DK Finder: superfast desktop file search


DK Finder is a desktop search program that employs a sophisticated indexing algorithm to deliver lightning fast search results. It is primarily designed to find files on your system but can also search for keywords contained within files.

The program can also perform a number of excellent file-related operations on search results that go beyond moving and copying to include group-operations, advanced filtering, and exporting results as a collection of shortcuts.

Searching for files on a computer is something that everyone needs (or needed at some point or another). Most people have used the search that comes with Windows which, unfortunately, is sub-par to say the least in terms of performance.

Then there are programs such as Google Desktop and Windows Desktop Search which, in my experience are resource hungry widget-engines in disguise that have the ulterior agenda of “integrating” your desktop with the internet – which might sound ok, until you find that the desktop search program has taken over your system. (Needless to say Google Desktop did not linger for a long time on my computer before I uninstalled it).

Alternately, I would venture to guess that 99% of most people’s desktop search needs revolve around finding files on a computer and filtering results quickly. If this is what you are after I present you with DK Finder, a small, lightning-fast, and powerful desktop search program with some nice features. Here are more notes on this program.

  • The technology: DK Finder is an “indexing” search program that scans your hard drive(s), ’learns’ what’s there and stores it in an index. This means that you will need to perform periodical partial “smart reindexing” at times to keep it up to date.
  • DKFinder filteringFiltering: is one of the strongest aspects of this program. A name filtering box allows you to specify multiple criteria simultaneously, including (/) and (-) for “or” and exclusion, respectively (see image to the right). You can also filter by size and date and/or by keywords inside the files themselves, and finally you can click the column headers to sort your results. Rather powerful and very cool.
  • Performance: search results are almost instantaneous, however, the initial indexing when you first install the program will typically take a few minutes; subsequent reindexing, however (i.e updating the index) will typically take a few seconds (an average of approx 5 seconds on my machine, but this will vary). You can also run a full low-level indexing/re-indexing in the background.
  • File operations: this is one of the most interesting aspects of this program. Aside from the usual copying/moving operations, DK Finder has the ability to create and save shortcut collections for marked files that can be saved into a folder.
  • Where to search: because performing a search provides (almost) instantaneous results, narrowing in on a location for your search scope is done through the filtering function (see above). However, you can specify the folder locations on your hard drives which you might want excluded from the indexing process.
  • Defining filetypes: DK Finder allows you to specify presets that bring a number of extensions together. For example “video files” is by default associated with avi, mpg, mpeg, divx, dvx and mov extensions, and used in a search will pull results for those filetypes. You can define your own presets and/or edit existing ones. You can also define the application used to view, execute, or edit each group of filetypes, such that it can be invoked from the search results within DK Finder.
  • Help: the help file is short and sweet, but what is even nicer is that you can either hover over an element to either get an explanatory tooltip or, if a question mark appears instead, you can click that to get a popup window with information.

Wish list:

  • Shell integration in the right-click context menu: I still find myself wanting to right click a folder to search it recursively.
  • A portable version would be cool (if you need a portable indexing desktop search try “Index Your Files“.

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict:

when it comes to good freeware desktop search options we are spoilt for choice. Some of my favorites are Locate32, Index Your Files, and Agent Ransack (the first two are indexing search apps similar in their approach to DK Finder). Locate32 in particular is a great program, but after using both I prefer this one for two reasons (1) its has a nice user interface and filter box, and (2) if offers a great collection of post-search file operations in the context menu. DK Finder is a very useful and efficient program that delivers an excellent user experience. Highly recommended.

Version Tested:

Compatibility: Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista.

Go to the DK Finder page to download the latest version (approx 963K).

  • Anton

    I think Vista search work fine. I have installed iFilter for pdf and now it is able to search inside pdf too

  • PabloG

    Did you try Find and Run Robot (FARR) with the Locate32 plugin?

    I tried these utilities and now i cannot live without them. I just press “Pause” to open the FARR popup, type “loc” to switch to the Locate32 plugin and type any part of the filename / filepath to search and voila!
    The FARR popup hotkey and the “loc” plugins can be configured, and with a little help from AutoHotkey you can even remap the Win+F hotkey combination (or any other) to open the search dialog.

  • fr


    Great idea, I will try it.

    Personaly I have been using portable XYplorer, search is fast, and has the majority – if not more – of the filters DK Finder provides, and much, much more I cannot live without. “Installation” is only 2mb.

    I don’t like indexing search apps, Vista search, if you are looking for something outside of the indexed folders, is a disgrace.

    The fastest non-indexing, portable search utility I have tried is XSearch: less than 1 second to find a file I have hidden in a sub-sub-sub directory of system 32. With installation, Agent Ransack is also fast, but doesn’t seem to be in development anymore.

  • hi its me

    Is this really any better than Locate32?

  • dg

    I use Locate32 but am vaguely dissatisfied with it and have been open to something convincing me to switch. I was hoping this would be it, but I just installed it and immediately found two deal-breakers.

    First, I couldn’t find any way to schedule a rescan, say every 30 minutes.

    Second, the results list doesn’t seem to respond to the usual way of selecting items–I couldn’t select a subset of the list using shift-click and control-click.

    Please let me know if I’m overlooking things.

  • Leo

    I sound cool, but it looks ugly.

    I can’t use it.

    Thanks anyway!

  • Screamer

    Standalone / single .exe file does not mean portability. xSearch writes settings to the registry.

  • Chuck

    Works, but… It doesn’t like WindowBlinds. DK Finder shuts down when right clicking on a file or when trying to select a menubar item.

  • Phil

    You didn’t mention Copernic desktop search.
    It’s been working faithfully for me,for ages now.
    Is DK Finder any better?

  • Fred Thompson

    Agent Ransack has regex support, really helpful for fuzzy searches. Copernic tests better than Google.

