8 Alternative Desktop, E-mail and Cloud Search Tools for Windows 8.1

The reasons people look for alternative desktop search tools in the first place tend to be to find content more quickly and to organize content more efficiently than Windows 8.1 does natively, which together hopefully make the person more productive. How effective these tools are comes down to a few different factors

  • How effectively the tools indexes file content (index size and performance overhead should be minimal). Not all tools index file contents, which is a deal breaker for me, as I was looking for deep search with a  minimum of system overhead and licensing cost.
  • The types of content you are interested in searching. There are a lot of Outlook-centric search options, but fewer options that are equally effective at indexing e-mail and other types of file content.
  • Value (ratio of cost to performance in fulfilling these needs)

The bottom line is, the solution that suits you best will depend on your criteria. Here are eight options I investigated as solutions for deeper desktop and e-mail search on Windows 8.1.

Candidates and Criteria

In my case, I was looking for a universal solution that would allow quick and easy location of content in e-mail or on the file system and…if I was lucky, maybe even in secure cloud sources like a paid DropBox or  SkyDrive account (without the need to sync cloud content to a local drive on my  PC). I used two specific e-mail messages and two file content searches to test indexing, and also looked to confirm the tool would allow me to control the when, where and what of content to be indexed. An indexer that consumes all your system resources when you have work to do is of little use to anyone.

Here are the eight contenders I reviewed.

Search Your Cloud

imageSearch Your Cloud is a tool that advertises the capability to search all your cloud-based content, including Office 365 (Outlook), SharePoint, DropBox, Box and Google Drive. While I was at first glance excited, I quickly learned the only way this tool would index any cloud content in DropBox, etc. was with a right click action to re-upload the content to a specific folder, I was disenchanted pretty quickly. To it’s credit, Search Your Cloud did show good results in e-mail searches, and came with a free companion app for iOS and Android.

In short, it looks like a great concept, but the manual indexing process is a deal-breaker for me. However, I am going to keep an eye on this one. More info at https://searchyourcloud.com/features 

X1 Unified Search

X1 is an enterprise product for search and e-discovery, which comes in a $50 option for individuals. While it has a nice modern interface and indexes pretty efficiently (overhead was low) and with search results comparable to other solutions, I eliminated this contender through use of a solution I found to be more flexible and intuitive. I will say the search in this tool was really fast. More on X1 at http://www.x1.com

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Neofind (Caelo)

At $20 USD, I really wanted to like NEOFind (and the more complete NEOPro at around $50), but found the interface a bit dated and the search filtering less intuitive and flexible than I was looking for. In all fairness, NEO is e-mail focused, so they were a long shot anyway. In the end, not bad, but missed the mark for my needs. More info at http://caelo.com

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Xobni

Xobni is a long-time player in this space, focused on e-mail, and one many are familiar with. As this product as advertised was a bit off the mark of what I was looking for and came at a recurring monthly cost ($7.99 / mth for Xobni Pro), I didn’t spend a moment on it. While it may be an effective tool, it was more than I was willing to spend. If e-mail and content management is your goal, you can find more info at https://www.xobni.com/learnmore/pro.

Copernic Desktop Search

For me, the winner at $50 USD was Copernic, which I found to efficient and effective in it’s indexing of my content. I also found the Copernic interface to be the most intuitive of the options I explored, with multiple filtering options allowing me to get right to the content I was interested in. It only indexes local  content, but I didn’t find any solution that indexed both local and cloud content effectively without a copy on a local disk. I found Copernic to be equally effective in searching e-mail and file content. Info and download at http://www.copernic.com

NOTE: This software does not index 100% of your system drive by default. If you want to index more than profile folders and data drives, you will need to add those directories so they are indexed. I chose not to do this.

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Other Options

I looked a few free options, which quickly exposed why they were free. The primary limitation of all was a lack of content indexing.

Everything is a free Windows desktop search utility that takes up virtually no space, but doesn’t index file contents. Good as free utilities go, but not good enough to meet my needs.

Locate32 is another freebie with an interface that appears dated by modern design standards, and getting a bit dated with no update since August of 2012. Download at http://locate32.cogit.net/

Master Seeker is free tool with some interesting capabilities for the techie, including search filtering using regular expressions (regex). Nice, but no content indexing and not the universal solution with ease of use I was looking for. Download at http://master-seeker.com/

 

Additional Windows 8 and 8.1 Tips

Here are a few other tips you may find useful:

FREE DOWNLOAD: Windows 8.1 Shortcuts for Shutdown, Logoff, Restart, Lock and Hibernate

Windows 8.1 Tip: How to Remove an Account from the Windows Mail App

Windows 8 Fix: Power Meter displays Plugged in, not charging

FIX: Windows 8 activation fails with error 0x8007007BIX: Windows 8 activation fails with error 0x8007007B

Windows 8 User Interface

Working with Modern Apps

Dual Boot and Disk Configurations

Authentication and Account Management

4 thoughts on “8 Alternative Desktop, E-mail and Cloud Search Tools for Windows 8.1

  1. Profile photo of Dillon FranksDillon Franks

    Very insightful.  We would like you to take a look at something we have been working on to make clouds more manageable  http://www.coxito.com
    The Microsoft world has search capabilities, but not one overarching one:
    – It is possible to search in Exchange Online, but it is normally rather slow. this is regardless of using Outlook (local client) or the Outlook Web App (web).
    – It is possible to search in Sharepoint as well
    – SkyDrive has a search, but you can only search file names (not content of files)

    None of the search capabilities mentioned above include OCR of images, which Coxito supports.

    So anyone using all Microsoft tools will have to go multiple places to ty to find things. Additionally, using Microsoft search tools locks in the user to Microsoft tools only. If a company uses Google Drive in addition, there’s no way the Microsoft search tools support that. So then there’s another place to go to try to find things. So the main problem here is a lack of a central place to go to when looking for a piece of information.

    And there’s very little (if anything) when it comes to data analytics in the Microsoft software. With the exception of Dynamics CRM.
    Regards,

    Dillon

  2. Profile photo of Pete ZergerPete Zerger Post author

    Coxito, do you have pricing somewhere on your site? I cannot seem to get to a calculator with pricing without supplying all my personal information first.

  3. Profile photo of ChrisChris

    Peter,

    I’d like to let you know about another new player in the Desktop Search arena that you should check out:

    http://grappledata.com/aikin/

    Grapple Data Technology is committed to pushing the envelope and significantly raising the bar with regard to search intelligence. Many of our customers are former users of Copernic and X1, and also frequent complainers about the limited search functionality of Windows. The product we’ve released  is truly next-generation software, and additional features are developing rapidly, not only in the area of search, but also information management and curating in general, as well as cloud and mobild connected search/sync for files, email, contacts, favorites, etc.

    AIKIN provides truly intelligent search using advanced pattern recognition technology to search for things in a “fuzzy” way. This is true not only for the names of things like files, contacts, etc., but also the content of things like files, emails, OneNote, Evernote, etc.

    Please feel free to contact us via email and we gladly send you a free activation key to fully unlock the product for you (info@grappledata.com).

    Best Regards,

    Chris

  4. Profile photo of StefanSStefanS

    Hi all,

    another alternative is lookeen. It was mainly developed for outlook but ist still fits as desktop search engine. It’s easy and fast to operate and finds every single file. It saves a lot of time and increases the productivity of your desktop search.

    Rear: I work for the company which developed Lookeen.

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