Desktop Search Tool Revolution
July 10, 2007
Search isn’t just for lost items anymore, it’s THE FASTEST AND EASIEST way to retrieve stuff on your computer.
So you’d have to have been living under a rock for the last several years not to have heard about desktop search tools, but have you started using one yet? You should, and here’s why:
The average knowledge worker (office worker) spends about two hours per day just looking for stuff. That doesn’t mean that the stuff is lost (although that’s a factor). That’s just the amount of time we need to retrieve, information, files, emails, etc. to get our work done. A desktop search tool (DST) can dramatically reduce the time spent retrieving information on your machine. Here’s how:
The technology allows for lightning fast results, and the user interface is much more intuitive then the search features that come standard with windows. Vista users rejoice, it’s already built into your OS. For other PC users out there, remember using the old “windows search” only as a last resort - because it could take upwards of ten minutes to search your whole machine. Desktop search tools make that a thing of the past.
So what makes these tools so much faster? It’s because traditional computer searches are “real time” searches. That is, when you do a keyword search your machine goes folder by folder, document by document, word by word, looking for matches.
DSTs take an entirely different approach by “indexing” your computers files all at once, and saving this information in a convenient searchable format which is seamless to the user. Here’s how this helps you. Rather than taking ten minutes to find your document, DSTs accomplish the same search in seconds (often 3-5 secs). It fetches every instance of the key word or phrase on your machine. DSTs search email, PDF files, spreadsheets, etc. basically, most of the text found on your machine including the body of your docs, not just the file name. The Windows DST even allows you to type in a folder name and launch it from within the search tool, eliminating the need to drill down into your file directory.
Now, as great as these tools are, they do have a few minor downsides. Because the search tools need to maintain the “index” file, they are always running in the background. This uses system resources, and can slow your machine - I noticed a very minimal impact. They also can conflict with other applications (again, this is rare). There are also still some concerns about security. All that said, I use mine all the time, and wouldn’t know what to do without it. I’d say I save a minimum of thirty minutes per day by using a DST.
So which one is the right one for you? I’ve listed links to a few of the major DST providers, as well as a link to an article that compares the most popular DTS tools here.
Read about how to maximize Desktop Search Tools here