I would like to know if there are some active open source projects to develop alternatives to Google Desktop or Regain for Windows 7.

The situation is the following:

  • I have a folder full of PDF documents (organised in many subfolders). There is a least one document updated or created every day,
  • I often need to search some words and sentences in these documents,
  • Windows search and Agent Ransack are too slow and their interfaces do not suit my needs,
  • The interface of Regain suits my needs almost perfectly: I type my search criteria and I get a list of result with a short overview, but I can't restrict the search perimeter to a specific directory,
  • The last update to regain was on 2014-07-30 - this makes me wonder if it is outdated or uses obsolete components (and I wouldn't want to compromise the security of my computer),
  • I searched on many websites before posting here (This topic led me to Regain).

Here is an example of search results with Regain: Regain: example of search results


3 Answers 3


I used to use Recoll and it was very neat: http://www.lesbonscomptes.com/recoll/ It uses poppler, the well-known PDF library.

Modern OS often have such search features by default, for instance Fedora provides Nepomuk. They can be very resource-intensive, though.

  • Thanks! I failed to mention though: the software needs to run on Windows. I updated my post to add the missing information.
    – Lucien
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 18:55
  • Oh. Maybe someone will do a port. Apparently Poppler is available in Windows too, so that's one thing less to worry about.
    – Nemo
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 18:58
  • 1
    Recoll now has an almost native port to windows; see the news at lesbonscomptes.com/recoll ... you might have to compile from source. Stay tuned for an installer, it's likely on its way.
    – baitisj
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 20:19

From Brian Z.'s answer: DocFetcher is a cross-platform solution under Eclipse Public License and seems very powerful judging from the documentation.


Anyway you mentioned that you have all the documents arranged in folders, in that case, try Adobe Reader's advance search feature.

Once you have opened the Adobe reader, Shift+Ctrl+F should bring up the interface [ or you can navigate by Edit(menu) -> Advance Search ] I noticed that for Regain you are running a server ( it must be a light weight one, but still its an extra process ) Screenshot is from Adobe Reader XI version. Advance Search Interface

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