“Everything”: small, lightning fast desktop search for NTFS drives


“Everything” is a free, lightning fast file and folder name search program that offers right-click context menu integration.

It works with NTFS filesystem hard drives only because it does not scan your hard drive but rather uses the Master File Table of the NTFS volume to build its database.

If your hard drive(s) is NTFS formatted and if you are looking for a super-fast program for searching file and folder names that beats the pants off of Windows’ default search function, this program may be it. It may be, in fact, the fastest desktop search program (for files and folder names) that I have ever seen

I will admit that before I encountered this program I thought that desktop search programs were of two types: the kind that scans your hard drive on demand on the one hand, and “indexing” search programs on the other that scan your hard drive, store the result in a database, and then use various methods to keep that database updated with subsequent changes. And although “Everything” is in fact similar to the aforementioned “indexing” desktop search programs (it does indeed build an index), there is a difference in that it doesn’t do this by actual, time consuming scanning of the hard drive.

The way “Everything” works is by accessing the NTFS USN Change Journal maintained by the NTFS drivers, which logs all changes made on the NTFS drive. It uses the raw Master File Table for building its database, which is very fast (1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute), but it only works with NTFS drives. More info on this program:

  • Updating the database: aside from the initial indexing (which is superfast) you do not need to worry about this. You never need to reindex manually, and the program does not need to be running in memory at all times. All files are monitored, including system files.
  • Search results: right click “Search Everything ..” on a folder or drive and you get a “flattened” list of results that include all files and folders inside recursively (hence the name “Everything”). You can then type into the search box to filter the result or click on a column header to sort them.
  • Everything Screenshot Context MenuContext menu integration: is one of my favorite features; right click on a folder or drive and search on the spot. Also a great way to view a “flattened” folder with all files and subfolders displayed in one big list.
  • Filtering: can use boolean operators, wildcards, and (optionally) “regular expressions”. This means that the user has significant power/flexibility in terms of what they can search for. It will be worth your while to go here to get to grips with the search syntax, as it really is quite powerful.
  • Connecting to ETP/HTTP/FTP servers: an added option that seems a little out of place in a desktop search app. I have not explored this personally, but I will quote an email exchange with the author of this software: “the servers are there for remote access and searching. While the ETP/FTP/HTTP are probably not for general use… I use the ETP server on my fileserver, and connect to that from my TV computer. This allows me to quickly find TV-Series, music etc… from my TV computer that are on my fileserver. There is no remote indexing yet, only local NTFS volumes are indexed.”
  • Drive PropertiesNTFS: only files/folders that are on NTFS volumes will be indexed by “Everything”. To find out if you have an NTFS formatted drive/partition right click “properties” on the drive icon and go to the “general” tab (see image to the right). To convert your FAT32 formatted drive to NTFS see this Microsoft Help article or search Google.
  • Resource consumption: is supposed to be very low. To quote the program site “a fresh install of Windows XP SP2 (about 20,000 files) will use about 3-5mb of ram and less than 1mb of disk space. 1,000,000 files will use about 45mb of ram and 5mb of disk space”. A quick check of memory consumption on my machine showed “Everything” taking up approx. 11 megs, which is very little considering what this program does.

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Filtering by files/folder/all: one thing I would like to see is a quick, radio-button style filter for viewing “files”, “folders” or “all”.

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict: needless to say I love this program (almost enough to consider it as yet another reason to have NTFS formatted drives rather than FAT32). If you (like me) are lucky enough to have NTFS formatted drives then you should definitely install it; the speed and flexibility that it provides is simply terrific. I love the context menu integration, I love the powerful search syntax (even as it is somewhat cumbersome at first), and I love the fact that I never need to re-index or worry about the file list being out of date. Highly recommended.

[Thanks go to reader Idodialog for letting me know about this program in the comments section of my DK Finder review].

Version Tested:

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 293K).

