Windows has to be all things to all users, which leads to enduring compromises like the built-in Search Files and Folders module. Many third-party developers offer improved search tools for Windows. NirSoft's SearchMyFiles is a portable freeware search tool that lets you scour your system with greater accuracy and specificity than the built-in Search tool. You can search by wild card and the usual attributes as well as by content (text or binary). SearchMyFiles is a compact application that is frequently updated. The latest version we saw added a new feature, a Recent Config Files menu that lets users open the last 10 configuration files they've accessed. SearchMyFiles is available in separate downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. We tried the 64-bit version in Windows 7.
Since it's portable, SearchMyFiles runs as soon as you click its executable file. It opened with both its main window and Search Options page displayed. Configuring the Search Options begins with selecting one of four Search Modes from a drop-down list: Standard, Duplicates, Non-Duplicates, and Summary. We could also select which drive or directories to search in the Base Folders field and specify which not to search in the Excluded Folders field, enter Files and Subfolder Wildcards, specify File Contains or File Doesn't Contain, and enter Exclude Extensions to skip whole file types. But that's just the start: SearchMyFiles offers extensive options under File Size, Attributes, and File Time sections. A check box tells the program to stop searching after finding a specific number of files.
We selected whether we wanted SearchMyFiles to search for text, binary, or neither; entered a search term; and clicked Start Search. SearchMyFiles displayed results in the main window's list view as it found them. We could add grid lines to this view, choose column headings, and drag columns into place for easy, accurate sorting of results. Clicking an entry in the list called up its properties, or we could right-click an entry to call up an extensive menu of options for opening, moving, and deleting the file, including cutting or copying files in Explorer. Bottom line: a keeper.