Noggle: search the content of all your files

Noggle

I previously wrote about how two Desktop Search programs, Lookeen and X1 Search) miserably failed me and recommended a little free program called “Everything” to quickly find any file on your computer. I use it everyday and rarely use the Windows Explorer anymore to locate a file.

But there is one limitation with Everything: Setting it up so that it also searches the contents of your files is not easy and when you have it set up and it finds a file based on a search term it contains, it still won’t tell you where in the file you can find the term. You will have to open the file and do another search within the file.

Not a big deal, you may say, but a couple of weeks ago, I discovered Noggle and I’d like to encourage you to try it out (and report back here, if you like). I have not yet used it enough to give a final verdict, but I looks like it pretty much beats any other desktop search program I’ve tried. And: it’s free for non-commercial use.

Unfortunately, the UI diverges a lot from the standard Windows experience so that you’ll have to experiment amd try stuff out a bit. I suppose you get used to it after a while.

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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!