  • Catboy85

    Hey, small internet:). This started as an autohotkey script. talk about fast, I don’t get why other programs don’t use this system.

  • jack

    why is the link to the program so tiny

  • Catboy85

    He wants to make sure you read his review first?

  • Zop

    My friend’s HDD filesystem table lost after use this and close it and then open that file in explorer.

    I am not sure if it is a bug or something.
    Because it’s ok for me.
    Does anyone get the same problem? Lost filesystem table with this?

  • Woody

    Really nice piece of software! Thx! ^^

    My only wish would be to register Everything as
    windows standard search protocol. It is one thing
    that Locate32 can do.
    Does any one know if that’s possible and how to do it? I would really appreciate!
    I have already tried to manipulate the “Search protocol – Register.reg” that comes with Locate32, in order to make it work for Everything. But no success…

    Thanks in advance! 😉

  • Woody

    Aah, sorry!

    I forgot to say: I’m on Vista SP1.

  • CGA

    Used to praise Locate 32 but this beats everything, including Locate, hands down.

  • Kaerigan

    Holy crap this is fast. Thanks! XD

  • idodialog

    As a long time user of Locate, now irrevocably switched to Everything (about a month) I gotta say Everything is simply stunning. Not only is it very (VERY) fast, loads up multiple big drives in seconds (how does it do that?), seems to have a really tiny footprint and is simplicity itself. Maybe Locate can do things Everything can’t – but whatever they are I never used them and it had just too many (admittedly small) annoyances.

  • if been looking for a good search engine for a long time and after i found everything a few months ago my search stopped.
    thumbs up!

  • Wish I could find a good use for these local search tools at home. I find them only useful for work environments.

  • Yaron

    It’s very very nice. I was impressed by the speed, and the convenient interface and search functionality.

    The one major think it’s missing is Unicode support.

    Also, to the level that it’s written in the file system anyway, the ability to search for dates and sizes could be an improvement. But for most search cases (at least for me) that’s minor and it’s pretty good as-is.

  • M

    No unicode support. Too bad 🙁

  • raimond

    the new beta has unicode support:

  • x

    Why is it always so hard to find the home page for software titles that are reviewed? It’s always a small-font, hard-to-find link. Why not make a button using an image?

  • raimond

    For weeks I did a google search of software reviewed in freewaregenius. Could not find the download link. Now, I know where it is. 🙂

  • raimond

    Everything uses quit a lot of ram on my PC: 175.000 files 29 MB ram. 🙁

  • T.

    a fantastic software. I used locate32 before, now everything.

    However, I prefered the way of searching of locate.
    1) search variable,-search variable not to find

    this does a search of all files with this variable but without the 2nd search variable in the string

    2) search variable,+search variable

    this search both variables in the string

    3) search variable,search variable

    this search one or the other search variable

  • Toni

    Great find! Wonder why Windows doesn’t use this method by default.

  • Calep

    I switched from Locate to Everything me too. A lighting fast little gem. Strongly recommended

  • @T. You can turn on Regex on Search>enable Regex for that. You must learn Regex first.

  • T.


    Yes it is good that search with regular expressions is available in everything.
    Regex can be very powerful.

    However I find searching in dos command mode easier. The problem is that you can’t define in everything a pattern (without using regex) to include one searchterm and exclude another search term (in the same search).

    In locate you use the “-” symbol.

  • T.

    why does this not work in everything:

    with regex enabled?

    All names returned

  • Chocobito

    Wow, really fast. Now I can replace Windows Search with Everythigs in the Start Manu with tis little tool :RerouteXPSearch.
    You can find this in http://www.winhelponline.com/articles/99/1/How-to-replace-Windows-XP-Start-menu-Search-with-a-third-party-search-tool.html

  • Boogie

    I’ll have to join the crowd of people bashing about the tiny (almost unnoticeable) links to the software’s homepage. I already know where those links usually are, but the newcomers to your site will have to suffer for a couple of minutes in search of the precious link.

