UltraFileSearch Lite: One Of The Best Free Replacements To Windows Search

Ads by Google

windows search replacementIt’s a bit of a shame that the Windows Search experience has been lackluster in recent OS releases like XP, Vista, 7, and even (in my opinion) 8. Luckily, for the savvy user, there are a whole mess of third-party solutions that make searching the Windows file system what it ought to be: simple and effective.

Picking at your brain on this subject, the first alternative that should come to many minds is Everything. This piece of software is to searching your Windows PC as Dropbox is to file synchronization. There are others though, and neglecting those options could mean you’re missing out on something you find to be even better!

Another of our writers, Aaron, recently pulled through with an article that introduces users to seven pieces of software in this class. In the comments, I stumbled across a recommendation by one of our great readers: UltraFileSearch. After checking out the software, I thought it’d be right to feature a full article on it and introduce everyone else to the extensive round of features.

Click here to check out the official UltraFileSearch website!

First, be advised that UltraFileSearch is available in two versions: Standard (shareware) and Lite (freeware). In this article, I’ll be covering the Lite edition. If you’d like to check out the differences between both versions, check out the Features page of their page.

windows search replacement

UltraFileSearch is advertised as being compatible with the following versions of Windows:

  • Windows® NT 4.0
  • Windows® 2000
  • Windows® XP
  • Windows® Server 2003
  • Windows® Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Vista®
  • Windows® Server 2008
  • Windows® 7
  • Windows® Server 2008 R2

However, I tested it out on Windows 8 Pro (64-bit) and it worked just fine.

Ads by Google

Both versions are available in hard installation and portable forms. As always, I go for the portable version. The download is only 1.90 MB in size and will take you a quick second. Afterwards, simply extract the archive to a folder of your choice.

free replacement windows search

Getting comfortable with the interface isn’t difficult. While there are other search applications that are more stylish and glossy, UltraFileSearch Lite is aesthetically plain.

free replacement windows search

Just looking at the above screenshot, you can see many of the features available to you in UltraFileSearch Lite:

  • Search by Mode, either Simple or Wildcards for more efficient searching.
  • Support to search external and flash drives.
  • Recursive scanning of subfolders.
  • Search specifically for files or folder names.

While many Windows Search ninjas may know how to utilize aforementioned features with what comes with Windows, UltraFileSearch Lite really puts it out there for you. Across the top, you should also see the Containing Text and Date and Size tabs. These are further ways to narrow your results.

free replacement windows search

Searches for containing text are really great for TXT, PDF, DOCX, and other text-based file formats. UltraFileSearch Lite supports matching words or phrases, case sensitivity, and allows you to include or exclude certain file types.

replace windows search

Searching by date and size can be a great substitute for wildcard searches. If you’re searching for one specific file that you know was modified, created, or last accessed in the past hour, UltraFileSearch Lite is great for pinpointing that. You can also search for files of large sizes if you’re interested in saving disk space, for example.

It should be known that UltraFileSearch Lite installs no services or anything in the background. That being said, no indexing is possible. For users who don’t want a resource-intensive search, this is great. Unlike Everything though, UltraFileSearch Lite also does not create a database of your files per search. Either way, it is just as its name suggests and very light. You’ll find search speeds to be generally slower than another application that supports these features, but any other assumptions about speed are completely dependent on the specifications of your system.

replace windows search

Additional features include the ability to export your search results in multiple different formats. I find the HTML format to be the most pleasing to read and scan over.

replace windows search

You can also export to comma-delimited or plain text formats. You can also change the view of how your search results are displayed.

windows search replacement

Above you can see results displayed as large icons rather than a list. It’s little features like that which make UltraFileSearch Lite a pleasant experience. Another big deal about UltraFileSearch Lite is that it can search any NTFS or FAT systems. Many others don’t support FAT32. You’re also able to search by environment variables and network path names, which are two features that advanced users may find very useful.

Overall, UltraFileSearch may seem to pale in comparison to your trusty Everything, but it will get the job done better than Windows Search. It’s a free and portable application that I think is worth a try. Let me know what you think of UltraFileSearch Lite in the comments!

If you’re pleased with what Windows Search has to offer you, maybe you’d be also  interested in MUO’s guide on Windows 7 search tips!

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Windows Troubleshooting
Windows Troubleshooting
8 Members
Windows_10
Windows_10
7 Members
Windows Hacks & Customization
Windows Hacks & Customization
18 Members
Best Windows Software
Best Windows Software
11 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (20)
  • mac patrocks

    This is my new fav app.

  • Hank Friedman

    Unfortunately, for those of us who have a small SSD C: drive for faster bootup and a D: drive for program and data storage, the free version of this program is useless because you cannot specify search C and D without every other device being searched (e.g. any flash drives attached to the system, disks in the DVD drive, etc.)

    Much Much WORSE however is it missed 79% of the files! I searched my PC for files created since 7 pm and this program found 52, but my Go To search utility found 249! That makes this search tool USELESS.

  • Matthew Zaleski

    While this search tool looks quite interesting, am I the only one that thinks the Windows 8 UI looks like a turd from the 1980’s. It is so godawful ugly and it even ruins quality apps that have the misfortune of using standard Windows controls.

    I never thought the day would come that a desktop OS could regress so far in the UI department from one release to the next. At least 1990’s UNIX GUIs (e.g. Motif) were a “new thing” and still evolving. What is Microsoft’s excuse?

    • Craig Snyder

      Are you speaking from your own experiences or from the looks of the UI based on my screenshots? If it’s all because of me, don’t judge Windows 8 too harshly! I intentionally dumbed down the visuals for my Windows 8 just to get the most performance out of my machine. It pained me to see that Windows 8 doesn’t ship with the Windows Classic theme.

  • Tarek Ramadan

    will try looks better than windows search

  • Anonymous

    I will give it a shot.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.