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Summary:

While Mac users are used to being able to pinpoint and open up files and e-mails instantly, Windows users don’t enjoy that luxury because, even as it delivered Windows Vista, Microsoft shelved plans for a full-blown file system. Desktop search products can come to the rescue […]

While Mac users are used to being able to pinpoint and open up files and e-mails instantly, Windows users don’t enjoy that luxury because, even as it delivered Windows Vista, Microsoft shelved plans for a full-blown file system. Desktop search products can come to the rescue here, though, and my favorite Windows desktop search program Copernic Desktop Search has some good new features. Best of all, it’s a free download.

One problem I’ve had with other desktop search products is that they index data and files so constantly that I can feel my system slow down. Copernic Desktop Search doesn’t do that, though. In fact, in its most recent update, it feels faster than ever.

In Copernic Desktop Search, you get a toolbar that lets you search within categories for content that you want. For example, I have my Outlook e-mail tied to Copernic, and if I start typing a search term within the e-mail category, the search will begin before I am done typing. Rarely does it take longer than five seconds for Copernic to find the e-mail I want, and that’s definitely not true of Outlook itself. I’ve sat for three minutes waiting for Outlook to find a message when my inbox has gotten large.

You can also search for files, music, photos, videos, and more with Copernic Desktop Search. Unlike a lot of other desktop search offerings, especially Google’s, Copernic doesn’t reach for too much. It’s really a search tool, meant to open fast when you want it, and find things in an instant.

Windows Vista’s system search features are an improvement over Windows XP’s, but they’re still not as fast and capable as Copernic’s. Especially if you run XP on any systems, try this free utility out.

  1. For me, the sticking point is the data stuck in the cloud — particularly on gmail. If Copernic, or indeed Windows Vista Search, could add my gmail account to its search list, it would be useful. Without gmail support, it doesn’t really cut the mustard.

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  2. I’ve been using Copernic for some time, the free version. It’s certainly the best desktop search having tried the majority of others.

    However with V3 the free version has, for me, some key functionality disabled. e.g. search as you type and reading pane on the right. These may seem like small niggles but when you use Copernic day in and day out they fast become very annoying.

    Obviously this is to encourage you to buy the Pro version for $49.95. Fundamentally I’m ok with this however you don’t get much extra for the money over the free version. The case to fork out the money is difficult to justify.

    What this has done has forced me to go back and re-evaluate the other options. If Copernic is still the best then I’ll pay.

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  3. As a developer, I have to say that giving out free software is not an obligation that companies have, so essentially what you’re doing when you’re buying the “Pro” version is supporting the developers’ efforts, even though they might be kind enough to put out a free software. I understand that it’s a marketing strategy, but it’s still a favour that the developers do for us, because clearly, they can dumb down or limit the free version severely, so that you can feel that you’re getting more for your money when you get the paid version.

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