  • T.

    Yes, correct.
    But this site is still one of the best on the web.
    The owner creates great reviews.

  • cicom3nd3z

    Great software, thanks!

    About RAM usage: I guess everything loads the list of files/folders in ram for fast search. So lots of files = lots of RAM used. But by unchecking Run in background in options, closing the main window will also exit the app (at least in beta ver.). It starts pretty fast so I don’t need it running in background.

  • Jayendran

    Blazingly fast! I switched to Everything from Locate.

  • blogward

    Couldn’t get it to work – it hangs ‘scaning'(sic) an NTFS USB portable drive.

  • zippodemos

    Hello Samer,

    I’m very impressed with this search engine, it retrieves results in no time and as I just type with no apparent effect on my RAM, I was using SearchGT (payware) but this one easily beats it.

    Now, one feature I’d love to see implemented is integration with Windows Explorer, specially in the file dialogs (sorta like FlashFolder, docked to a side): just type in the folder you are looking for, find it, click on it and save/open any given file in there instead of endlessly spidering through all the folder structure.

    Thanks for the great finding!


  • djm

    Doesn’t work on network drives.

  • RxR

    From the review and comments, it sounds like it’s a nice program, but unfortunately it’s little use to me because it doesn’t search for actual content of files, only file and folder names. I’ll stick to using Agent Ransack.

  • Marc Savoy

    Haven’t used earlier versions of google desktop search (I understand it faster than it once was) other desktop search apps,and the Windows default search to often agonizingly slow response, poor results on Vista SP1 I didn’t expect much from Everything.
    but I must say how simply amazed I am with both the lightning fast speed and absolute thoroughness of its search. This is one truly great product.

  • robert

    For my needs, searching program code files mostly, I want to see the hits in context. I also don’t need to need or want to have files be indexed since I generally know the projects I want to look in and indexing can be very annoying.
    I used to use Examine32, which is good but not free. Later I switched to AgentRansack (http://www.mythicsoft.com/agentransack/), which still has a free but substantially crippled version.
    For some time now I’ve been using AstroGrep (http://astrogrep.sourceforge.net/) which is now my current favorite and does everything I need.

  • I recommend to review StopKa – Desktop search tool.
    It search files quickly. StopKa support indexing drive content and direct files search. It has similar files search feature, also it possible to find duplicates for files. StopKa has flexible configuration and multi language interface. It support auto classification. You can handle with several millions of files in one pane and get possibility to sort files at any its attribute. Here are screenshots:

  • why did you delete my comment? do you fear to hear the better soft exist?

  • ok, I’ll try once more.
    StopKa desktop search tool – http://www.stopka.us
    As I think StopKa is better, but I’m the author – so you should check this. 1 thing what I say – StopKa search a little bit faster and has more possibilities for search.

  • Samer

    @ vitali_y: exactly why would I worry that a better software exists?

    If your comment was made in Dec it may have been lost alongside many others when the server crashed.

    Otherwise it may have been deleted by my Spam filter, which (who knows?) may have more wisdom than I thought.

    This program does not seem better at all to me…

  • Samer, you are right – this is your blog and I should not pollute it with my “ads”. At least pay attention for my software – that is all what is necessary for me.

  • cipher

    This is the best file search app i have come around so far.

  • JoWazzoo

    Everything (except for the name :-)) is beyond a doubt one of the best tools I have ever found and I have tried multiple thousands over the years. It is so small and so fast it is rather unbelieveable. When it is first loaded/initiated it takes a little bit to build its internal index (and I am talking seconds – not lots of minutes or hours). From then on just let it run in the tray and it will peform a search in nano-seconds. Yes, I have tried it on a system with tens of thousands of files.

    One of my key uses for it is to assist in finding malware crap on my machine. More than once it has provided great assistance in that use – e.g. most recently dealing with Confiker/Downadup (sp?).

