I can't imagine using Windows without the Everything app

I can’t imagine using Windows without the Everything app

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There are very few apps I can’t imagine life without, but at the top of this short list is Everything. I’ve been using it for over a decade and it’s been an integral part of my Windows experience.

What is everything?

Everything is a free file finder app for Windows created by programmer David Carpenter in 2008. We shared Everything with our readers for the first time soon after, and some of us, like yours, are using it from.

The most remarkable thing about Everything is the speed, which is why we give it a shout every time we talk about Search Windows Faster.

If you’ve ever used Windows File Search or even some third-party file search tools, the most memorable thing about the experience is how long it takes.

Even after all these years, Windows File Search is excruciatingly slow. Really, it’s agony. In the age of cheap SSDs with instant boot and instant program loading, waiting thirty seconds for Windows to search feels like torture. It doesn’t matter whether you’re still using Windows 7 or upgraded to Windows 11, Windows Search has never been fast.

Everything gets around the shortcomings of Windows file search by doing something that was new when the app was first released and is still new: it taps directly into the file table at the filesystem level for ultra- fast.

How fast is it? It’s so fast that if you create a new file, the moment you open the search box Any moment later, the file is instantly in the index. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to create the file and get to the search field fast enough to beat the almost instantaneous addition of the entry to the Everything index.

The only downside to Everything is that it works off the table of files and filenames and doesn’t index file contents. If you need a tool that will dig deep into documents and help you find key phrases, this isn’t it. But if you’re just trying to find where, exactly, you put that 2022 Johnson Farms Drilling Proposal Rev.A.pdf filing or your tax returns from five years ago is almost magical in its speed and efficiency.

And this is why I find everything indispensable

I titled this piece “I can’t imagine using Windows without the Everything app,” and I say that without a bit of hyperbole. I’ve used Everything daily since its release and on multiple versions of Windows – Windows XP all the way to Windows 11 – multiple computer upgrades and on every Windows machine I’ve owned.

It’s a perfect tool for someone like me. I have a large number of files, in a large number of folders and drives. But as long as I name the files and folders sensibly as they come in, it doesn’t matter where they end up. They can be on drive C, drive G, or even buried in a network drive hosted in my basement (you can enable network drive search in the Everything settings).

No matter where the files are, I can find them if I remember even a fraction of the folder or file name. Old taxes, work forms, Photoshop projects, comics I accumulated five years ago, etc. If I want to, I can bring it to the surface with a few keywords.

For example, Nintendo recently sent a cease and desist letter to the Internet Archive to retrieve their massive archive of old Nintendo Power issues. Naturally, as a long-time hobbyist archivist, this made me think, “Haven’t I stashed some Nintendo Power scans somewhere?” and of course I did. I may have forgotten where they were, but not everything did.

Looking for

This immediately powered by 3,558,139 files and folders on my computer and connected drives to find exactly what I wanted when I wanted it.

Now you might not have 3.5 million files. And you may not have old random files from ten years ago that you want to find. But even for files from the last month, it’s an incredible time saver. If you remember anything about the file (part of the name, file extension, root directory where it might be buried deep), you can dig it up with a few keystrokes.

Even on my laptops, where the files are certainly not piled ten terabytes deep like on my main computers, I always install everything immediately. I just can’t live without this instant file search, and I certainly don’t want to be stuck waiting for Windows Search to sift through files at the rate of one folder per minute.

In fact, after writing this real love letter to the app, I’m going to donate to the project, and hope you download the app and maybe earn a few bucks.

And hey, if you’re on the fenceā€¦it’s freeware. Download it. Try it. Feel the incredible thrill of searching, well, Allon your computer instantly.


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