Searching is one area where the one-size-fits-all approach has never served Windows very well. Maybe that's because there are so many excellent freeware search tools out there; some are much more complex than Windows, and others much simpler. TheSearchMan is a multithreaded search tool that is simple and extremely fast when searching your disk drives in real time. But it also creates indexes that make searching even faster. It's portable freeware that includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions in the download. We tried both.
Since it's portable, TheSearchMan opens immediately when you click its extracted executable file. A simple interface has just two entry fields, Folder Name and File Name, above a list view displaying files, locations, names, and other data. Except for Normal and Index Search selectors, a central toolbar holds all the controls: Start and Stop Search, Search within Results, Create New Index, Hide, and Clear List. We performed a variety of basic and wildcard searches in large and small directories, and one thing stands out: TheSearchMan is fast. Even an unindexed search of a common entry in our Documents folder took almost no time. We highlighted and right-clicked an entry. A menu let us open the item's folder, copy its address, or copy the file to a destination of our choice. Clicking Search within Results produced a small pop-up search field with its own results window. Next we tried the indexing feature. Past experience suggested it might be sandwich-making time, but TheSearchMan indexed our three hard drives in a remarkably short time. Selecting Index Search grays out the Folder Name field since it's not needed. Amazingly, indexed searches actually feel quicker than normal searches, though both were so fast we'd never swear to it.
TheSearchMan doesn't offer advanced filtering and other bells and whistles; it just finds stuff fast. Most of the time, that's all we want. If you need a more sophisticated search tool, they're thick on the floor; take your pick. But TheSearchMan is compact as well as free, so there's no reason you can't have both. Bet you use TheSearchMan more, though!