Finding “that” file on your system

You know it is here, somewhere – that file, contract, draft think piece, document from five years ago that you need to refer to, an attachment within an email, a line of code etc – but where? However, good your filing system, files can hide in folders you do not expect, or have forgotten about, and it can sometimes be time-consuming to track the right files down. The search on Windows does not always find the document you are looking for, and with Windows 10 also searches the Internet (not helpful if you are offline at the time!) so sometimes it is necessary to install further tools to make life easier.

This week, we have been playing with Agent Ransack which is a free file searching utility. There is a Pro version too with added functionality, including searching Outlook – a boon for many businesses, and a corporate version with FileLocator Lite.

The ability to search different drives is incredibly useful as many companies will have certain documents held on specific drives and this narrows down the search. Searching within Office documents and PDFs has meant many supplier brochures, white papers, ebooks and docs can quickly be searched without needing to open each likely document and brochure to double check. The left hand pane lists files found and the right hand pane lists where your search terms (if you cannot remember the file name) occur with a snippet of surrounding context, making it really simple to see if this is the correct result for your search.

The results begin to show even whilst the tool is still searching when the search is very generic, but there are sufficient options to narrow down the search eg dates, file type, Boolean types, regular expressions etc.

For any company with many data files, Agent Ransack is a considerable improvement on the built-in Windows search and considering the tool is free, there is little to lose by trying it on your system, especially if your filing leaves a little to be desired.

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