Google Desktop is text search software, which allows you to easily search files, emails, pictures and MP3’s on your computer. This is pretty useful tool which indexes files by their name or content and lets you launch them with few keystrokes. In addition, it provides other handy gadgets such us weather information, calendar, Gmail, news, to-do list and much more. Unfortunately, Google announced that it would close Desktop search along with other products in coming months.
Yes, you heard it right! New Windows Search is not slow and lethargic as it used to be. They have drastically improved their indexing capabilities. You can download the all-new search component from this page (for XP, Vista and Server editions). Windows 7 and 8 include this by default but you will have to include other drives or folder locations manually for indexing from the control panel.
Everything is a lightweight and handy tool that locates file and folders by their name. It differs from windows search in two ways: one, it is ultra-fast and does not hog system resources. Two, it displays every file and folder as soon as it starts. The only problem with this freeware is that it does not search file contents, but only file and folder names.
Copernic Desktop Search software lets you quickly find over 150 file types including emails and preview them instantly with a single click. According to them, they are ranked number 1 in desktop search tests. The only problem is that Copernic is paid software and the free version has advertisements in it. That is the reason it is ranked third in our list. If you are comfortable with little ads, then it is one of the best alternatives to Google Desktop Search.
FARR claims to be “The Ultimate Program for Keyboard Maniacs”. This portable software (means you can even run it from USB drive) finds programs and files as soon as you start typing from the search box. You can also send emails, run web searches, manipulate files and much more with your keyboard and FARR.
Agent Ransack is a powerful search tool that gives you immediate results for almost all the popular formats. It provides variety of options for searching a file like regular expression, dates (created, modified and last accessed) and content. It also allows you to quickly browse results without opening separate files. If you have tons of documents and text files, then this is the perfect tool for you.
Note: Check out all the desktop search engines from this wiki page.