    One time I was fool enough to DL the M$ piece of crap search program which is freaking huge, eats RAM & CPU like they are free and is generally slower than death. Everything is not in the same league. Oh, btw – removed the M$ crap in less than one day.

  • OAlexander

    Highly recommended. It changed the way I work and quickly access files across all my local hard-drives. It surely could be improved in one way or the other – eg., sort by extension – but already the way it is, it is much faster than drilling oneself through to all the varying file-locations and running file searches the usual way.

  • This program does not search network drives. At all. That’s a complete dealbreaker. Locate32 (www.locate32.net) is a FAR better alternative, just as fast at locating files but ten times more options, works with network drives, multithreaded drive indexing, can search within files, and is also free.

  • Roy

    I recommend TheSearchMan.

    unlike Everything , TheSearchMan’s database is encrypted and it doesn’t show ALL files at the startup.
    The database of Everything is on the most wanted List of hackers as it lists all your files.

    TheSearchMan is a mere 30 KB download.
    It is portable also. That means NO INSTALLATION.

    Unlike Everything or Locate32 which can only search in the index, TheSearchMan can do real searching,ie, in the drive with a super fast speed.

    It searched my 50GB Seagate drive in a little over 2 seconds.
    It has bagged many 5 stars and Top Software awards.

    The interface of TheSearchMan is extremely simple.
    Just enter the path and search criteria

    TheSearchMan’s database is updated on the fly.

    The home page is:

    Its also been reviewed by ghacks and addictivetips.

  • The DataRat

    Functions without a glitch on both my Vista 64-bit and 32-bit machines. If you don’t need encryption or network search, Everything is excellent. Far superior to Microsoft’s search facility on either XP or Vista. Faster than XP’s native search utility, and -most importantly- compared to Vista’s native search it finds …well, it finds ~everything~ ! ( Which the Windows search doesn’t. )

  • Stan

    TheSearchMan is AWESOME!!!!

    I didn’t knew Everything could be so dangerous as pointed out by Roy.

    I deleted my everything and I use TheSearchMan now.

  • Tiger of India

    I liked this TheSearchMan and from the looks of their homepage,
    It has completed 10000 downloads.

    I was really shocked to see that the programmer of TheSearchMan is a
    boy of 16 years!
    Can you believe that!!
    well its true.

    I’ll really recommend it.

  • Kurt

    Under win7 you get garbage at start up like this

  • Anonymous

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  • Lurking

    I found Jam Software’s free UltraSearch and love it. You select which drives and as you type it searches MFT tables. Faster than TheSearchMan when I did them side-by-side. Can’t search within search but that hasn’t stopped me, I just refine my search; can sort by folder, etc. Cheers!

  • Steve

    I search everything on my pc with Lookeen, it is the best search tool i ever had.

  • Kurt

    when you start everything under vista or win 7 garbagge appears in the search-input box, which you
    must delete, before you can enter your search-phrase. this does not occur under xp.

    now: dont start everything via right-click on the recycle-bin, instead make an extra shortcut on your desktop.start the program via this shortcut and now everything shows no garbagge under win 7 too 🙂

  • vic

    Started using it long time ago and my hdd is a mess now. Why? Cause I dont need to organize my files anymore!

  • This is a good software, alternatively you must try:
    Google Desktop (Windows/Mac/Linux)/
    Locate32 (Windows) /
    Copernic Desktop Search (Windows) /
    Windows Search 4 (Windows Vista/XP)

  • Useless for me as it doesn’t index mapped network drives. Locate32 is ten times better.

  • Dan

    There’s a similar program called Search GT, it used to be shareware and now is free

    • Samer Kurdi

      @ Dan: ever since you placed this comment I’ve been trying to find the free version of Search GT without success. The program home page seems to have been pulled down. Do you have more info on where I can find it? Thanks!

  • StefanS

    I know a program which is still better than everything you know 😉 It’s called lookeen. There is a free version which is called lookeen free. free.lookeen.com