A free file search tool is exactly what it sounds like freeware that searches files on your computer. These free file search tools are robust programs, many with dozens more features than the built-in search function your computer has now.
If you’ve always been great at naming and organizing the hundreds or thousands (or more) files on your computer, you might need one of the programs. On the other hand, if you have files all over the place, across several hard drives, a free file search tool is a must.
Wise JetSearch is a free file search utility that can search for files on any attached drive in Windows.
It can search for files on NTFS or FAT drives and supports wildcard search terms for a more flexible search. All connected drives can be searched through at once, including external drives.
Quick search is a small hidden bar that hovers at the top of your screen. You can search from anywhere by just focusing your mouse on it to reveal the search box. Results open in the full program.
Everything is another free file search tool for Windows with a super clean program interface that supports tons of awesome features.
You can use Everything to search from the Windows right-click context menu and find files across several NTFS drives at once, both internal and external ones.
As you begin searching for files, the results show up instantly — there’s no need to wait or press Enter. Newly added or modified files are added to Everything in real-time, so there’s no need to manually re-index the database. According to the Everything website, it takes one second to index around a million files.
There’s a toggle in Everything’s settings you can use to exclude any custom, system, or hidden file and folder from search results to narrow down what you’re looking for.
Everything also includes an HTTP and FTP server so you can access the files of networked computers that also have the program installed.
It would seem the features would stop here, but Everything is even free for commercial use, includes a portable download option, and lets you save searches as bookmarks for easy recall.
Duplicate File Finder
- Easily and quickly weeds out multiple instances of files.
- Works with all file types.
- Highly customizable searches.
- Comes bundled with other software (but you can opt out).
- No “move” option for duplicate files (just “delete”).
There are lots of programs out there that can search for files, but not all of them are made to find duplicate files. This program from Auslogics, aptly called Duplicate File Finder, does just that.
It’s really easy for a hard drive to become overwhelmed with videos and music since those types of files take up lots of space. It’s also simple to accidentally download music you already have, and if you suspect you’ve done that, or that you have old backups you no longer need, a duplicate file finder can clean up the copies.
This file search program can look for duplicates of all file types, or you can pick just images, audio files, videos, archives, and/or application files.
After you pick the file type to look for, the search criteria page lets you specify some settings to make the search really customized. You can ignore files smaller and/or larger than a certain size, ignore file names and file dates, ignore hidden files, and search for files that have certain words in the file name. All of these settings are optional.
You can also specify what should happen to the duplicates that you delete: send them to the Recycle Bin, store them in the built-in Rescue Center in case you want them again later, or delete them permanently.
When it’s time to delete the files, you can sort the duplicates by name, path, size, and date modified. The program automatically selects one of the duplicates so that deleting is just a couple of buttons away.
Be sure to decline any third-party software offers during installation if you only want the file search tool.
- Instant search doesn’t require you to hit “Enter.”
- Searches across all attached drives.
- May come bundled with other software.
Quick Search is the free search utility provided by the Glarysoft software company.
Files are indexed quickly with Quick Search and can be searched through using instant search so you don’t even have to press the Enter key to see them.
When you open Quick Search, a minimized version of the full program is displayed on the bottom of the screen. When you look for files from this search area, the results show in a small popup screen for quick access. You can press the Ctrl key to show/hide the search bar.
Alternatively, open the full program to select a filter option to show just shortcuts, folders, documents, pictures, videos, or music from the results page.
Quick Search indexes files and folders from all attached drives, which means you can traverse all drives to find what you’re looking for.
- Doesn’t take up much memory.
- Includes duplicate file finder.
- Search results appear in separate window.
- Barebones interface.
Despite its tiny 100 KB file size, SearchMyFiles is a portable file search utility for Windows that hosts tons of detailed features.
Regular searches are obviously supported, but SearchMyFiles also includes a duplicate file finder to make it easy to remove cloned files.
The following are several search functions you can modify when searching for files with SearchMyFiles: exclude folders, use wildcards to find subdirectories and files, exclude files by extension, exclude files if they don’t contain certain text, search for files larger and/or smaller than a particular size, include/exclude files identified as read-only, hidden, compressed, encrypted, and archived, as well as search by date created/modified/accessed.
SearchMyFiles can also save the criteria of any search so you can easily open it again in the future, export search results to an HTML file, and integrate itself into the Windows right-click context menu.
- Enables fairly refined searches.
- Offers even more options through context menu.
- Requires trial of professional version upon installation.
- Can’t export results.
FileSeek offers an Exclude paths section in addition to a regular Paths text area so you can really narrow down results before even beginning a search. You can also refine the search parameters with date and file size filters.
The advanced search area is where you can enable case sensitivity, disable searching in subfolders, and more.
FileSeek can be installed as a regular program or downloaded in a portable form.
During setup, FileSeek requires a trial of the professional version to be enabled. You can revert to the free version from the program settings else it will automatically take over after 30 days.
- Allows highly specific searches.
- Accesses NTFS drives without first indexing for extremely fast searches.
- Offers an exclude filter.
- Searches only local disks.
Another free file and folder search tool is called UltraSearch, which features instant search, context menu integration, and an exclude filter.
The exclude filter lets you dismiss files by name, path, and parent folder using wildcards or specific text/phrases.
UltraSearch is really quick and can sort tons of results by details like last modified date or file size in nearly an instant — much quicker than some of the other programs in this list.
You can get UltraSearch as a portable program in a ZIP file or as a regular installer.
You must know the specific type of Windows installation you have before downloading UltraSearch: 32-bit or 64-bit.
LAN Search Pro
- Searches all devices in network.
- Runs smoothly and reliably.
- Doesn’t officially support Windows 10.
As the name suggests, LAN Search Pro is a file search program that searches for files over the network instead of on local hard drives.
Any networked computer that you have login credentials for can be searched with LAN Search Pro. There’s a section in the program to store credentials in case you’re not a system administrator on the networked computers.
Depending on the download link you choose, LAN Search Pro can be installed like a regular application or downloaded and used as a portable program.