The Microsoft Windows Search Service itself is pretty powerful and contains a wealth of indexed information with which to find files. Of particular utility is its support for
IFilter which allows third-parties to expose proprietary and binary file formats for indexing - perfect for when
findstr just can't cut it.
However the only way to use the Search Service in Windows is with the tiny File Explorer Search box, with its own search syntax. Things improved in Windows 8 when the Explorer Ribbon added controls for building queries, but it's still far from perfect, my main criticisms are:
- The search box is too small and manually resizing it is a pain
- It always starts searching immediately as you type. This can be useful, but it's also a hindrance as it slows my entire system down (even with PCI-Express SSDs) before even I know what I'm looking for.
- The autocomplete popup sometimes overwrites what I've just written, I don't know why this happens, but it's annoying.
- Even after File Explorer has loaded all of the results, doing a simple view-only operation such as reordering the results will trigger a full re-execution of the search.
- It's difficult to force it to search text files, or files that I know are text files (e.g.
Are there any decent third-party clients or front-ends for the Windows Search Service, that don't try to dumb-down the experience?
(Note: I already use VoidTools Everything Search, which is an amazing upgrade over Windows' built-in search, however it cannot search the contents of files or use Windows' own search index).