Locate32 – A Fast, Efficient, Desktop Search Tool for XP

July 26, 2010 in Reviews by Tom Henderson

As the years go by, we find ourselves saving more and more important information on our computers. Digital photos, text documents, spreadsheets, video, the list of file types goes on and on.

As the number of saved files grows, it becomes more and more difficult to find any one specific file amidst the growing jungle of digital data.

If you’re using Windows 98, ME or XP, the default “Search” tool has a lot to be desired. It’s incredibly slow and it doesn’t find every file associated with the search phrase you enter. It will find most or all of the folders, but rarely finds all of the actual files, based on file name.

I did a “Search” on my Windows XP machine for “sitepoint”, the name of a favorite programming Web site of mine. The Windows XP search tool returned 11 results; 6 folders and 5 files. The search took about 80 seconds to complete.

I did the exact same search with the search tool, Locate32, and it returned 37 results; 16 folders and 21 files… in about 3 seconds!

Locate32 is a free, small footprint, search tool that works at lightning speed! Their Web site states, “Locate32 is a file finder which works by indexing all your files on your hard disk drive and thus is able to provide almost instant access to them.”

In my above example, Locate32 was able to retrieve more than 3 times the number of search results that Windows XP “Search” tool returned… in about 3.75% of the time.

As a side note, the Microsoft people must have been working over-time on the search tool for the Windows 7 operating system… because it totally ROCKS! It too must be using an internal database of the directory structure, because like Locate32, it too is very fast… and returns some excellent search results.

Not so sure about the VISTA search tool as I totally avoided that situation.