Lookeen and X1 Search suck! – Everything just works

Haha, what a weird title! So let’s get this straight first: with “Everything”, I mean this little freeware program called Everything, which allows you to find any file on your computer within one second. Literally. I’ve been using it for years and it’s about time I mention it here. You just press a shortcut of your choice (In my case: Ctrl + Shift + J), a search window opens:

everything1

You start typing whatever you remember about the file, say, you know it’s in your dropbox and it’s a png file, so you type “dropbox png” (without the quotation marks) and it will immediately show you all png files in your dropbox (make sure you have “Match Path” activated in the Search Menu):

everything2

As you can see in the screenshot, you may not even have to type the whole word dropbox. – Of course, if you know the file name (or parts thereof) you would type that. Doubleclick the file to open it or drag and drop it into your email to send it off or whatever you want to do with it.

Now, everything has its limitations, and so does Everything: it only indexes file names and paths (i.e. the folders and sub-folders where the file is stored). So when I found out about two desktop search engines, Lookeen and X1 Search, which will even index the contents of your files, I was enthusiastic about the possibilities that would open up, for example to search all my pdf journal articles for a particular word or phrase.

So I tried both. And both were a nightmare. Both of them kept using a significant proportion of my CPU for several days, allegedly still indexing all the files, but eventually I figured out that since X1 was not accessing the disk at all, it must have crashed. I went back and forth with their support for a while, but to no avail. The user experience was crap, even when I finally did manage to get it to finish indexing and could run som searches. One problem was that some pdf files were not displayed properly, it was just a mess of letters and symbols (though I think that was eventually fixed, if I remember correctly). Like this:

But the main problem is that if the pdf is a scanned document, it will only bring you to the page where your search term is, but it won’t highlight the term (the pdf viewer they use can’t  do that kind of overlay over an image, as explained here).

Lookeen wasn’t any better. It never stopped using CPU and I’m not sure if it ever managed to finish the indexing job, but I did conduct some searches and here the problem is that it doesn’t even take you to the page in the document where your search term is. The email search in Outlook didn’t work properly (worse than Outlook’s own, if you know what that means).

Sorry, this is not a proper review but I just couldn’t be bothered to write it up, because the verdict is just so clear: don’t bother. Or if you do want to try either of them and you encounter problems, just uninstall. Otherwise you’ll just waste your time. If, however, you do not encounter issues, please comment below and let us know.

The main point of this post was, however, not to bash X1 search and Lookeen, but to praise Everything, which just works (and it just takes seconds until a newly created file is available in the search).

A commercial alternative to Everything, btw, is Quickjump. It does exactly the same as Everything and it works fine (I used it for quite some time before I found Everything) but it’s not as flexible as Everything (which lets you customize a lot!), so I don’t see why you’d want to spend 30 USD on something you can get for free. Thank you to David Carpenter and the other contributors for giving us that nice piece of software!

8 thoughts on “Lookeen and X1 Search suck! – Everything just works

  1. Not paying for software is making people poor and unhealthy, please consider the health and wealth of the individual(s) putting work into “everything” and other software.

      • Thanks for answering Tracy’s question.

        As for glossing Everything’s inability to index emails: As one of Everything’s limitations I stated that it “it only indexes file names and paths (i.e. the folders and sub-folders where the file is stored).” Perhaps I should have clarified that this means that it does not index file content, including the content of emails?

        Anyway, it is possible to search file content with Everything but not via its own index, so it is very slow. See here: https://www.voidtools.com/faq/#does_everything_search_file_contents

  2. This is not really a fair comparison. It’s like comparing a set of screw drivers to a set of wrenches. They do different things. I’ve used Everything for years. It’s fantastic. But now I’m looking to find something that will search email content since the Outlook 2016 search engine doesn’t work very well. Both X1 and Lookeen do that but are not free. I’ve only tried Lookeen with their trial since I don’t want to spend almost 100 bucks on x1. So far it seems to be working. But I rarely need to do this type of searching, so I’m still looking for an Everything type free solution. Till then, I may have to struggle with trial versions as needed or just pay for it.

  3. I haven’t tried that software yet. When I did a search for x1 alternatives, Noogle didn’t show up. I thought it was a dead project.

    As for my experience with Lookeen, I think it’s still early for me to say one way or another. I just recently started looking for this capability which is how I came across your post. I honesty didn’t notice that you posted this about 2 years ago. So they may have fixed those glitches you were experiencing. For me, it’s been doing what I need it to do. Just wish Outlook would do this natively. But it obviously has problems searching its own databases since there are so many 3rd party search engines. The only thing I’m finding is that it’s taking a long time to complete the indexing and consuming a lot of CPU in doing so. But I have many years of emails so i’m expecting it to go idle once it finishes the indexing. Also, i noticed that it isn’t finding new emails while it’s indexing what was started. And the ctlr, ctlr shortcut doesn t seem to work on my Win 10 machine. I may give Noogle a try if I’m still needing this functionality by the time my trial is over. Hopefully all will be back to normal after covid…

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