FileSeek: search file names or contents with powerful, regular expressions enabled filtering

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FileSeek is a free desktop search program that can search file and folder names as well within file contents.

It performs searches efficiently, on-the-fly and does not pre-index your drives or constantly spend PC resources tracking changes on your hard drive. Most importantly, it supports regular expression queries as well as multiple filters for inclusion and exclusion of files and folders. It integrates into the Windows right-click context menu.

This software is similar to Windows’ built in file search function (and different from other desktop search apps previously mentioned on Freewaregenius such as Everything, DKFinder, and Locate32) in two major ways; (1) it will perform searches on demand rather than pre-index your hard drive, and (2) it will look inside file contents and not just in file and folder names.
As such it is a direct replacement for Windows’ internal desktop search, with one major improvement: the file filtering and queries possible with FileSeek are simply a cut above the default Windows search. In fact, with its support for regular expressions you can perform searches such as the following: find me all files that contain the text “bla bla bla” or if the file path contains “internet”, also look for text “blabity bla” excluding HTML and PHP files and excluding any files that have “bob” or “smith” anywhere in the title. You will have to be familiar with the regular expression query syntax to do this of course (see this link for a regex tutorial). More on regular expressions here.

More notes on this software:

  • FileSeek context menuIt integrates into Windows’ context menu: you can right click folders or files to quickly search inside. You can add or remove these from the settings.
  • It has advanced filtering abilities: very handy even if you will never use sophisticated regular expression syntax.
  • Regular Expressions: supports regular expressions
  • It looks inside file contents: in contrast to the desktop search apps mentioned in the second paragraph above.
  • You can easily exclude/include folder name or path matches from results
  • Preview pane: displays the search results as found inside a file
  • First instance or all instances: when your searched text is found inside a file, the program can list the first instance where it was found only as an entry in the list of results or it can list the same file multiple time showing all instances of the found text inside that file.
  • Does not search/index files in the background: all processing is performed on-demand. It does not create databases and representations of your hard drives.
  • Portable: no-install zipped version available for download.

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

  • The ability to switch searching inside files on/off: sometimes I just want to search for filenames and I do not want to search inside a file; I wish there was a simple checkbox I could use to switch searching file contents on/off.
  • To not pester me about updates if I am offline: currently, if I use this offline I get a message that it wasn’t able to check for updates.

The verdict: as a replacement for Windows’ built in search function this is an excellent option. I particularly like the versatile filtering and the fact that it can search inside files.

The program has some very cool filtering options for filtering (including/excluding) file types even if you don’t know regular expression syntax. And although I personally am not a regular expressions expert I like that they are supported and that I could put together a sophisticated query if I need to. Recommended.

Version Tested: 1.8.3

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista (x86/x64), Windows 7 (x86/64), 2000 SP4, 2003 and 2008.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 390K).