Find Files Fast- For a Hefty Price

SAN FRANCISCO (07/25/2000) - There's a program out now that can search all your files for a particular word faster than you can move your hand from your mouse to your keyboard. But it costs more than what that speed is probably worth.

SilverLakeTech.com released PC Data Finder 5.5 at the beginning of July. To make searches as fast as possible, it creates an index of all the words in all the files (or at least those in its extensive list of supported file types) in all the folders you select. Thanks to this prior indexing, Data Finder brings up its results in subsequent searches almost instantaneously.

Nor does it take long to make an index. It indexed my 72.6MB "My Documents" folder in only 18 seconds. Data Finder can also search without indexes at a more than acceptable speed.

Boolean Searches and Archive Support

Speed isn't Data Finder's only asset. It handles Boolean searches, so you can look for files containing keaton and buster but not diane. It searches inside Acrobat .pdf files--something Windows' own File Finder can't do. Best of all, it indexes and searches files inside .zip compression archives, so you can look through files you've stored away.

PC Data Finder performs e-mail searches, too; it supports popular programs such as Outlook Express and Eudora, pulling individual messages from their container files. You can restrict mail searches to look for text in particular parts of messages--such as the To, From, or Subject fields, or the body of the message.

But the e-mail feature is tricky to set up. If it wasn't for a call to tech support, I'd still be unable to find my mail.

What You Don't Find

Many features that you'd expect in even the simplest search engine are missing in this one. For instance, you can't search by file name, date, or attributes--just content. And you can't save your search for later use.

PC Data Finder is shareware, so you can take a free look and decide for yourself. But if you want to keep it beyond the 15-day free trial period, the $99.55 registration price is high. After all, you can search files for text in Windows' own File Finder. Outlook Express and Eudora already do e-mail searches. And if you need to search .zips, you can register BigSpeed Zipper for only $29.

That means you'll be paying an extra $60 to search .pdf files, do Boolean searches, and eliminate the waiting. Well, maybe it's worth it if you're always misplacing files.

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