Windows operating system has a built-in Windows Search feature that allows you to search files, folders, apps and settings in your system. In addition, you can use File Explorer for finding files with filters. You can customize the indexing to include or exclude folders and file types in results. But these default search functions do not work efficiently and distractive with Bing AI and web results. If you fed up with the default search and looking for alternatives, here are the top 5 options which are not only smart and quick but also provide additional customization options.
Alternatives to Windows Search and File Explorer Search
Here are some of the reasons why File Explorer and Windows Search are annoying and you want to get rid of them. File Explorer has limited search filters to get correct files you are searching for. In addition, most of the time it will be slow and show “Working on it…” when you try to search.
Similarly, Windows Taskbar Search also shows the endless progress bar indicating indexing is slow. Another annoying problem in certain countries is that you can’t change the language of automatic web results showing in Windows Search. For example, laptops purchased from China will show Chinese results though you have English as display language.
You can try out the following apps and select the most suitable one for yourself as replacement for default search function in Windows 11 / 10.
This is a lightweight and easy to install freeware search tool available for Windows. Everything is super-fast and takes just a few seconds to build its database. It offers a wide range of features including instant filename indexing, fast searching, minimal resource usage and real-time updating.
- Go to voidtools.com and download the free installer file.
- Run the file and install the app in your system.
- You can quickly search any file or folder using filters. Click on the “View” menu and check the Filters, Preview, and Status Bar options.
- Now type the name of file/folder and select the filter to get the specified search result.
- You can save the current search, filter, sort, or index using the “Bookmarks” option. Click on the “Bookmarks” menu and you will see your current search term there. For instance, we have searched for tools and you will find it there as a last menu item. This way you can easily do the repeated search anytime later.
- For a more complex search, you can use “Advanced Search” option under “Search” menu.
UltraSearch is an excellent alternative for Windows Search. It works very fast by searching files/folders directly in Master File Table (MFT) of local NTFS drives and provides search results with a complete overview. Go to Jam-software.com to download its portable file and open the app. Note that search filters using date / file size and manage multiple files like renaming / deleting them are pro features. The pro version of UltraSearch app which costs $28.95 one-time payment.
- For efficient search, first select a specific disk drive or a search folder. Then enter the keyword or filename and the app will show live search results while you type.
- For a more accurate search, you can use the filters option. For that go to the “Filters” menu and select Size filters, Date filters, Exclude filter, or Filegroup filter.
SearchMyFiles is a perfect alternative for Windows Search as it provides highly customized search results. You can conveniently search files in several ways including by wildcard, by file attributes, by file size, by file content, and by last modified/created/last accessed, etc. SearchMyFiles doesn’t require any installation, simply download the free executable file from Nirsoft website and open the app.
- You can specify the folder where you want to search in the “Base Folders” and also exclude the folder from the scan using the “Excluded Folders” option.
- You can specify the wildcard for scanning the files and subfolders using the “Files Wildcard” option.
- SearchMyFiles also helps you to search files/folders using the size. Under “File Size” section, select the range of size and click on the “Start Search” button.
- Similarly, you can also search based on file attributes by selecting them under “Attributes” section. For instance, if you want to search Read-only files, set the “Read Only” option as “Yes” and start the search process.
- After selecting the options, you will get the search results within seconds as shown below.
- SearchMyFiles app also allows you to find duplicate files/folders easily. For that click on the “Search Mode” and choose “Duplicates Search”. Then, choose the “Base Folders” and other Search Options to optimize the search results.
Listary is another lightweight search utility for Windows 11 that works similar to default Windows Search. You can search the entire disk or any specific folder to find files or open apps. Go to the official website of Listary and download its free version.
- Press the Control key two times to open the search bar of Listary. Then start typing the file you are looking for. As you start typing, Listary begins to show results related to your keywords.
- For opening an app (called Launch App), all you have to do is type the app or program name in the search bar. Now click on the app/program from the shown search results and launch it.
- To use the “Actions & Context” menu feature, search the file/app you want to work on. Among the search results, go down and press the right arrow key to open the “Actions” menu.
For more advanced features, you can upgrade to pro version of the app for $19.95 which offers custom themes and indexing features.
FileSearchy is a powerful and freeware file-finder tool available for Windows 11. It allows you to search files based on a content string, size and date. It searches fast by performing quick indexing and maintaining a lightweight database of filenames. FileSearchy has a tabbed interface to run multiple searches so that you can work more efficiently. Download the app from majorgeeks.com and open it.
- Type the file you want to search in the box and press enter key. You can also filter your search by All, Directory, Document, Executable, Music, or Video.
- For opening a new tab, simply click on the plus icon showing next to the searched keyword. Now, you can type your keyword and do a new search without closing the previous one.
- You can also use the “Search Parameters” section in the sidebar section to use filter and get search results quickly.
Default Windows Search feature is cluttered with unnecessary stuffs in Windows 11. Otherwise, you need to go to File Explorer to find specific file or folder which also does not have user friendly interface. Sometimes, indexing is very slow that you will not find new files or the search show progress bar and you need to wait long time. So, consider using one of the alternatives for Windows Search and File Explorer search as explained above. Most probably, you will stick to the third-party app and will never use the default search again.
If you decided to go with third-party app, it is a good idea to hide the Windows Search box/button from the Taskbar to avoid distraction. You can do this by going to “Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar items” and select “Hide” for “Search” option.
You can still access the search box from Start menu or by pressing “Win + S” keys, though this hides the search from Taskbar to keep it clean.