Find and replace it with Seeker

Search and replace in Windows with this free standalone search engine.

Seeker is a powerful freeware search tool that can replace the built-in Windows search feature. It offers advanced search-and-replace capabilities, regular expression searches, several reporting modes, and superfast, highly targeted searching.

Seeker's user interface resembles Office's design a bit, with expandable sections in its left-side control panel and a main report view with draggable categories. Under Search Criteria, we could enter everything from wildcard searches to highly specific file types, a specific word or phrase in the file, and include or exclude our listed files, as well as telling Seeker to search subfolders, ignore case, or use regular expressions (there's a regex list in the very good Help file). We could further narrow down our search by expanding the sections labeled When was it modified? And What size is it?, each of which offered various ranges to choose from. Finally, under Replace Criteria we could specify our search-and-replace options. Under the Tools menu, we could choose from four Reporting Types: Detailed file list, Structured report, Summary report, and Summary report with file list. The program's Options included enabling logging, adding custom file formats to the list of valid formats for the Replace mode, and enabling Special File Handlers for Word documents and Excel spreadsheet files. Seeker's documentation warns that selecting special file handlers can slow down search and replace operations, but we heartily approve of the option. As we learned, Seeker is fast enough that selecting one or more of these items won't matter, most of the time.

We entered a variety of search terms ranging from extremely broad to highly specific, using various search criteria and targeting several locations in our system using the search folder selector. We searched with the subfolders option enabled and disabled. Naturally, it made a big difference when searching a large folder such as Program Files. The Replace mode is very easy to use; simply enter the text to replace in the file in the program's text entry field and click Search, and Seeker does the rest. The Structured Report's tree view offered a nice alternative to the more-typical formats, too.

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