  • heart

    same as what Phil said, I have also used copernic for ages.
    is this better as copernic?

  • zaki

    Nothing beats Ava Find. unfortunately the company stopped development and the latest version is 1.5 works for me like a charm.

  • Rob

    Seems like out of DKFinder and Locate32, Locate32 wins on the basis of scheduling database updates as well as “find as you type” – with DKFinder I need to click a button or hit enter to get it to search.

  • x

    Yeah, uhhh… About “Ava Find”. It’s either $20 per year, or a one-time payment of $40. Let me guess; there are illicit serials floating around…

  • x

    I hate any search util that doesn’t let me search file content, AND show me where in each selected file the search string occurs. FileLocator Pro (the shareware version of Agent Ransack) does this for me. Locate does not, and that’s why I dumped it. That, and the annoying-as-hell need to constantly update its stupid index.

  • Fred Thompson

    Well…don’t forget what file indexing really does, it moves the processing time away from the search app (wrt file attributes) and spreads it into the OS. Personally, I hate it. If you do anything which involves lots of temporary files, indexing is a pain in the butt. IMNSHO, it’s really best for server-type applications like remote databases. Indexing every file change drags the system down and honks me off. Sure, DK Finder and other searches based on existing indexes are very fast but that’s only part of the story.

  • Hi, I’m the author of DK Finder and I’m happy to see this article. HOWEVER: yes, there are problems with Finder and this is why I’m working on a new version. You’ll love it, I promise.

    I’ve seen a question here, about multi-selecting files: of course it can be done, use Ins (like Commander:) or see right-click for more selecting options. Much more convenient than Ctrl+Clicking.

    I’m not trying to be “better” than Locate32 or Copernic, or even Microsoft Things. They can do stuff that I can’t and vice versa. I’m trying to provide a screwdriver-like tool which won’t jump into your hand and figure out what you’re probably planning to do – it just does the job when you decide to use it.

  • abbas

    index your files (iyf) is better. i installed both of them,
    1- DK finder has many bugs when you want to use some of its options it stops to work and to close it you must press alt+ctrl+del
    2- iyf has more usefull features like opening windows standard context menu, open folder (DK has alt+E here but it is not user friendly), playin most of the files inside iyf and many others
    please write an article about iyf and change the your idea of pick programs

  • Correct, I wasn’t able to manage the standard windows context menu. DKF 3 can do it.

    But no, Finder doesn’t freeze. Not that I’m aware of. No one ever reported such thing and it never happened on any of my computers. How did you do that?

  • Samer

    Let me know when the new version is finished and I will update this review and push it back to the top of the blog.

    I really like DK Finder, more than Locate32. I do not think it is ‘ugly’, in fact just the opposite, no’r have I seen it to freeze.

    I hope that you can implement some of the suggestions though such as as-you-type-results, a scheduled re-scan, and a more standardized file selection process, etc.

    PS: thanks for creating this program and putting it out there for free!

  • Jeff

    I have been using X1 and it works super fast also has a great preview pane.

  • mmmnn

    The one thing that will really make me install this software is: duplicate finder/remover.

    Searching for files, explorer gets the job done for my needs.

  • Samer: thank you, I’m going to finish DKF3 by the end of the year, probably sooner. Standard selection is a minimum, of course, but I have problems with usual controls since they are much slower than Finder itself. A list of 10.000 files takes them about 10-12 sec to display while the actual search is about 2s. These problems must either be solved or worked around somehow before I release DKF3. Anyway: of course I’ll let you know! And I hope you’ll like it much better than this one.

    mmmnn: surprise, one of the key features of DKF3 will be a duplicate finder/manager. Generated file lists are ideal for doing such things. Just like directory size stats, and many more.

  • abbas

    i must admit that there is some good features

    in this freeware and i use it beside iyf and

    agentran, but adding these features will make

    it better. i hope they wouldn’t seem very ideal

    or optimistic.
    1- standard windows context menu and open

    folder option in right click menu.
    2- an integrated viewer for text and media

    files. enabling thumbnail view for pictures

    will be a good idea. i suggest an internal

    codec to view doc files too
    3- it would be a good idea to enable standard

    search alongside with index search. i mean to

    add agentran capabilities to this freeware. it

    would be better to add it in windows context

    menu like agentran.

  • Thanks Abbas. Many of these are already on my todo list but I’m going to try my best for the rest.

  • RUSHfan

    Cant sort results by type?

    Confirmation just to rescan?

    No Ctrl + ALt + + resizeing?

    Thanks for the effort but i feel sorry for anyone that uses this before they try Locate or AgentRansack. Ya cant build a better mouse trap i guess.

  • idodialog

    And the winner is ….
    Everything (
    Tiny, simple, tiny memory usage, fast!
    I’m a long long time user of Locate and I’ve tried DK but really for everyday use Everything requires no admin and until I use it I don’t know it’s there. Somehow it is ready to find things on external hard drives pretty well as soon as I turn them on.
    Its everything I wanted Locate to be.

  • SimplyJhun

    Dk Finder and Locate32 has amazing search ability… i like DK Finder and Locate32, i’ve been using Them. Dk Finder Much more faster than Locate32, but the fact! DK Finder has no or you Can’t Drug and drop into the other application or an folder and doesn’t have an icon when you search an file such as… example mp3, you can’t specify more faster which is the data you’d like to search or to find. Locate32 have that characteristic what i say.
    Mr. dkeller can i make some request? once you make a new version of DK finder can you just a drag and drop into other file and can you show up the icon every file it search?
    Thank for this software and i’m waiting to the new version that you will release soon!

  • CK

    Hello, it is possible to use DK Finder to search in the network drive (por example k:\ or \\server\)?