little like that.

  6. Good list… as usual for, and expected from, both this website and this author. Thank you!

    There are two kinds of file searching on NTFS-formatted drives, one of them based on basically the same type as used on old FAT drives.

    One type uses the classic method of working down through the directory structure, looking for file names matching the search criteria. It may or may not then build a database of its own so that on all subsequent times it does it, it can find stuff faster by interrogating it database first. That method has been around in one form or another for as long as there’s been either Windows or even old MS-DOS/PC-DOS.

    The other type uses the NTFS USN journal as its database, and so builds no database of its own.

    The salient difference between them is that the first type is relatively slow, and the second type is fast as greased lightning. No, really… THAT fast.

    The advantage of the first, slower type is that it can also, while it’s at it, look for text within files as part of its search routine. And so the disadvantage of the latter, fast-as-greased-liightning type is that it can’t; it can only search for file names.

    Examples of free search tools of the first, slower type are “Agent Ransack,” and Nirsoft’s “SearchMyFiles,” and MANY others. There is no shortage of both free and commercial search tools of this type.

    Examples of free search tools of the second, faster type are “Search Everything,” “MasterSeeker,” “UltraSearch” and somewhat fewer others.

    There are a precious few “hybrid” search tools that utilize the second, faster method of using the NTFS USN journal for searches of just file names, but which use the slower method when trying to find text within files. One would think that they would be best because they do both things, but some of them have fewer features in either method which sometimes makes it better to have specialist tools of each type. Examples of hybrid tools include “Ultra File Search,” and “Index Your Files,” and even fewer others.

    I, personally, use specialist tools for each search type. I like “Search Everything” for the lighting-fast NTFS USN journal filename-only searches, and Agent Ransack’s commercial/paid big-brother, “File Locator Pro” for the slower find-text-inside-files searches. However, the freeware “Agent Ransack,” is good enough for most people’s seach-for-text-in-files searches. I sometimes augment with Nirsoft’s “SearchMyFiles” for search-for-text-in-files searchs; but I always, always, always use “Search Everything,” exclusively, for file-name-only searches. It’s best-of-breed. The others I listed (one of which is reviewed in this article) are fine, but “Search Everything” — expecially the new BETA version — has no rival… in my opinion, of course.

    Additionally, my preferred “File Locator Pro,” and “Search Everything,” and “SearchMyFiles” combination are either naturally portable, or are capable of being so; and so they sit nicely on the 64GB flash drive that I keep on my keychain. Sadly, “Agent Ransack” is not portable; however, if freeware is that upon which one insists for one’s portable tools, then just “Search Everything” (portable version, obviously) for lightning-fast, filename-only searchs, and Nirsoft’s “SearchMyFiles,” for finding text within files (which is naturally portable), would do nicely on one’s flash drive.

    Hope that helps!

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  7. Thanks for the link. 🙂

  8. If memory serves, doesn’t simply using the portable version of “Search Everything” eliminate the need for amin rights?

    Just thinkin’ out loud.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  9. shiwangi peswani

    Thanks for the detailed tutorial Anand sir 🙂

  10. shiwangi peswani

    Hope the tutorial by Anand sir helps you Tamago 🙂

  11. shiwangi peswani

    Hey Jensenjs..just checked UltraSearch…seems nice and fast freeware for file search. Thanks for sharing.

  12. shiwangi peswani

    Hey Gregg..wonderful, very informative and detailed comment by you as usual. I love the way you explain your point of views..Thanx for this comprehensive comment.

  13. John_Sydney

    Agent Ransack! Free, light on resources,very fast and highly configurable…

  14. Subz

    Thanks for this nice article regarding search-tools. I found the contents to be very useful.

  15. Zdeefe Luchnik

    thanks Shiwangi, Listary has become my latest favourite way to get around!

  16. buddesatva

    These programs are imperative for using Windows 7 since this OS has no viable search for files capability. It is astounding that one of the core features of the Windows system could be so badly and thoroughly abandoned in this version. Even if you choose to use the DOS methodology, (the only one available in this version) it really doesn’t work very well. Add ‘indexing’ to the mix and it becomes so complicated that it is unworkable. Windows 7 ‘search’ is simply a many layered mistake.

  17. rpuro

    I tried Listary, its great, also Everything, great too, but I notice Listary uses 3 x more memory than Everything when running in background, I also wish these provided shortcuts for websites, custom web searches, google contacts search, etc… any recomedations?

  18. StefanS

    Good overview but i think there is one more interesting tool. It was mainly developed for Outlook but it still fits as desktop search engine. You can try the 14 days trial-version on

    Disclaimer: I work for Axonic – Vendor of Lookeen

  19. StefanS

    hi all, another alternative is Lookeen. This tool operate easy and fast and find every file on your pc. Try it on

    Best regards Stefan
    Disclaimer: I work for the vendor of this tool.

  20. StefanS

    hi all, checkout this tool. It operates easy and fast and finds every file on your pc. Try it on Best regards Stefan. Disclaimer:
    Annotation: I work for the vendor of this tool.

  21. Mihi Dase

    Hi, is there an utility, which provides for incremental backup of specific files (e.g .docx; .pptx, etc) that were created or modified from a specific date. I want to backup these files on my USB, and not on external hard disk where I store complete backup using Syncfree backup.

    Help appreciated!

  22. StefanS

    Good overview but i think there is one more interesting tool. I use it daily and it has a good performance as well. You should gather Lookeen into your list.

  23. Which one out of all can search files AND emails within Outlook 2010 – 2016 – 365 as Windows Search does?

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