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The most exhaustive Windows desktop search tools comparison

Adam Baratz has done an elaborate comparison of the popular tools here. To him, indexing is not really anything big, it already exists in Windows - the real novelty of desktop search apps can be found in their interfaces. The central design problem in these programs isn't finding the best way to catalog your information, but finding out how to let you best traverse it.

Adam covers the more popular tools like , Copernic, MSN, Yahoo! Desktop Search and Ask Jeeves Desktop Search. I was a little surprised to see that there was no mention of and Filehand which are free as well as very promising with some unique features like Smart Folders and Fly-By previews.

remains Adam's favourite.

MSN Desktop makes a strong first impression and continues to impress as you use it. It catalogues the most file types and has limitless possibilities for expansion. It's easy to use, but gives power to users who desire it. A number of users have documented neat hacks, like slimming the deskbar and writing clever scripts for it. Microsoft also runs a great Wiki for getting tips and suggesting new features. While it has its own share of oddities and sore omissions (web history, please!), it comes highly recommended as is.

Adam makes a strong point - Desktop search software still has a very long way to go. Currently it is little more than a repackaging of older technology. "Desktop searching" will truly come into its own when it becomes more than just a speedier search and helps us through the morass of information that we encounter every day.